The European Commission (Commission) imposed a fine of EUR 20 million on Marine Harvest, the Norwegian salmon farmer and processor, after it acquired a 48.5 percent stake in its competitor Morpol prior to obtaining the required clearance from the Commission under the European Union Merger Regulation (EUMR). The EUMR requires parties to a transaction that falls within the scope of the regulation to notify the Commission, and they are restricted from implementing the transaction before it is approved. The decision to impose a fine clarifies that the Commission will apply the EUMR strictly, even when the transaction concerned poses no risk to competition, or if the voting rights obtained are not exercised by the acquirer prior to approval. In a recent Greenberg Traurig Alert, Hans E. Urlus, Emilie van Hasselt and Stephen C. Tupper discuss the EU Merger Regulation, the Marine Harvest acquisition and the Commission’s investigation of the transaction and the effect of the imposed fine.

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