Merger control is intended to prevent the merger of companies, which leads to a dominant position and thus restricts economic competition. A merger occurs when previously independent companies merge or at least intertwine with one another.
Merger control is the task of the Federal Cartel Office, which examines mergers of companies that exceed certain turnover thresholds. It prohibits a merger if the result is the emergence or strengthening of dominant market power that no longer has to fear a competitor and then has the opportunity to charge higher prices.
The Federal Minister of Economics can, however, grant permission for a merger prohibited by the Federal Cartel Office if, in his opinion, this is justified, for example, by an overriding interest of the general public (Section 42 GWB).
The European Commission is exclusively responsible for the control of the merger projects of companies at European level with so-called "Community-wide significance". It checks on the basis of the European Merger Control Regulation (ECR).
See also "cartel", "oligopoly" or "monopoly"