Consolidation of the state-owned enterprises in China: A missed opportunity for the EU Merger Control?

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Mergers of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) aimed at increasing their competitiveness and their presence on global markets raised a number of challenging questions concerning their appraisal under merger control regimes worldwide. The review of the Commission’s merger control practice reveals numerous instances where it presumed the existence of a ‘single economic unit’ comprising several Chinese SOEs when assessing competitive effects of Chinese SOEs’ acquisitions in Europe. The assertion of merger control jurisdiction over a Chinese SOE-to-SOE merger would require the Commission to treat these SOEs as autonomous economic entities, which will have an impact on future assessments of Chinese SOEs’ acquisitions of European companies.