Mid-Year U.S. Merger Demands Down From Breakthrough 2021, But Still Well Above Historical Average | White & Case srl
About the WAMS dataset
White & Case collects and analyzes data from various sources for WAMS. This includes communicating directly with competition authorities to gather the latest available data, as well as analyzing public reports published by competition authorities and other sources such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD). WAMS is updated and expanded regularly. Although data is available for some jurisdictions over a number of years, there are reporting gaps for some jurisdictions. Where appropriate, we provide clarifications regarding the data.
White & Case Global Antitrust Merger StatPak (WAMS)—the first real-time clearinghouse for global merger notification data—analyzed merger notifications in reporting jurisdictions for the first half of 2022 (H1 2022: January 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022).
- According to data from WAMS, US merger control filing activity has slowed: H1 2022 merger filing activity is down 23% from H1 2021. However, US HSR filings in the first half of 2022 are 47% higher than the 10-year US HSR filing average.
- Merger filing activity in the first half of 2022 across Europe declined slightly less than in the US, showing a 20% decline in five European jurisdictions compared to the first half of 2021.
- Filing activity in Brazil in the first half of 2022 is up around 20% compared to the first half of 2021, and around 52% compared to the 2017-2021 average.
US merger control filings in the first half of 2022 are 47% higher than the 10-year historical average
In the United States, after a record year in 2021, merger filing activity in the first half of 2022 (January 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022) was down 23% from the first half of 2021. However, activity merger filing rate in 2022 in the United States remains quite fast. In the first half (H1) of 2022, the level of merger filings in the United States continues to be at a historically high level: 47% above the historical average of the year H110 (2012-2021).
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its Hart-Scott Rodino (HSR) filing statistics in late June 2022 on the day White House Competition Council Chairman and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese urged the US Congress to “act quickly” to increase funding for the Justice Department’s antitrust division and the Federal Trade Commission because “the annual number of completed mergers and acquisitions has doubled” over the past decade, while loans to agencies remained “essentially stable and declined in real terms”. “1
European Union: H1 2022 merger filings below H1 2021 levels
In Europe, merger notifications to the European Commission in the first half of 2022 are down around 9% compared to the first half of 2021, suggesting that year-end merger notifications in the EU in 2022 could be lower than those of 2021. As of June 30, 2022, the European Commission has examined 190 transactions and cleared without commitment 169 transactions.
Brazil: H1 2022 merger notifications above five-year historical averages
WAMS data also shows an increase in merger control filings in Brazil in the first half of 2022 compared to previous years. So far in 2022, filing activity in Brazil has increased by around 20% compared to the first half of 2021. WAMS data also shows an increase of around 52% in merger filings in the first half of 2022 in Brazil compared to the average of the previous five years (2017-2021) . The data shows that smelting activity continues to grow in the first half of 2022 at a similar or higher rate than 2021, which was a record year for smelting activity in Brazil.
Germany and Austria: new thresholds result in fewer filings than in previous years
Germany changed its merger filing thresholds at the start of 2021. While the effects in 2021 had been somewhat limited, WAMS data shows that the number of filings in Germany continues to decline in the first half of 2022 compared to the first. half of 2021. Based on WAMS data for the first half of 2022, notifications in Germany are down around 8% compared to the first half of 2021, from around 467 to 429.2
A more recent change to the Austrian rules (introduction of a second national threshold of €1 million) at the end of 2021 now shows its effect on the number of deposits in Austria. Compared to the first half of 2021, filings in Austria fell by almost 50%, from 318 to just 171 in the first half of 2022.
Mid-2022 merger filings show varied impact of economic downturn
In Europe as a whole, the trend is similar in the United States. The EU, Austria, Estonia, Germany, Portugal and Spain all show lower activity in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021. Collectively, the EU, Austria, Estonia, Germany and Portugal show a 20% decrease compared to the first half of 2021. This trend has not been universal, as some jurisdictions in Latin America (such as Brazil and Colombia) show activity increased in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021.
WAMS: an ongoing effort
It is hoped that WAMS will foster greater transparency and additional real-time reporting by merger control antitrust authorities around the world. Transparency helps merging parties comply with the law.
1 See Brian Deese Remarks on President Biden’s Competition Agenda, White House, July 14, 2022
2 WAMS estimates that at least 467 notifications were made in Germany in the first half of 2021, but this number was probably higher.