Rumours and speculation dogged Coca-Cola's bid for Huiyuan
Juice from the beginning. Had the regulator accepted the
filing? Had Phase Two begun? Phase One even? What would China
decide? The attempted acquisition was like a soap opera,
keeping companies, lawyers and journalists on the edge of their
Away from the decision-making, commentators declared the
merger a test case for China's Anti-Monopoly Law and indicative
of regulatory attitude to future deals. So when the deal was
finally prohibited on March 18, the hype was such that any
outcome would have prompted both protest and praise.
Predictably, some labelled it political and protectionist
and others held it up as a clinical procedure articulating
legitimate antitrust concerns. Both are partial truths. While
politics should not affect a competition decision, no sphere of
life in China is apolitical. It seems likely that politics
played some role. But it is encouraging...