Antitrust law & merger control

The legal area of antitrust law and merger control essentially includes all legal provisions that concern the negative influence on competition (e.g. through cartels) and serve to protect and preserve competition.

In Germany, competition supervision and control is mainly carried out by the Federal Cartel Office or the respective state cartel offices as competition authorities. If the matter is of European importance, the European Commission is generally responsible. The area of antitrust law and merger control is primarily regulated in the Act Against Restraints of Competition (GWB).

Hauptinhalte im Bereich Kartellrecht und Fusionskontrolle sind:

  • Kartellverbot
  • Verbot des Missbrauchs einer marktbeherrschenden Stellung
  • Fusionskontrolle
  • Kontrolle der öffentlichen Vergabeverfahren

A cartel is a collaboration between several companies to influence competition to their advantage and/or to the detriment of other competitors. Cartels generally damage the functioning of the economy and the common good and are therefore prohibited, cf.§ 1 GWB.


In the area of antitrust law and merger control, Section 19 I GWB also regulates the prohibition of the abuse of a dominant market position. Achieving a dominant market position is generally not prohibited. However, the exploitation of such a position of power damages the common good and must therefore be prevented.

In the area of antitrust law and merger control, the term merger control refers to the control of mergers between several, usually large, companies that can have a negative impact on competition. If the merger of several companies leads to a monopoly position, it must generally be prohibited, Section 36 I GWB.

The subject in the area of antitrust law and merger control is also the control of the procurement procedures of public clients, see Section 97 ff. GWB.

On the following pages we will try to inform you about the basics of antitrust law and merger control.

We also recommend the following pages on the subject of antitrust law and merger control: