Experts express concern that the Polish antitrust authority may not cope with the M&A regulations

The Shield 4.0 legislation enables the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to block acquisitions of significant share packets (at least 20%) in strategic sectors of the economy. The original legislative draft concerned investments by entities from outside the European Union; the version ultimately passed into law, meanwhile, affects companies from outside the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – in practical terms, mainly from Russia and from China. The status of investors from the United States and from Japan remains unchanged. The new law is to remain on the books for two years.

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Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik, a long-time UOKiK employee and now a mergers lawyer, is of the opinion that the new regulations should not scare off potential investors. In 2018, over 98% of the capital invested in Poland was from EU countries. Of the 200-300 intended concentrations opined on every year, the vast majority would not fall within the ambit of the new law. That said, the relevant procedures may now end up taking more time.

“Merger cases are increasingly complicated and labour-consuming. Accordingly, it is my belief that UOKiK’s concentrations control department ought to receive additional support”, Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik assesses.

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The full text of this article is available in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (in Polish). If you are interested in an English-language version or in discussing the issues raised herein with one of our lawyers, please contact: kontakt@gessel.pl