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The article focuses on the proposed introduction of an upfront exemption from UK merger control for transactions involving small businesses which would replace the current de minimis exception. It explores the practical application of the de minimis exception and considers the likely implications for the enforcement of UK merger control on small businesses should the de minimis exception be replaced. Although the introduction of an upfront exemption for small mergers seems, at least in principle, a reasonable and welcomed development, it is argued that in the form proposed it is not sufficient in itself to give the OFT the necessary tools to deal effectively with mergers involving small businesses. The article makes the case for keeping the existing de minimis exception alongside the continued development and use, by the OFT, of the various measures available to it to reduce the burden of UK merger control for small businesses.
Nikos Dimopoulos and Adam Labbett-Ainsworth
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