6 December 2023 Paris
Serial or industry ‘roll-up’ acquisition strategies happen when a firm acquires and merges multiple smaller companies in the same industry over time and consolidates them into a large, and potentially dominant, company. In some cases, the acquired companies may be horizontal competitors in local markets, as has been observed in sectors such as healthcare, veterinary services and grocery retail. Alternatively, as has occurred prominently in the digital space, a large firm may acquire numerous small or even nascent companies providing complementary goods and services, and the acquisition may be part of a strategy to broaden an ecosystem and strengthen the ‘moat’ around its core products and services at national or even global level.
The serial acquisition phenomenon has spurred debate around consolidation risks and the potential need for increased scrutiny of such transactions. However, despite this, only few jurisdictions’ merger regimes appear to explicitly address serial acquisitions.
In December 2023 the OECD held a roundtable to shed light on the scope and magnitude of this issue, including whether serial acquisition strategies are more prominent and/or more problematic in certain sectors, markets and economies, and if so, why. Further, it considered the potential for serial acquisitions to cause competitive harms and the facilitate an exchange of views on whether existing merger regimes can adequately address them or, alternatively, whether there is an enforcement gap.
Key takeways include:
Sha'ista Goga Bio
Ioannis Kokkoris Bio
Anna Tzanaki Bio
Contributions from delegations