Mergers and Acquisitions Laws & Regulations in India

mergers and acquisitions laws & regulations in india

What laws may restrict or regulate certain mergers and acquisitions in India, if any? This question marks the commencement of an exploration into the mergers and acquisitions laws and regulations within India. The Indian legal landscape governing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is complex and comprises various legislative acts, regulatory bodies and judicial precedents. These laws and regulations are designed not only to facilitate the smooth execution of M&A transactions but also to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved, including shareholders, employees and creditors.

At the heart of the M&A regulatory framework in India are the Companies Act, 2013 (“Companies Act”), and the Competition Act, 2002, among other relevant legislations. The Companies Act provides the structural foundation for any corporate amalgamation, demerger or reconstruction. On the other hand, the Competition Act seeks to prevent business combinations that may cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India. Additionally, sector-specific regulations, foreign investment guidelines and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations further refine the legal framework within which M&A activities are conducted.

What are Mergers and Acquisitions?

Mergers are defined as the unification of two separate entities into a single one. This can be a mutual decision between the companies involved, aimed at consolidating their resources, markets and operations for better efficiency and market reach.

Acquisitions occur when one entity takes over another. This can take the form of one company purchasing another or a business buyout, where a company acquires the business of another company. The objective here can range from gaining market share to eliminating competition.

De-mergers also fall under the M&A umbrella, representing the division of a single company into multiple entities.

What Govern Mergers and Acquisitions in India

The process of M&A in India involves significant legal and regulatory steps, primarily driven by court processes and requiring the sanction of the High Court. The involvement of the Central Government through entities such as the Official Liquidator (OL) or the Regional Director of the Ministry of Company Affairs is also a key feature, ensuring that all M&A activities are carried out in the public interest and according to the law.

There are a few Acts such as; The Companies Act of 2013 [1], The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011[2] and The Competition Act of 2002[3] governing Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) laws in India.

The Companies Act outlines procedural requirements such as shareholder approval and procedural requirements for obtaining approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). SEBI regulations pertaining to substantial acquisitions of shares and takeovers in India impose strict guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in the securities listed market. The Competition Act, 2002 mandates approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for transactions affecting market competition. Compliance with these Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) laws is essential for the successful execution of M&A transactions in India.

Due Diligence in Mergers & Acquisitions

In M&A, due diligence emerges as an indispensable cornerstone, guiding strategic decision-making and mitigating risks inherent in complex transactions. The due diligence process typically encompasses an examination of the legal, financial and operational aspects of the target company. Here we discuss the Legal Due Diligence.

Legal Due Diligence

  • Review of corporate documents: Assessing the target company’s legal structure, articles of association, board minutes and shareholder agreements.
  • Examination of contracts and agreements: Scrutinizing contracts, licenses, permits and agreements to identify any legal obligations or liabilities.
  • Intellectual property assessment: Evaluating the target company’s intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks and copyrights, to ensure legal compliance and protection.
  • Litigation history: Investigate any pending or past legal disputes, lawsuits or regulatory issues that could impact the transaction.

Deal Structuring in Mergers & Acquisitions

Key components of deal structuring encompass various types of deal structures:

Merger: Signifying the amalgamation of two or more businesses into a single entity.

Acquisition: Where the acquiring company procures a majority stake in the target entity.

Asset Purchase: Involving the acquisition of specific assets from the target company, such as equipment, real estate, or intellectual property.

Deal structuring encompasses considerations of tax implications, legal liabilities, governance structures, financing arrangements and other critical elements inherent to the transaction. The chosen structure can profoundly impact shareholder value and the attainment of strategic goals.

Post-Merger Integration

Post-merger integration is the intricate process which involves overcoming challenges like cultural disparities, communication breakdowns and retaining essential personnel. Planning entails addressing communication strategies, governance structures and cultural alignment, while HR’s role is vital in fostering workforce integration, focusing on talent retention and cultural unity. Successful PMI requires meticulous planning, execution and HR involvement to navigate challenges and achieve seamless integration. By meticulously planning and executing PMI, companies can navigate challenges effectively and achieve a seamless integration that maximizes the benefits of the merger or acquisition.


1. What are the key laws governing M&A in India?

Following are the key mergers and acquisitions laws in India

  • Companies Act, 2013: It is the primary legislation regulating corporate affairs, outlining meticulous procedures for obtaining approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), mandate comprehensive disclosures and ensuring adherence to accounting standards. Section 234 of the Companies Act extends the regulatory ambit to cover mergers and amalgamations involving foreign companies.
  • Competition Act, 2000: Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act, 2002, define “combinations” and regulate mergers/acquisitions in India. It sets thresholds for transactions based on asset value, turnover, and control and mandates notification to CCI and prohibits combinations that could harm competition, ensuring a competitive business environment.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011: The SEBI regulations governing substantial acquisitions of shares and takeovers in India are designed to uphold market integrity and protect investor interests. These regulations establish stringent guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in the securities market.

2. How do M&A regulations impact foreign investment in India?

Mergers and acquisitions regulations significantly impact foreign investment in India, shaping the landscape for cross-border transactions. These regulations establish a framework ensuring transparency, compliance and fair treatment of stakeholders. Foreign investors must navigate approval processes mandated by regulatory bodies, which scrutinize deals to safeguard national interests and ensure fair competition.

3. How are mergers different from acquisitions under Indian law?

Mergers involve the combination of two or more companies into one entity, resulting in the pooling of assets, liabilities and operations. Acquisitions, on the other hand, entail one company acquiring the assets, liabilities and control of another entity.

4. What role does the Competition Commission of India play in M&A transactions?

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) plays a crucial role in M&A transactions by ensuring that they do not result in anti-competitive practices or adverse effects on competition in the Indian market. The CCI reviews the transactions to assess their potential impact on competition and may approve, reject or impose conditions on such transactions to safeguard competition and consumer interests. Its role includes scrutinizing notifications, conducting investigations and issuing orders to regulate M&A activities and promote fair competition in the marketplace.

What are the tax implications of M&A transactions in India? [5]

The tax implications of M&A transactions in India differ depending on the type of transaction. While mergers are generally tax-neutral, the transfer of shares may attract capital gains taxes for the selling shareholders.

Final Thoughts

The landscape of Mergers and Acquisitions laws and regulations in India is characterized by a comprehensive and multifaceted legal framework. This framework is designed to oversee and facilitate the effective execution of M&A activities while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders involved. Despite the complexities and challenges inherent in the legal procedures, the Indian M&A regulatory environment continues to evolve, aiming to streamline processes and encourage more seamless integrations and collaborations between businesses.

The push towards digitalization and the possibility of contractual mergers highlight the country’s commitment to adapting its legal practices to the demands of a fast-paced, globalized economy. As the Indian market grows and becomes more intertwined with the global economic landscape, the clarity, efficiency, and enforceability of M&A laws and regulations will be crucial in fostering a healthy and competitive business ecosystem.

Secure Your Interests with Expert M&A Guidance

In this journey of M&A, legal guidance is paramount. From due diligence to post-merger integration, legal expertise ensures compliance, mitigates risks and facilitates smooth transitions. As companies embark on their M&A ventures, they can rely on Burgeon Law M&A Services for comprehensive support at every stage of the process.


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