November 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The Netherlands Competition Authority draws up a report on four bicycle manufacturers due to a reasonable suspicion that they had entered into price agreements and exchanged sensitive competitive information (Gazelle / Accell / Giant / Union)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Draws up a Report on Bicycle Manufacturers and Branch Organisations* Following an investigation, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has drawn up a report on four bicycle manufacturers due to a reasonable suspicion that they had entered into price agreements and exchanged sensitive (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority intends to limit the exemption for the salvaging scheme for broken-down cars to motorways and provincial and municipal roads which fulfil an important role in the flow of traffic
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Not Satisfied with Implementation of Salvaging Scheme for Broken-Down Cars* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) intends to limit the exemption for the salvaging scheme for broken-down cars to motorways and provincial and municipal roads which fulfil an important role in the flow of (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority draws up a report on four road construction companies in relation to a bid-rigging cartel on the asphalt construction market (Koninklijke Wegenbouw Stevin / Ballast Nedam Infra Noord Oost / Gruno Wegenbouw / Koop Tjuchem)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Draws up Report on Road Construction Companies Due to Cartel Agreement* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has drawn up a report on four road construction companies. NMa has drawn up this report on the grounds of a reasonable suspicion that the Competition Act has been infringed. (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority decides following the notification of the scheme for the collective sale of broadcasting rights in connection with an application for exemption to allow the collective trading rights to broadcast summaries (Eredivisie)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Prohibits Joint Trading of Rights to Live Broadcasting of Premier Division Football Matches* As of the start of the football season 2003-2004, the professional football organisations may no longer jointly sell rights to the live broadcasting of football matches, as they now do through (...)

The European Commission adopts a decision granting exemption to aspects of the revised Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement (TACA)
European Commission - DG COMP
"The Revised TACA Decision — The end of the conflict?"* 1. Introduction On 14 November 2002, the Commission adopted a long-awaited decision granting exemption to those aspects of the revised Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement that fall within the scope of either Regulation 4056/86 (but (...)

The UK OFT finds that amended rules imposed by the General Insurance Standards Council on its members are not anti-competitive (General Insurance Standards Council)
Baker McKenzie (London)
On 13 November 2002, the Office of Fair Trading (« OFT ») (at the time, the Director General of Fair Trading) found that the rules of the General Insurance Standards Council (« GISC »), intended to improve standards in the insurance sector, were not anti-competitive. This decision followed the (...)

The European Commission clears agreements to set up and operate a world-wide mechanism to evaluate, certify and license patents for third generation mobile communications systems (3G3P)
European Commission
"Competition law analysis of patent licensing arrangements — the particular case of 3G3P"* On 12 November 2002, the Commission’s Competition Directorate-General cleared agreements to set up and operate a world-wide mechanism to evaluate, certify and license essential patents for third generation (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority draws up a report due to agreements that restrain competition in the area of the application of certain foundation techniques, including diaphragm walls, and carrying out certain categories of concrete civil engineering activities (Heijmans Beton- en Waterbouw / Solétanche Bachy)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Suspects Heijmans and Solétanche of Cartel Agreements* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has drawn up a report on Heijmans Beton- en Waterbouw B.V. and Solétanche Bachy France S.A. due to agreements that restrain competition in the area of the application of certain foundation (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority closes a case in the mobile telephony sector but does not exclude the anticompetitive character of the practices (Orange France)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Orange France renounced to overcharge the calls of its consumers towards its competitors, the Conseil de la concurrence decided to close the case* On September 15 2002, Orange France1, implemented a new call (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds that the Italian incumbent gas operator has abused its dominant position by impeding entry of new operators in the recently liberalized gas market (ENI)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Introduction By a decision taken in November 2002 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) found that the ENI Group, the Italian incumbent gas operator, had abused its domain position in retail and transport gas markets in the 2001-02 thermal year. These abusive conducts were part of a complex (...)

Luxembourg administrative courts find no anti-competitive practices in the context of a waste disposal scheme (SuperDrecksKëscht 2)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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NautaDutilh (Luxembourg)
Background This case deals with alleged anti-competitive practices in the context of a waste disposal project, “SuperDrecksKëscht 2” (now “SuperDrecksKëscht fir Betriber”). The initiators of this project were the Administration de l’Environnement (“Environmental Administration”) within the Ministry of (...)

The German Supreme Court adopts a decision on below cost pricing in retail industry under Section 20(IV)(2) of the Act Against Restraints of Competition (Wal-Mart)
WilmerHale (Berlin)
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WilmerHale (Berlin)
In November 2000, we reported on the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) decision requiring Wal-Mart to increase its prices in Germany for certain basic food items (such as milk, margarine, and sugar) that Wal-Mart had sold below its purchase cost. Wal-Mart thereafter appealed the decision to (...)

Mergers

The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition allows a horizontal merger among two national insurance groups subject to commitments to liberalization of the offering of the “Green Card” insurance service (TBI Holding/DZI 2000)
Boyanov & Co.
The operation The consortium between TBI Holding NV and DZI 2000 AD notified its intention to acquire control over the incumbent state owned insurance group DZI, in the framework of a privaitzation transaction. TBI Holding already controlled the Bulstrad insurance company, active in general (...)

The European Court of First Instance annuls the Commission decision in a merger case which attempted to retroactively modify the original assessment on the ancillary restrictions (Lagardere/Canal Plus v. Commission)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* The main interest of this judgment lies in its impact on the interpretation of the Merger Regulation with regard to ancillary restraints. The Court held that contractual clauses which constitute restrictions (...)

The EU General Court reverses the Commission’s refusal to review ancillary restraints in merger cases (Lagardere/Canal+)
WilmerHale (Brussels)
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Harte-Bavendamm Rechtsanwälte
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Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
Last month, the European Court of First Instance (“CFI”) reversed a decision by the European Commission in a merger case, Lagardère/Canal+, that had refused to assess the legality of certain ancillary restraints (such as noncompete clauses) as part of its decision on the merger. The Commission had (...)

The European Commission grants conditional approval to the acquisition of a German specialty chemicals company by the German mining and technology group (RAG/Degussa)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* In November the Commission granted conditional approval to the acquisition of the German specialty chemicals company Degussa AG by the German mining and technology group RAG. The transaction had initially (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears in phase II with multiple behavioural remedies a merger in the TV sector, the Council of Ministries having established the definitive set of remedies (Sogecable/Vía Digita)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The merger involved Sogecable’s acquisition of DTS, which operated the pay TV platform Vía Digital. The merger would also increase Sogecable’s stake in AVS to 80%. Sogecable is a pay TV operator with activities in Spain through its subsidiaries Canal+ España (analogical pay TV) and (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority decides that an in-depth investigation is necessary into the proposed takeover on the market for cable connections (Casema / Liberty Media)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa To Investigate Merger Liberty - Casema Further* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has decided that an in-depth investigation is necessary into the proposed takeover of Casema Holding B.V. by the American cable and media company, Liberty Media Corporation. At present, Liberty (...)

State Aid

The European Commission launches formal investigation procedure into restructuring aid in favour of British Electricty supplier (British Energy)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission launches formal investigation procedure into restructuring aid in favour of British Energy plc"* British Energy plc (BE) is one of the most important suppliers of electricity in the UK. It supplies about 20% of the electricity consumed in Great Britain, and accounts for 14% of the (...)

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