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Competition Outlook for 2020

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.

You can read more about each of these topics below and watch our short video highlighting perspectives from around our global practice.

When we think about competition policy making and enforcement, what will be the important drivers for change in 2020? What will be the main challenges for doing deals? And what about the key focus for competition enforcement and therefore compliance? This short video sets out the different perspectives from the EU, the U.S. and China, with insights from Bernd Meyring (Competition/Antitrust partner based in Brussels), Thomas A. McGrath (Competition/Antitrust partner based in New York) and Vivian Cao (Competition/Antitrust partner at Linklaters Zhao Sheng).

Topics in our report


Challenging the M&A strategies of digital conglomerates

chess piece taking another

“Global merger control enforcement in 2020 will be shaped by competition authorities tackling conglomerate M&A strategies by large digital platforms and ecosystems. Companies should be mindful of broader shifts in the enforcement environment that may have an impact beyond the existing focus on digital platforms.”
Read more Challenging the M&A strategies of digital conglomerates

Increased state intervention: More than one way to join the protectionist club

miniature globe in cupped hands

“In a world where national interest is politically in vogue, there is growing concern that expanded foreign investment rules are being employed to further the changing goals and objectives of governments, rather than to resolve genuine national security concerns.”
Read more Increased state intervention: More than one way to join the protectionist club

Sustainability goals: Is competition law cooperating?

seedling plant

“Beyond the strides already being made under current EU State aid policy, the need to achieve “non-economic” environmental objectives is moving quickly up the wider social and political agenda and, in the right circumstances, should successfully trump traditional competition concerns around coordination.”
Read more Sustainability goals: Is competition law cooperating?

New year, new guidance for online sales practices

online shopping card on phone

“Competition authorities worldwide are fine-tuning their powers in the field of e-commerce and reforms and new guidance are in the pipeline. This will affect the way companies sell their products and services online but will also offer some much-needed clarity and consistency, as well as new opportunities for businesses.”
Read more New year, new guidance for online sales practices
Download your copy of our Competition Outlook for 2020 report
Download the report

Explore our Year in Review 2019 and Year to Come 2020 series across 20+ jurisdictions and a number of topics.

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