The Hungarian Competition Authority used its new powers to obtain information in merger cases
This was the first ever unannounced inspection ("dawn raid") in a such a case in Hungary.

As of January 2017, the HCA expressly empowers the GVH to carry out dawn raids in merger control proceedings as well. Besides classical gun jumping cases, the new power is meant by the legislator to be used  in cases where the parties refuse to submit or simply withhold certain information / pieces of evidence which are relevant for the competition law assessment of the transaction.

 

The first such dawn raid investigation was carried out by the GVH in its recent Phase II merger control proceedings regarding the DIGI/Invitel merger, in November 2017. The transaction concerned the concentration of two major telecommunication service providers in Hungary. The GVH identified horizontal competition concerns due to overlapping telecommunication networks/services by the parties and thus approved the merger with commitments, including in particular the divesture of the overlapping networks of the target as well as the termination of certain supply contracts. The GVH also appointed a trustee to supervise the proper fulfillment of the commitments.

 

The background of the dawn raid carried out in these proceedings was that - similarly to the Form CO of the European Commission - the Hungarian merger notification form also requires the parties to submit all relevant supportive documents regarding the proposed transaction, including preparatory documents and board presentations regarding the motivations and aims of the parties. The GVH found that the notifying party failed to submit proper documentation in this respect and failed to do so after express and repeated data requests of the GVH. Thus, in order to obtain the relevant information, the GVH decided to make use of its new powers under the HCA and carried out a dawn raid at the premises of the company.


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