High Court upholds DKK 50,000 fine for withholding of information in merger control case
The High Court judgment affirms the judgment of the district court, ordering Metro Cash & Carry to pay a fine of DKK 50,000 for failing to adequately answer the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority’s (the “DCCA”) question of whether there were other interested buyers of the company. The judgment thus reaffirms that the merger parties’ views on the relevance of the information to the substantive assessment of the merger are of no consequence.
The case took its beginning in 2014 when the company Metro Cash & Carry was about to be sold to Euro Cater. In connection with the sale a merger application was prepared for the DCCA. In that connection, Metro was asked to state if any third parties had expressed an interest in acquiring its stores. Metro, in reply, informed about the parties that had participated in the structured sales process. However, Metro did not mention its incidental dialogue with another business which Metro did not consider a bona fide purchaser.
The DCCA reported the matter to the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime, who has now succeeded - first in the District Court and now in the High Court - in its claim that Metro Cash & Carry should be fined DKK 50,000 for withholding information.
The High Court judgment thus clearly lays down that answers by the DCCA must be answered fully and exhaustively. To that end, the assessment by the merger parties themselves of the relevance of any piece of information matters not: Only the DCCA decides if information is relevant or not.
Read the judgment (in Danish)