April 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The Italian Competition Authority condemns a ferry operator for predatory pricing on the basis of an incremental cost standard (Tourist-Caronte group)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) penalized a ferry operator, the Tourist-Caronte group (T-C) active across the Strait of Messina, for predatory pricing. Interestingly, in this case the ICA did not apply the EU predatory test as set out in the AKZO case which incorporated the standards of (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures in the TV sector (Télédiffusion de France)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence hands down interim measures against Télédiffusion de France (TDF)* With regard to the introduction of digital terrestrial television (DTT), following a referral by the company (...)

The German Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf upholds prohibition imposed by the Bundeskartellamt on an airline company for unfair pricing strategy adopted against competitor (Deutsche Lufthansa)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf provisionally confirms the prohibition of Lufthansa’s abusive pricing strategy* In a provisional decision the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf has largely confirmed the Bundeskartellamt’s decision prohibiting Deutsche Lufthansa AG from unfairly hindering its (...)

The European Commission accepts formal commitments from Israeli-based producer of firewall and virtual private network (VPN) software regarding its distribution practices (Checkpoint)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission accepts formal undertaking from Check Point regarding its distribution practices"* In June 2001, the Commission received a complaint from Stonesoft Corporation, a Finnish software company, against Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli-based producer of firewall and virtual (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority issues a negative decision on alleged abuse of dominance in the determination of the maximum financial extent of health services for medical transport facilities and related prices for these services (Vseobecná zdravotná poisťovňa / STIMAR)
Havel, Holasek & Partners (Brno)
I. Relevant facts In the following case, the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (Office) stated that the conduct of General Health Insurance Company (VZP) is not considered an abuse of the dominant position according to Article 8 (2) of the Slovak Competition Act. The Office investigated the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority establishes that a system of tariffs and conditions on the market for gas transmission resulted in abuse of dominance (Gasunie)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Rules on the Abuse of a Dominant Position by Gasunie* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has established that Gasunie, through its use of parts of the Commodity Diensten Systeem (CDS) [Commodity Services System], has abused its dominant position on the market for gas transmission. (...)

Mergers

The Hungarian NCA cleared a merger in the crop protection products with sale obligation (Bayer/Aventis Crop Science Holding)
lakatos, koves and partners
The operation Bayer is the most significant parent undertaking of the Bayer-Group. Any of the shareholders of Bayer has not got more than 50 per cent of the shares, thus can not provide control Bayer either directly or indirectly. The main businesses of the Bayer Group are (i) health, (ii) (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the planned merger of the central agricultural cooperatives (BayWa Munich / WLZ Stuttgart)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
BayWa AG / WLZ AG merger cleared subject to strict obligations* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the planned merger of the central agricultural cooperatives BayWa AG in Munich and WLZ AG in Stuttgart only subject to strict obligations. The President of the Bundeskartellamt, Ulf Böge, stated: (...)

The French Minister clears a merger in the site location and maintenance for wireless communication operators market with remedies including non discriminatory treatment and a remedy offered by the seller (TDF/Bouygtel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In this operation, France Telecom, through its subsidiary TDF, will acquire the terrestrial broadcasting sites owned by Bouygtel. The market(s) The markets involved are the site location and maintenance for wireless communication operators. Remedy 1: Non discriminatory (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office clears a merger in the cooperative wholesale and retail sectors, subject to the divestiture of business sites (BayWa/WLZ)
E.CA Economics (Berlin)
The operation On 14 May 2001 BayWa AG (BayWa) notified the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) of its plan to acquire WLZ Raiffeisen AG (WLZ). The same transaction had been proposed ten years earlier (1991), when the FCO prohibited the merger. BayWa is a cooperative society which principally acts as (...)

The European Commission refers to the German Bundeskartellamt a joint venture offering local public transport services in Germany (Connex/DNVG)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The European Commission referred to the German competition authorities (Bundeskartellamt) a joint venture by which Connex Verkehr GmbH, a subsidiary of the French Vivendi group, and Deutsche (...)

The US DOJ fines two US software companies for improperly coordinating their actions before closing of the merger in violation of the HSR Act and Section 1 of the Sherman Act (CA/Platinum)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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Stanford University
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WilmerHale (Brussels)
The Department of Justice has just brought a case that should cause merging parties to take even greater precautions to ensure they do not improperly coordinate before closing. The DoJ complaint alleges violations both of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act) and of (...)

The European Commission clears an acquisition in the markets for crop protection, professional pest control and animal health products subject to substantial divestitures (Bayer/Aventis/Crop Science)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission decided to clear Bayer‘s acquisition of Aventis Crop Science (ACS), subject to substantial divestitures. As initially notified, the operation would have led to the creation or strengthening of (...)

The French Competition Council objects to the proposed acquisition of signal transmission towers (Bouygues Télécom / TDF)
RBB Economics (The Hague)
Introduction On 11 April 2002 the French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence, hereafter the CC) objected to the acquisition of telecommunication transmission towers and tower sites of Bouygues Télécom (Bouygtel) by Télédiffusion de France (TDF) because the concentration would (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves a proposed acquisition of an Italian chemicals company by Belgium chemicals company (Solvay/Ausimont)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission conditionally approved the proposed acquisition of the Italian chemicals company Ausimont SpA by Solvay SA of Belgium from Montedison SpA. Solvay has committed itself to sell a state of the art (...)

The European Commission clears, subject to divestiture, a merger between two German companies active in the building materials sector (Haniel/Ytong)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition by Haniel of Ytong Holding AG, two German companies active in the building materials sector. As in the Haniel/Fels case, the Commission examined the deal’s impact (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court annuls a Government’s decision having imposed substantially different remedies from the ones proposed by the NCA without justification and proportionality (Prosegur/Blindados del Norte)
Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira
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Lonza
Background On June 29, 2000, Prosegur, a company active in the security and cash-in-transit services markets, notified the former Service for Defense of Competition (Servicio de Defensa de la Competencia, “SDC”) of the acquisition of Blindados del Norte (“Blindados”), a company operating in the (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court annuls a merger prohibition decision in the local bus transport sector as the operation was already tacitly cleared (Salcai/Utinsa)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
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Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
On April 1, 2002, in the case Salcai/Utinsa, the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo, TS) for the first time annulled completely a decision adopted by the Council of Ministers regarding the prohibition of a merger. Background The parties involved in the merger were two local transport (...)

Procedures

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures in the radio broadcasting rights market (GIE Sport libre, RMC info)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Radio broadcasting rights for the football World Cup : the Conseil de la concurrence issues an interim measure against GIE [1] Sport libre* Following a referral by the company RMC Info, in a decision dated (...)

A German Higher Regional Court confirms that the defendant is obliged to surrender at the request of the competition authorities documents relating to the calculation of fees for network use (Energie Sachsen Brandenburg)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Higher Regional Court confirms right of competition authorities to apply cost control in abuse proceedings in electricity sector* In a preliminary decision the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG) has confirmed that the RWE regional energy supplier envia Energie Sachsen Brandenburg AG (envia) (...)

A Spanish Court of Appeal orders for the first time ever compensation of damages suffered as a result of antitrust violation (Hidroeléctrica de l’Empordá)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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Garrigues
The Spanish antitrust system is too dependent on administrative enforcement and has not managed to create a true tradition of private antitrust litigation. One reason for this failure might be a cultural one. Spanish companies litigate less that, for instance, US companies. This might be due to (...)

Public sector

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