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Minority shareholdings and antitrust: Recent developments

10.02.2021
Eduardo Frade Partner at VMCA in Sao Paulo. Former General-Superintendent of CADE, the Brazilian antitrust authority. Invited professor at FGV Law Program in Rio de Janeiro, and former visiting scholar at the Global Antitrust Institute at the George Mason University.
Anna Binotto Associate at VMCA in Sao Paulo. PhD candidate in the Commercial Law Department of the University of Sao Paulo Law School.

Las participaciones minoritarias nuevamente se encuentran bajo el radar de académicos y autoridades de libre competencia del mundo. En este artículo, los reconocidos abogados brasileros, Eduardo Frade y Anna Binotto, abordan los últimos avances en el debate sobre los potenciales efectos que tiene sobre la competencia la adquisición de este tipo de participaciones. Los autores se refieren a la postura que han adoptado organismos como la OECD, la Comisión Europea, el CADE de Brasil y diversos académicos al respecto. Además, profundizan en aquellos factores que pueden plantear problemas de competencia y cuándo debe haber intervención por parte de la autoridad.

The issue of minority shareholding is back on the radar of antitrust scholars and competition authorities across the globe. In this article, the renowned Brazilian lawyers, Eduardo Frade and Anna Binotto, address recent developments in the debate regarding potential antitrust effects of acquisitions of non-controlling minority stakes. The authors refer to the way organizations such as the OECD, the European Commission and Brazil’s CADE have addressed this matter. Additionally, they look into the factors that may pose antitrust concerns and indicate when the authority should intervene.   

Despite divergences regarding the degree to which minority shareholdings, either in face of cross or common ownership, may generate anticompetitive concerns, there seems to be wide recognition that it can indeed do so under certain circumstances, although there is open debate on which circumstances exactly can trigger this. It remains particularly unclear which should be the trigger for antitrust intervention, for example, in merger review, and how to assess such a merger“.

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