Within the framework of emergency measures stemming from the COVID-19 epidemic, the Hungarian Government also introduced a change to the Hungarian Competition Act’s merger control rules on 20 April 2020 (Decree no. 137/2020 concerning the transitional provisions of loan, equity and guarantee products in the ’state of danger’).
Namely, concentrations that entail financing transactions implemented as part of a dedicated COVID-19 capital program with the aim of investment protection and which are performed with the participation of (directly or indirectly) majority state owned venture capital funds or private equity funds are exempted from the mandatory notification obligation under the Hungarian Competition Act.
Importantly, the above exemption is only applicable in so far as the ‘state of danger’ situation exists in Hungary with respect to the coronavirus and certainly does not affect the notification obligation that may be applicable under EU or other national merger control laws. The precise scope of the rules (i.e. precisely which state funds are affected, what is the scope of the capital program aimed at protecting investment) remains to be seen. As a result, potentially affected parties are advised to clarify any open issues with the Hungarian Competition Authority in informal guidance discussions in order to make sure that the relevant transaction is indeed exempt under the special rules.