The world is changing. The move towards a more digital economy has been rapid. People are starting to think more urgently about climate change and the importance of sustainability, and the notion of “consumer welfare” is evolving.
All while the benefits of free trade are being deeply questioned. The spotlight is firmly on competition policy and enforcement to answer many of the difficult questions that these issues present, sometimes reaching far beyond their traditional remit.
This means that dealmakers should expect increasingly intrusive and political enforcement this year, with more rigorous examination of mergers and broader M&A strategies, particularly in the digital space.
Renewed interest in industrial policy objectives and the continuing roll out of stricter foreign investment regimes will also play their part. Mounting social and political pressure to pro-actively tackle climate change may spark a pivot towards putting more emphasis on environmental policy in the application of competition rules. And companies selling their products and services online will need to be on top of new rules and guidance expected this year in response to the profound impact of e-commerce on distribution systems and strategies.
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