Hong Kong has tabled its long-awaited competition bill. In a
sop to business, the proposed law does not include a merger
review regime. But by bowing to corporate pressure, the law
could damage deal certainty.
On Friday, Hong Kongs competition bill was introduced
in the Legislative Council. As expected, the bill outlines two
conduct rules to combat restrictive agreements and abuses of
market power, but a merger regime is conspicuously absent.
Most companies dont want merger rules as
theyre costly and delay transactions, said Marc
Waha of Norton Rose. This is a legitimate concern
thats been expressed so vocally that the government has
completely retreated. But as a result we have a regime
thats fraught with legal uncertainty.
Only telecoms mergers will be subject to review, as is
already the case under the Telecommunications Ordinance.