On 1 January 2014, "the most comprehensive reform of [the EU] merger procedures to date" came into force. The European Commission ("EC") hopes that the "Simplification Package" will make it easier for companies to obtain EU antitrust approval for mergers under the EU Merger Regulation ("EUMR"). This development reflects the EC's desire to cut red tape. Whether the Simplification Package will achieve this goal, however, remains to be seen.
The Simplification Package amends the information requirements for EU notifications, and more transactions will benefit from the "simplified" merger review procedure (using a "Short Form" notification, rather than the longer "Form CO"). However, some changes may prove more burdensome for companies. Importantly, the scope of internal documents that need to be provided to the EC has been expanded - this now also includes some documents that were not prepared for the transaction itself (a change that goes beyond even the US approach for so-called Item 4 Documents).