Merger fees charged by the competition authorities are set to triple on 6 April 2006, and then double again in 2009. Also from 6 April, foreign acquirers will be charged a merger fee for the first time. SMEs will continue to be exempt.
The new fee levels are intended to cover the cost of regulation, says Competition Minister Gerry Sutcliffe: "We believe it is right that the costs of controlling mergers are met by the acquiring companies concerned and not the tax payer. In future we will review fee levels every three years."
From 6 April 2006, the new charges will be:
# 15,000 (currently 5,000): payable where the value of the UK turnover of the enterprise being acquired is 20 million or less. This increases to 30,000 from 6 April 2009.
# 30,000 (currently 10,000): payable where the UK turnover...