26 March 2019

Deal makers held back by Chinese bureaucracy, WSJ says

Major global mergers are being held up by several months because China’s antitrust authority has a relatively small staff compared with its unusually broad mandate that includes weighing a deal’s impact on the domestic economy, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing antitrust experts. The delays, along with some of the remedies required to overcome the agency’s concerns, are prompting deal advisers to try to minimize Beijing’s impact or—where possible—bypass its review altogether, the sources were quoted as saying. China has yet to approve the US$35 billion merger of advertising giants Publicis Groupe SA and Omnicom Group Inc., or Microsoft Corp.’s €5.4 billion (US$7.5 billion) acquisition of Nokia Corp.’s handset business, months after both deals were approved by antitrust authorities in the United States and the European Union, the report said.

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