The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 05, 2022, seeking to amend the Competition Act, 2002. The majority of the amendments proposed to pertain to widening the scope of powers of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), and if passed and enforced, will certainly impact the regulation of mergers and acquisitions in the country. The amendments sought include:
(i) modifying the scope of ‘combinations’ to include transactions (in connection with the acquisition of any control, shares, voting rights or assets of an enterprise, merger or amalgamation) valued upwards of INR 2000 Crores, thereby introducing the value of transactions as a criterion for notifying combinations to the CCI.
(ii) modifying certain definitions like “enterprise”, “relevant product market”, “group”, and “control” to provide clarity. For instance, the definition of ‘control’ is proposed to be amended to mean “the ability to exercise material influence, in any manner whatsoever, over the management or affairs or strategic commercial decisions” by one or more enterprises/groups, either singly or jointly, over another enterprise/group.
(iii) reducing the prescribed time limit for deemed approval of combinations from 210 days from the date of application for approval to 150 days from such date instead;
(iv) broadening the scope of anti-competitive agreements and inclusion of a party facilitating an anti-competitive horizontal agreement under such agreements.
(v) prescribing a limitation period of 3 years for filing information on anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position before the CCI.