European Commission approves acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS
The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the merger between Credit Suisse and UBS. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The deal was first announced on March 19, 2023.
The Commission notes that UBS and Credit Suisse are both global multinational investment banks and financial services companies. In the EEA, the companies’ activities overlap in wealth and asset management as well as in investment banking.
Based on its market investigation, the Commission found that the merger would not significantly reduce competition in the markets where their activities overlap within the EEA.
In particular, the regulator found that the combined entity will continue facing significant competitive pressure from a wide range of competitors in all of those markets, including several major global banks as well as specialist providers and strong local players.
The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed merger would not raise competition concerns on any of the markets examined in the EEA and cleared the transaction unconditionally.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 26 April 2023. The notification followed the Commission’s decision of 4 April 2023, which granted the parties a derogation from the standstill obligation on the basis of Article 7(3) of the EU Merger Regulation. The standstill obligation requires merging companies not to implement a merger until it has been cleared by the Commission.
Pending the Commission’s review of the merger, in light of the financial difficulties faced by Credit Suisse and the consequent risk of financial instability, the parties requested a derogation from the standstill obligation in order to allow UBS to implement specific measures, including the closing of the transaction. The Commission found that in this specific case all conditions for granting a derogation were met and that the risk of systemic harm to third parties and to the banking sector outweighed any potential threat to competition resulting from an early closing of the transaction.