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- Merger Control Regime
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1.1 Membership of Supranational Organization
1.1.1 Is the jurisdiction a member of/party to a supranational jurisdiction?
1.1.2 Is the jurisdiction itself a supranational jurisdiction?
1.1.3 If the answer to Section 1.1.1 and/or 1.1.2 above is in the affirmative, what are the implications hereof?
As a member of the EU, France is subject to the supranational authority of the EU, including EU merger control rules enforced by the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission.
This means that if the concentration meets the turnover thresholds applicable for the EU’s merger control regime, the concentration must be notified to the European Commission and France is precluded from applying its own domestic merger control rules to the transaction.
2. Establishing jurisdiction for notification of mergers
2.3 General thresholds
If either of the two alternative sets of thresholds is met, the transaction will have to be notified:
The first alternative threshold:
a) all the undertakings concerned achieved a global combined turnover of over EUR 150,000,000; and
b) at least two of the undertakings concerned each achieved a turnover in France exceeding EUR 50,000,000.
The second alternative threshold:
Lower thresholds apply to concentrations involving undertakings operating in French overseas departments and French overseas communities (i.e. where at least one undertaking concerned is active in one or more French overseas departments).
Hence, merger control filing is required when:
a) all the undertakings that are party to the concentration achieved, during the previous financial year, a global combined pre-tax turnover of over EUR 75,000,000;and
b) at least two of the undertakings concerned achieved, during the previous financial year, a pre-tax turnover exceeding EUR 15,000,000 each (reduced to EUR 5,000,000 for undertakings in the retail trade sector) in at least one French overseas department or French overseas community concerned. The EUR 15,000,000 or 5,000,000 thresholds do not have to be achieved by all the undertakings concerned within the same overseas department or community.
2.4 Other national thresholds for ex ante merger control (e.g. sector-specific rules)
Merger control filing is required for concentrations in the retail sector if:
a) all the undertakings concerned achieved a global combined turnover of over EUR 75,000,000; and
b) at least two of the undertakings concerned each achieved a turnover in the retail trade sector in France exceeding EUR 15,000,000.
Please be aware that foreign investments in certain sectors require prior authorization. Namely, the defense, security, cryptology, information security, gambling, private security, research against bio-terrorism and technology intercepting communication systems sectors. Foreign investment in the energy, water, transportation, electronic communications, vital construction works and public health sectors also require prior authorization. All such investments must be formally approved by the Minister for the Economy prior to implementation.
There are additional sectors in which specific merger rules apply, e.g.:
- A foreign legal entity may not hold more than 20% ownership or of the voting rights of an undertaking active in the audiovisual sector in French. There are also specific rules on cross-media ownership.
- An undertaking may not control daily publications that represent more than 30% of the total circulation on the national market of similar publications. For publications in French, a foreign legal entity may not hold more than 20% ownership or of the voting rights of said undertaking.
and last updated on 08-04-2020 by
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