Position paper - Macroeconomic effects of mergers in the context of the COVID-19 crisis

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to deal with it have triggered a global economic crisis. Fiscal policy measures are the instruments of first choice to mitigate the impacts of this crisis. At the same time, it is to be ensured that state aid does not distort competition, create barriers to entry or result in overcapacities. Due to the competition developments in different areas, the Austrian Competition Authority published a paper concerning the Macroeconomic Effects of Mergers in the Context of the COVID-19 Crisis in July 2020. The handout highlights the macroeconomic effects of market power, and explains how aquisitions of financially distressed companies are assessed. The consequences of any divergence from these criteria are discussed. Generally, anti- competitive mergers have adverse effects on macroeconomic development, while pro-competitive mergers benefit the overall economy. This paper should be used as guidance for undertakings in order to understand our position better concerning competitive analysis in a pandemic crisis. This step of transparency gives undertakings a better understanding and predictability especially for planned merger notifications in Austria. The paper is in German and English available.