Statutory and regulatory M&A framework in Switzerland
The regulatory environment in Switzerland is still very investor-friendly for the following three main reasons: limited investment restrictions (a notable exception being the so-called Lex Koller; see below); vast flexibility of the parties in the asset or share purchase agreement (e.g. with regards to the R&W, indemnities, disclosure concept, cap, etc.); and low bureaucracy. Below, please find a brief overview of regulations which may be relevant.
Public takeovers by way of cash or exchange offers (or a combination thereof) are governed by the Financial Markets Infrastructure Act (FMIA), which came into force on 1 January 2016 and replaced the respective provisions in the Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading (SESTA) and a number of implementing ordinances. Within this framework, the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX) is responsible for issuing regulations regarding the admission of securities to listing as well as the continued fulfilment of the listing requirements. The Federal Takeover Board (TOB) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) are responsible to ensure the compliance of market participants with the Swiss takeover regime. Decisions of the TOB may be challenged before the FINMA and, finally, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court.
If a transaction exceeds a certain turnover threshold (turnover thresholds are rather high compared to other European countries: (a) the undertakings concerned together report a turnover of at least CHF 2 billion, or a turnover in Switzerland of at least CHF 500 million; and (b) at least two of the undertakings concerned each report a turnover in Switzerland of at least CHF 100 million) or if a restructuring has an effect on the Swiss market, the regulations of the Federal Act on Cartels and other Restraints of Competition also need to be considered.
Any planned combination of businesses has to be notified to the Competition Commission (ComCo) before closing of the transaction in case (a) certain thresholds regarding the involved parties' turnovers are met, or (b) one of the involved parties is dominant in a Swiss market and the concentration concerns that market, an adjacent market or a market that is up- or downstream thereof. The ComCo may prohibit a concentration or authorise it only under certain conditions and obligations. The ComCo's decision may be challenged before the Swiss Federal Administrative Court...