Opposition parliamentarians in India will seek key changes to The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in the winter session of Parliament, The Hindustan Times reported, citing senior sources.
The Bill aims to make changes in the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s role in mergers and acquisitions and was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August. The changes are likely to target one of the key proposals in the Bill, which plans to make CCI’s approval mandatory for all merger and acquisitions valued at over 20 billion rupees ($250 million).
Two senior opposition leaders said they will demand “more clarity on how the deal value, the key to CCI’s intervention, would be determined.” In their view, the bill should also have a provision for periodic revision of the deal value “as price rise or market favourable conditions can rapidly change the value.”
A third Opposition MP said a proposal in the Bill to reduce the time given to the Commission to analyze the deal from 210 days to 150 days should be rejected because "it is not needed."
The bill also proposes to widen the scope of anti-competitive agreements to include a wider range of entities.
A report by NGO PRS Legislative on the Bill states:
“Currently, enterprises or persons engaged in similar businesses can be held to be a part of anti-competitive agreements. The Bill expands this to also include enterprises or persons who are not engaged in similar businesses.”
The proposed law also creates a framework for settlement and aims for faster resolution of investigations by the CCI, while it decriminalizes certain offences under the Act.
One member of Congress noted that while lawmakers generally support the bill, "some key changes and more clarifications are required." In particular, it is the main law, not the subordinate legislations must give a clear view of how the value of a transaction would be determined. This is especially important for digital companies, the Congress MP stressed.
The PRS report said about digital companies:
“Acquisitions in the digital markets are valued based on data or certain business innovation of the company being acquired. Acquisition of such entities may not fall under the purview of traditional thresholds of assets or turnover to evaluate their impact on competition. The Bill proposes to evaluate such deals based on the value of transactions.”
Source: The Hindustan Times