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EC says Hungary violated EU merger regulation

EU

The European Commission yesterday said it "preliminarily concluded" that Hungary violated the European Union's merger regulation when authorities vetoed the acquisition of the local business of Dutch insurer Aegon by Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), according to novekedes.hu.

VIG announced in November 2020 that it agreed to acquire the businesses of Aegon in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Turkey for a price of EUR 830 million, a deal that would have made VIG market leader in Hungary.

In April 2021, VIG said the Interior Ministry denied its acquisition of Aegon's business in Hungary. Under state-of-emergency powers vested by parliament, Hungary's government has been equipped with legal tools to block foreign takeovers of domestic companies.

The EC noted yesterday that it has "exclusive competence to examine concentrations with a Union dimension" and said that member states may only take measures "to protect legitimate interests provided that such measures are compatible with the general principles and other provisions of EU law, and are communicated to the Commission except for limited instances."

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