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Competition law: CCI chief seeks changes in uniform threshold norms for M&As

Competition Commission of India (CCI) chairman Devender Kumar Sikri stressed on the need for India to revisit the desirability of a uniform threshold for the merger review control regime in the country to achieve the intended goals across the sectors including the digital.

“We must have a sector-wise threshold and I think the time has come for this and the digital sector must be abreast of this,” he said.

On mergers between companies holding big data which may result in profiling of individuals thereby invading their privacy in the digital space, Sikri said, “Since data is not accounted as an asset, the traditional asset turnover criteria which we apply in competition law may fail to capture potentially those transactions from the competition review, that is our worry.”

He also said the targets in these sectors (digital companies) have a limited actual turnover or physical assets and thus the asset turnover based threshold which has been enforced today in the country might have a blind spot in the digital sector.

Sikri highlighted the need to strike a balance to embrace the social benefits of big data while avoiding harms to the individual. “Transparency, accountability and informed consent are going to be the keywords,” he said.

Talking about the present scenario, Sikri said people, in many ways, are not only using but are also becoming dependent on the data-driven digital economy and innovative services it delivers. Also, the rapidly-evolving data landscape and increasing number of data-centric businesses are posing a colossal challenge.

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