Do you own a company in the Netherlands? And do you want to amalgamate with another company? You can do this by:
- merging with another company
- taking over (a part of) another company
- setting up a joint venture
Notifying a merger, takeover, or joint venture
Large companies that plan to merge, must notify the Authority Consumer and Market (Autoriteit Consument en Markt, ACM,in Dutch) in advance. This is called a merger notification. The ACM checks if the merger has no negative consequences for competition. All companies should have a fair chance in the market.
Whether you have to notify a merger, takeover or joint venture, depends on your turnover. In the healthcare sector (in Dutch) and for pension funds (in Dutch) different rules apply.
You are only allowed to merge if the ACM approves. Do you merge with another company without notifying the ACM in advance? You may be fined.
Apply for a licence
In some instances the ACM will not give you immediate permission for the merger, acquisition or joint venture. In such cases, you must first apply to the ACM for a licence (in Dutch). The ACM will then further investigate your plans.
Rules for mergers
- Do you have to report your merger to the ACM? Or do you employ more than 50 staff? You will likely also have to report your merger to the Social and Economic Council (SER) and the trade unions. You can read more about this in the SER Merger Code (pdf).
- Only companies that have the same legal structure can merge. A private limited company can merge with another private limited company, but not with an association, for instance.
- You are not allowed to merge if your company has been dissolved or is in involuntary liquidation.
Drafting a merger proposal
If you plan to merge with another company, it is recommended to get the advice of an expert. Important steps to take are:
- You should prepare a merger proposal. This should contain the legal structure, name and location of the parties, and the planned composition of the new management.
- You must file the merger proposal in the Business Register. In some cases, you will also have to file annual accounts and annual reports. This depends on your legal structure.
- The merger proposal must remain public in the Business Register for at least 6 months. If no objections have been received, then the civil-law notary can declare the merger or company acquisition valid.