October 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The European Commission fines game consoles manufacturer and seven of its European distributors for colluding to prevent parallel trade (Nintendo)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG MARE
"Commission fines Nintendo and seven of its European distributors for colluding to prevent parallel trade in Nintendo products"* 1. Introduction The Commission Decision commented here concerns the distribution of Nintendo manufactured game consoles (the NES and SNES static consoles, that were (...)

The European Commission rules against the collusive behaviour of the world’s two leading fine arts auction houses (Christie’s and Sotheby’s)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission rules against the collusive behaviour of Christie’s and Sotheby’s"* In a decision adopted on 30 October 2002, the European Commission found that Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the world’s two leading fine arts auction houses, breached European Union competition rules by colluding to fix (...)

The European Commission closes investigation into two transatlantic aviation alliances (Lufthansa/SAS/United Airlines and KLM/NorthWest)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission closes investigation into Lufthansa/SAS/United Airlines and KLM/NorthWest alliances"* I. Introduction On 28 October 2002 the European Commission decided to close its investigations under Article 85 (ex 89) of the Treaty into two transatlantic aviation alliances, that is the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority approves proposed setting up of a joint venture in the telecom sector (Dutchtone / Ben)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Approves Cooperation between Dutchtone and Ben in Construction of UMTS Network* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has given its approval to the proposed setting up of a joint venture by Dutchtone and Ben. This joint venture will construct and administer parts of the UMTS network (...)

The European Commission exempts a standard agreement entered into by a number of copyright administration societies from Europe, South America, Asia and New Zealand (IFPI Simulcasting)
University of Lisbon
"From discothèques to websites, a new approach to music copyright licensing: the Simulcasting decision"* On 8 October 2002 the Commission adopted a decision in case COMP/C2/38.014 IFPI Simulcasting exempting a standard agreement entered into by a number of copyright administration societies (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines cement producers for concerting market practices through a cement association and for the abuse of dominant position (Holcim Hungária Rt.)
lakatos, koves and partners
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lakatos, koves and partners
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) launched proceedings against three cement producers : Holcim Hungária Rt. (Holcim), Duna-Dráva Cement Kft. (DDC) and BÉCEM Cement és Mészipari Rt. (BÉCEM) as well as their association : the Hungarian Cement Association (HCA) because of a suspected illegal (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Netherlands Competition Authority approves the definitive guidelines for the healthcare sector
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Approves Guidelines for the Healthcare Sector* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved the definitive guidelines for the healthcare sector. The guidelines describe clearly what agreements restrain competition and, in principle, are prohibited, such as agreements on prices (...)

Mergers

The US FTC seeks divestiture of an exact copy of software, thereby resolving anticompetitive effects from a completed merger in the engineering software industry (MSC / UAI / CSAR)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
On August 14, 2002, the FTC announced that MSC Software Corporation had agreed to enter into a consent settlement, resolving concerns that arose after MSC acquired Universal Analytics, Inc. (“UAI”) and Computerized Structural Analysis & Research Corp. (“CSAR”) in 1999. The FTC determined that (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority approves takeover after the parties gave assurances with regard to the sale of their interests in several asphalt plants (HBG / BAM NBM)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa: BAM NBM and HBG Must Sell Their Interests in Asphalt Plants* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved the takeover of HBG by BAM NBM after the parties gave assurances with regard to the sale of their interests in several asphalt plants. The takeover will result in one of (...)

The European Court of First Instance annuls the Commission’s decision declaring as incompatible with the common market a merger between Swiss-based packaging company mainly active in carton packaging, with a French packaging company mainly active in plastic PET packaging equipment (Tetra Laval/Sidel)
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"* On 25 October 2002, the Court of First Instance (CFI) delivered its ruling in case T-5/02, Tetra Laval v Commission, and annulled the Commission’s Decision of 30 October 2001 declaring as incompatible with (...)

The EU Court of First Instance overturns the European Commission’s decision to block a merger in the packaging equipment sector addressing the issues of conglomerate effects and leveraging (Tetra Laval/Sidel)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
For the third time this year, and the second time this week, the European Court of First Instance ("CFI") has overturned a decision of the EC Commission to block a merger. Once again, the CFI criticized the Commission’s factual findings and its analysis. Within hours of the judgment, (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger in the sector of construction subject to divestment (BAM - HBG)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Amsterdam)
The operation BAM is active in different sectors including construction and property, civil engineering, public-private partnerships, mechanical and electrical contracting and consultancy and engineering (para. 4). HBG is active on the same markets and is also active on the worldwide dredging (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the agricultural products market with remedies including divestments (Lännen Tehtaat/ Avena)
Grant Thornton (Helsinki)
The operation On 4 October 2002 the Finnish Competition Authority cleared, in a Phase II decision, a merger in which Lännen Tehtaat acquired control of Avena Oy from the Finnish state. Avena subsidiaries included in the acquisition are the animal feed producer Suomen Rehu and the grain and (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority conditionally approves plan for cost savings following consent granted for an acquisition on the market for daily newspapers (De Telegraaf)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Approves De Telegraaf’s Plans for the Limburg Daily Newspapers* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has approved De Telegraaf’s plans for cost savings at Dagblad De Limburger and Limburgs Dagblad on condition that De Telegraaf complies with the decision taken by NMa at the time of (...)

State Aid

The European Commission orders recovery of incompatible State aid of € 15.7 million from a German porcelain manufacturer (Kahla Porzellan, and Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan)
European Commission
"Aid in favour of Kahla Porzellan GmbH and Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan GmbH"* On 30 October 2002 the European Commission finalised three years of investigation ordering recovery of incompatible aid of € 15.7 million from the eastern German porcelain manufacturer Kahla. The Commission decision (...)

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