The Landscape of Shifting Alliance Theory in Merger Control

Authored by Zhan Hao (zhanhao@anjielaw.com) ,Stephanie Wu ( wuyuanyuan@anjielaw.com) and Song Ying (songying@anjielaw.com) at AnJie Law Firm.

The concept of “shifting alliances” is derived from EU competition law. According to paragraph 80 of the Commission Consolidated Jurisdictional Notice under Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (2008/C 95/01) (the “Notice”), Where there is no stable majority in the decision-making procedure and the majority can on each occasion be any of the various combinations possible amongst the minority shareholders, it cannot be assumed that the minority shareholders (or a certain group thereof) will jointly control the undertaking . For example, in the case of an undertaking where three shareholders each own one-third of the share capital and each elect one-third of the members of the Board of Directors, the shareholders do not have joint control since decisions are required to be taken on the basis of a simple majority.

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