On 30 September 2022, the French Competition Authority authorized the acquisition of the McKesson Group's wholesale pharmacy distribution business in France by Phoenix Pharma. This is the largest and most complex transaction in the wholesale distribution of healthcare products in France for many years.
This decision follows a partial referral by the European Commission on 30 March 2022 at the request of the French Competition Authority in view of the risks of harm to competition in France. This is a referral procedure that has been used very rarely since the creation of the French Competition Authority (only 4 such referrals up to date).
In its investigation, the French Competition Authority analyzed the transaction both at national and local levels in 59 local areas identified on the basis of the total real footprints of the parties' depots. In particular, the investigation focused on 39 local areas where the parties' combined market share is above the threshold of 40% (in many areas the market share being above the 50 % threshold also).
After an in-depth analysis, the French Competition Authority took into account the specific regulatory framework governing the operation of the pharmaceutical wholesale market in France and the importance of the negotiating power of pharmacy purchasing groups.
The transaction was thus authorized subject to behavioral commitments limited to one local area only (Saint Etienne). No other commitments, in particular structural ones, were deemed necessary for the French market as a whole.
As a reminder, the operation has already been authorized by the European Commission on 30 March 2022 for all other affected markets (Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Lithuania).
The Gide team that represented Phoenix Pharma before the French Competition Authority was composed of Dimitri Dimitrov, partner, Charles Terdjman, counsel and Maximilien Rodrigues and Philip Olszewski, associates.
Gide worked closely with Gleiss Lutz - partner Matthias Karl and counsel Philip Pichler - who obtained clearance for the transaction before the European Commission.
The McKesson Group was represented by Linklaters - Pierre Zelenko, partner and Sara Garcia Gil, managing associate.
The economics firm CRA advised both parties (under the direction of Laurent Flochel, Vice President, and Romain Bizet, Principal).
Please find attached the press release issued by the Authority.