French Competition Authority Imposes Landmark Fine for Gun-Jumping: The French Competition Authority Fined Altice EUR 80 Million for Implementing Two Mergers Before It Had Granted Merger Control Approval

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - November 16, 2016

On 8 November 2016, the French Competition Authority fined Altice Group EUR 80 million for implementing two merger transactions before the French competition authority had approved them, thereby breaching the waiting period requirements of French merger control law.

This is, by far, the highest fine ever imposed by the French Competition Authority for so-called “gun-jumping”.  It is also four times higher than the highest fine imposed to date by the EU Commission for breaching the equivalent waiting period requirement under EU merger control law.

It is noteworthy that the French Competition Authority became aware of Altice’s breach of the waiting period as a result of information it received from Altice’s competitors. The case also highlights the significant financial (and reputational consequences) of failing to comply with waiting period obligations under French merger control law.