Contributed By CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati
As regards merger control, the relevant authorities are the Federal Competition Authority (Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde), which is the recipient of Austrian merger control filings, the Federal Cartel Prosecutor (Bundeskartellanwalt) and the Cartel Court (Kartellgericht). Depending on the turnover thresholds, competence may pass to the European Commission, in which case the EU Merger Regulation exclusively applies without room for the Austrian merger control regime.
Dependent on Industry/Target Type
Depending on the industry of the target entity, regulators like the Financial Market Authority (Finanzmarktaufsicht) or E-Control, an authority monitoring the Austrian energy market, may supervise M&A activities and require additional notification obligations, approvals or 'fit and proper' tests. Typically, these restrictions are used to assess the identity, quality and fitness of the new acquirer and are limited to regulated industries (eg, banking, insurance, investment, pensions, telecoms, aviation, gambling, and in some respects gas and electricity). Furthermore, M&A activities within certain sensitive – mainly public order and safety-related – industries may require approval by the Austrian Ministry for Economic Affairs (for the latter, see 2.3 Restrictions on Foreign Investments and 2.6 National Security Review, below). Public takeovers of shares in Austrian listed entities falling within the Austrian Takeover Act are regulated and supervised by the Austrian Takeover Commission (Übernahmekommission).
Dependent on Asset Class
With regard to real estate, acquisitions may in limited circumstances be subject to notification or approval by regional land transfer authorities (Grundverkehrsbehörde) (see 2.3 Restrictions on Foreign Investments, below).