‘We provide our clients with peace of mind.’
In this Q&A, Oxera economic experts discuss the success stories and key issues our clients face in mergers.
What are the key issues our clients face with mergers?
Pascale Déchamps When it comes to mergers, our clients want their deal approved by the competition authorities as quickly as possible. Any delay poses a risk to the deal and the viability of the merger, so timing is crucial.
Matthew Johnson Businesses also want the deal cleared with as few concessions as possible. However, achieving the balance between swiftness and conceding remedies is one of the main challenges of a merger. We help minimise the tension between speed and concessions. Also, because we know how the authorities think, we can close the gap between a business-oriented approach and a regulatory approach.
PD Mergers are successful when the groundwork is laid properly. We support our clients throughout the whole process, striving to make things simpler and easier for them. We help gather the necessary data and present it in the most effective way. We engage with authorities involved, often their economists, to discuss the economics of the case.
Who are the main people looking for our help?
MJ We work directly with corporate clients or with their lawyers. Many of our clients haven’t dealt with competition authorities before and have rarely worked with economists. We have the expertise and experience to guide them successfully through the process.
PD Our first point of contact with legal advisers is usually the partner or competition lawyer at a major international firm in the client’s country of origin, or in Brussels for a European filing. For our corporate clients, we often work at corporate headquarters with the CEO/COO (or subsidiary director), head of strategy, or legal. Our clients and their legal advisers both rely on Oxera to be available, dependable and flexible.
MJ It’s also not unusual for Oxera to be jointly retained by acquirers and sellers in the same merger.
What’s our main approach to mergers?
MJ We translate the theoretical concepts into the hard facts of each case. In addition, we liaise and translate between corporations and authorities who operate under different frameworks, speaking different languages. Aside from our technical capabilities and expertise across geographies and industries, we work together in true partnership with our clients. We’re passionate about their case, provide a listening ear and understand what they’re trying to achieve.
PD Clients trust our successful track record and like our proactive, collaborative, and professional approach. We become part of the team, combining experience and rigour with softer skills like being easy to work with and having an open communication style.
MJ We have a reputation for getting clearance quickly with few and limited remedies, and achieve success through a smooth working process.
In which areas do we play a key role?
PD Providing objective and thorough advice up front about the chances of getting clearance with the authority with and without remedies, on the expected timescale of the deal.
MJ We provide compelling filing, setting out the relevant framework of analysis, with the aim of limiting the remedies required of the merging parties. Through our continuing support from start to end, clients gain insights into their business that they did not have before running through the administrative process.
PD It’s our job to fit the pieces together, translating between the competition authority framework and businesses, reassuring our clients they’re getting the best outcome from their interaction with the authorities.
And how important is it to work with clients beyond the deal?
PD Entities that have merged face a whole range of challenges. We use our expertise in a number of areas to help them make a success of their newly merged enterprise.
MJ Having run through the administrative process with the client, we are often able to provide them with insights in relation to business strategy with a view to unearthing efficiencies of scale and scope.