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Antitrust & Foreign Investment

Key topics for you to prepare for in 2024

Antitrust & Foreign Investment Legal Outlook 2024

A broader approach to competition

As 2024 draws near, undercurrents of economic and political pressure will continue to shape - and increase - competition regulation. 

In the year to come, we can expect factors beyond “competition” to affect transaction review and antitrust enforcement, as regulators widen their approach. Dealmakers will see an increased focus on public interest concerns in M&A transactions, with a growing range of tools at authorities’ disposal to intervene. And as inflation persists, authorities will face pressure to focus their enforcement on anticompetitive practices in markets where consumers spend the most time and money, with labour restrictions a particular target. 
In our Antitrust and Foreign Investment Legal Outlook 2024, we explore the key global trends across antitrust enforcement, foreign investment screening, merger control review and more, with practical calls to action for your business to best prepare for the year ahead. You can download a copy, or listen to the audio version on the move.  


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Key themes

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Foreign Subsidies Regulation - in force

The highly anticipated FSR regulation is now in force. But as the regulation beds in, its extensive information requirements mean that companies will need to engage early with the Commission to establish a pragmatic approach to disclosure - particularly for unproblematic contributions unrelated to M&A transactions - to avoid delays.

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Expansive merger control

Authorities will continue to innovate to get problematic transactions through the door - whether or not they satisfy jurisdictional thresholds. And for those under review, we can expect expansive theories of harm (especially in the tech sector) and the consideration of other factors including labour mobility, “green” and public interest concerns, as part of the substantive merger analysis.

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Foreign investment screening grows up

2024 will see the continued spread and strengthening of investment screening regimes. But while existing regimes streamline and focus, several jurisdictions have begun plans for outbound investment screening, tackling the outflow of knowhow and investment into critical technologies abroad.

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Enforcing for consumers

Regulators will be doubling down on sectors which impact households and livelihoods – prioritising groceries and energy, along with “green” issues. And across this, concurrent consumer protection powers will be put to the test, with some authorities (especially in the UK) expecting turbocharged new enforcement powers.

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Focus on labour concerns

Labour markets remain a priority for antitrust enforcers, who increasingly view labour restrictions as harmful for the economy, leading to lower wages and poorer benefits and working conditions. From raids targeting no-poach agreements to caps and bans on non-competes, we can expect to hear much more on HR issues in antitrust in 2024.

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Sustainable agreements – within boundaries

With a panoply of antitrust guidance from various authorities either in force or in draft form, businesses can expect increased clarity and some level of cohesion (in Europe and increasingly Asia) on the treatment of sustainable agreements in 2024.

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Digital regulation

Amidst ongoing challenges to the scope of the DMA, other regulators are following the EU’s lead. In the UK, the DMCC is expected to take effect before the end of 2024, bringing with it a suite of substantial powers. Antitrust enforcement will continue outside the scope of the DMA, with key judgments expected in the coming year in the US and EU.

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  • Bigger M&A hurdles, new opportunities – 00.37
  • Antitrust enforcement in 2024 – 11.04

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