February 2015

Anticompetitive practices

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf upholds a judgment of the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in a cartel in the cement sector (German cement cartel)
White & Case (London)
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Allen & Overy (Hamburg)
Cartel Damage Claims, a Belgian SPV for the collection of follow-on damages in antitrust litigation, has lost an appeal against six members of the so-called German cement cartel. On 18 February 2015, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf upheld a judgment of the Regional Court of Düsseldorf (...)

A US Court of Appeals stresses the importance for Sherman Act litigants to support their claims of antitrust injury-in-fact with market facts (Netflix)
Siemens (New York)
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Netflix Antitrust Suit* Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a multidistrict class action brought by Netflix subscribers who claimed the company conspired with Walmart to dominate the online DVD sales and rental markets. In 2005, Netflix (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines nine dairy companies and two associations for alleged exchanges of information relating to purchases of raw milk (Dairy Industry 2)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
On February 26, 2015, the Spanish National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y de la Competencia or “CNMC”) determined that nine companies and two associations in the dairy sector had engaged in a number of exchanges of commercially sensitive information (...)

The Council of the Office of the Slovak Republic examines the decision of the Antimonopoly Office by which it imposed fines on four construction companies for cartel in the field of the public procurement (J.P.–STAV spol)
Slovak Competition Authority
The Council of the Antimonopoly Office upheld the substance of the 1st instance decision on a cartel agreement of construction companies in public procurements* The Council of the Office of the Slovak Republic (“the Council of the Office”) examined the decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the (...)

The US Supreme Court decides on whether nominally public body must show “active supervision” by the state government to enjoy antitrust immunity (North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners)
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
North Carolina Dentists is in the Hizzouse, Y’all! Woot Woot!* So, the only real surprise about yesterday’s opinion in North Carolina State Bd of Dental Examiners v. FTC is that it wasn’t unanimous. The strongly worded six-member majority opinion, already receiving early applause (see here and (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that state agencies that are controlled by active market participants are not immune from antitrust laws unless the state also provides active supervision (North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners)
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Washington D.C.)
Supreme Court Rules NC Dentist Board Not Immune From Antitrust Scrutiny* Earlier this morning, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that state professional boards comprised of active market participants are not immune from antitrust laws even though the boards are formally designated as (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines various petrol product operator for anti-competitive agreements (Repsol / CEPSA / BP)
European Commission
CNMC Fines Various Petrol Product Operators a Total of € 32 400 000 for Anti-competitive Agreements* On 24 February 2015, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) sanctioned Repsol S.A., Disa Corporación Petrolifera S.A., Meroil S.A., Galp Energía España S.A., BP España S.A. (...)

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar enacts its first competition law: A first step in the right direction
DFDL (Singapore)
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DFDL (Phnom Penh)
On February 24th, 2015, the republic of the Union of Myanmar (“Myanmar”) has enacted its first competition law (the “Law”). It will come into force at a time determined by the President and is currently awaiting the expiry of the statutory 90-day waiting period within which the Myanmar government (...)

The Australian Competition Authority launches its 2015 compliance and enforcement policy, aiming at tougher penalties
Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Sydney)
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Striving for tougher penalties: The ACCC’s New Enforcement Priorities 2015 Share* On 19 February 2015, ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, launched the ACCC’s 2015 Compliance and Enforcement Policy (Policy). The Policy sets out the ACCC’s priority areas for 2015 and factors that will be taken into account (...)

The Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf dismisses transferred follow-on damages claims because of the shift of the risk of litigation costs (Cartel Damages Claims)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
I. The Facts The judgment by the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf (HRC Düsseldorf) put an end to 10 years of on-going legal dispute that started after the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) disclosed various regional quota cartels, operating for a number of years until 2002, in the German cement (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms the fines imposed on an undertaking on the food markets for abuse of dominance (Lenta)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Appeal Court confirmed a 2 million RUB fine upon “Lenta”* On 18 February 2015, the 13th Arbitration Appeal Court of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region confirmed legitimacy of the decision issued by the Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in St Petersburg (St Petersburg OFAS Russia) to (...)

The Competition and Markets Authority issues an updated statement relating to its investigation into the Great Britain energy markets
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
The CMA has today published an updated issues statement as part of its investigation into the Great Britain energy markets.* The updated issues statement (PDF, 969KB, 49 pages) summarises the investigation group’s initial thinking based on the evidence it has received, and the analysis it has (...)

The Arbitration Appeal Court of Moscow confirms the decision of the Russian Competition Authority in the crab cartel case (Aquaresource-DV)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Appeal Court upheld the FAS decision on crab auctions* On 17 February 2015, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court pronounced legitimacy of a decision and determination of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) dismissing the claim of “Aquaresource-DV” Ltd. “The ruling of the Appeal Court once (...)

The Indian Competition Commission fines a trade association for calling for price hike (All India Motor Transport Congress)
Vinod Dhall and Talwar Thakore & Associates
CCI fines All India Motor Transport Congress for calling for price hike* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed the maximum penalty of 10% of the average turnover on the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) the apex trade association for road transport service providers (both (...)

The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic opens ex officio proceedings relative to possible agreements restricting competition concluded between five undertakings acting in the market of meal vouchers and other benefit vouchers
Slovak Competition Authority
The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic suspects the companies providing meal and benefit vouchers of cartel* On February 16, 2015 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels, ex officio initiated the administrative proceedings in the matter of possible (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens ex officio proceedings in the market of the provision of air transport services in order to determine the probable existence of barriers to competition
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
Extract of the order by which the Federal Economic Competition Commission begins the ex officio investigation identified under the file number IEBC-001-2015, in the market of the provision of air transport services that use the International Airport of Mexico City for landing and/or take off (...)

The Arbitration Court of Moscow confirms the sanctions imposed on an association having restricted competition but reduced the fine pronounced (Association of Operators of Orenburg Regional Alcohol Market)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
In the course of the case reconsideration, Court confirmed legitimacy of FAS decision with regard to the “Association of Operators of Orenburg Regional Alcohol Market”* On 13 February 2015, the 18th Arbitration Appeal Court partly allowed an appeal of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS (...)

The US FTC settles restrictive practices charges with trade associations after they agreed to implement changes and compliance programs (PSA, PLASMA)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
In Settlement with FTC, Trade Associations Agree to Change Rules and Adopt Antitrust Compliance Programs* On March 3, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced two separate final orders with trade associations, Professional Skaters Association, Inc. (“PSA”) and Professional Lighting and (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council fines a cartel in the energy sector (Lukrida / Envija / Manfula)
European Commission
Competition Council Hits Cartel in Energy Sector* On 11 February 2015, the Competition Council (the Council) found that UAB Lukrida (Lukrida) and UAB Manfula (Manfula), the main market players in the construction of cogeneration power plants in Lithuania, sought to restrict competition in the (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes further fines on a mattress producer for allegedly imposing resale prices on retailers selling its products (Metzeler Schaum)
Ashurst (Milan)
Germany’s Federal Cartel Authority imposes further fines in mattress case* Last 6 February Germany’s Federal Cartel Authority (“FCA”) fined mattress producer Metzeler Schaum Gmbh (“Metzeler”) Euro 3.38 million for allegedly imposing resale prices on retailers selling its products, in breach of (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on a mattress manufacturer for resale price maintenance (Metzeler Schaum)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Further fine imposed for resale price maintenance in mattress case* The Bundeskartellamt has fined Metzeler Schaum GmbH 3.38 million euros for imposing resale price maintenance on retailers selling its products. From early 2007 to July 2011 representatives of Metzeler had repeatedly agreed (...)

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice holds that communications between corporations and the Competition Bureau during the proffer stage of the immunity program or the leniency program should not be protected by settlement privilege (Nestlé Canada)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Toronto)
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice held in R. v Nestlé Canada Inc. that communications between corporations and the Competition Bureau (Bureau) during the proffer stage of the Immunity Program or the Leniency Program should not be protected by settlement privilege. This case has clear (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority publishes a working draft of its standpoint on vertical restraints outlining its views on vertical competition issues
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
Introduction The Competition Authority of Slovakia ("SCA") published on 4 February 2015 a working draft of the Standpoint on Vertical Agreements ("Standpoint") and invited the relevant public to discuss the main ideas outlined in the Standpoint. The Standpoint has been published in the (...)

The EU Commission fines a broker for facilitating Yen Libor cartels by serving as communication channel and disseminating misleading information about expected rates (ICAP)
Constantine Cannon (London)
European Commission Fines London-Based Broker ICAP 14.9 Million Euros For Facilitating Yen Libor Cartels* The European Commission (“EC”) has fined London-based ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, for facilitating bank cartels in the market for Yen-denominated interest rate (...)

A Canadian Court holds that information received by the Competition Bureau at the proffer stage of its immunity and leniency programs is not protected from disclosure to other accused persons by settlement privilege (R / Nestlé Canada)
Lighthouse Global
Proffers to Competition Bureau must be disclosed to accused, court says* Information received by the Competition Bureau at the proffer stage of its Immunity and Leniency Programs is not protected from disclosure to other accused persons by settlement privilege, the Ontario Superior Court of (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission sends statement of objections to suspected bid rigging participants in the radio audience measurement market (MRB and FOCUS)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Statement of Objections addressed to undertakings active in the market of media measurement services regarding an alleged infringement of article 1 Law 3959/2011 (and/ or article 1 Law 703/1977)* Following the issuing of a statement of objections, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) will (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens ex officio proceedings in order to review whether several companies have breached the Federal Law of Economic Competition in the credit reporting market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
NOTICE by which the Federal Economic Competition Commission informs of the beginning of the ex officio investigation under file number IO-001-2015, on the possible commission of conducts contrary to the Federal Law of Economic Competition* At the margin a seal of the National Coat of Arms, (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines €9.29 million three companies operating in the bottled LPG market for restricting passive sales (Galp Energia)
Abreu Advogados
In a decision dated February 2015, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) has levied an antitrust fine totalling 9.29 million euros on three companies from Galp Energia Group (Portugal’s largest oil and gas operator) for using absolute territorial protection clauses regarding its (...)

The India Competition Commission clears an alleged cartel for lack of evidence and provides guidance on cross-examination issues (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India)
Vinod Dhall and Talwar Thakore & Associates
CCI finds no evidence of a cartel amongst builders but still passes strong observations against exploitative and unfair practices adopted by these builders* The CCI recently closed its investigation into an alleged cartel among builders in India finding insufficient evidence of a cartel (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several undertakings for their participation to a cartel in the market of depuration of muds from sewage waters (Gare Gestioni Fanghi)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Introduction By a decision made on 3 February 2015 in the case I765, Gare Gestioni Fanghi, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has found Alan, Azienda Agricola Allievi, CRE, Ecotrass and Evergreen Italia to have infringed Article 2 of the Italian Competition Act n. 287/90, corresponding to (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California receives a complaint likely to provide lessons about manufacturers’ efforts regarding resale prices (Costco / Johnson & Johnson)
University of Michigan
Costco v. J&J: The Latest and Largest in a Long Line of Pricing Cases* It’s not often that one Fortune 50 company sues another – but that’s what happened earlier this week when Costco sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in California federal court over J&J’s attempts to limit Costco’s (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines two poultry plants for unreasonably increased prices (Ptitsecombinat / Stavropolsky Broiler)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Stavropol OFAS fined two poultry plants 1.3 million Rubles for unreasonably increased prices* On 2 February 2015, the Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the Stavropol (Stavropol OFAS) fined “Stavropolsky Broiler” OJSC and “Ptitsecombinat” Ltd. 650,000 each for unreasonably growing (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes 9 million EUR fines for anticompetitive clauses in distribution contracts in gas bottle market under Art. 101 TFEU and national equivalent (Gas bottle market)
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
On 3 February 2015, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) announced that it had imposed fines of 9.29 million EUR on the Galp Energia group for anticompetitive practices in the gas bottle market in Portugal. According to the PCA, Galp and its subsidiaries included in the large majority of (...)

The US DOJ allows a standards association’s new patent policy for wi-fi standards, finding it potentially pro-competitive (IEEE-SA)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Feds Green-Light Institute’s New Patent Policy For Wi-Fi Standards, Finding It Potentially Procompetitive* The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday that it would not challenge recent revisions to the Patent Policy of the Institute of Electrical and (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the bid-rigging decision pronounced by the Russian Competition Authority concerning an auction for the right to repair street sport-practice grounds (Delta Stroi)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Cassation Court confirmed a bid-rigging cartel at an auction for the right to repair street sport-practice grounds in the north of Moscow* On 19 February 2015, Moscow Arbitration Court agreed with the arguments put forward by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) and upheld the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets provides insight into the application of competition law to the pricing and marketing strategies of originator companies
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Amsterdam)
In brief In a policy paper, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) examines how it can deal under competition law with pricing and marketing strategies of originators which impede the market entry of cheaper generic medicines. It focuses in particular on the strategies aimed (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms that Federal railway transport agency has unreasonable refused to open a railway station (Roszheldor)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
An unreasonable refusal to open a railway station resulted in violating the law* On 24 February 2015, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court pronounced legitimacy of the decision and determination issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) against the Federal Railway Transport Agency (...)

A US District Judge dismisses an antitrust claim for lack of proof of both the conduct and the injury (Google)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
Two recent victories for Google in the United States* On 20 February 2015 a federal judge in California dismissed an antitrust lawsuit against Google alleging that it violated antitrust laws by requiring makers of Android tablets and smartphones to designate Google as the default search engine (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern district of New York finds anti-steering rules to be anti-competitive (American Express)
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur
Judge finds anti-steering rules to be anti-competitive* Last Thursday, a federal district court judge found that American Express Co.’s anti-steering rules violated U.S. antitrust laws by barring merchants from encouraging customers to use other credit cards. The ruling not only handed a (...)

A US District Court reminds the need for an harmonious and supportable market definition to win an antitrust case (Live nation)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Federal Court Rings Down The Curtain On Baltimore-D.C. Rock Promoters’ Antitrust Case Against Live Nation* A long-running antitrust battle of the bands between a Baltimore-D.C. area regional concert promoter and venue operator and the concert colossus Live Nation got the hook in the U.S. (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern district of New York reminds that potential defendants in certain Section 1 monopoly cases should be prepared to address a plaintiff’s “direct evidence” of harm to competition and may not be able to solely rely on its relative market share as a defense (American Express)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Court Rules Against American Express Based on Both Direct and Indirect Evidence of Harm to Competition* On February 19, 2015, the District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued its ruling on liability in United States v. American Express. Following a seven-week trial, the Court (...)

The Romanian Competition Council proposes several recommendations to improve the competition in the life insurance sector
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
Low development level of life insurance sector in Romania* One of the conclusions of the sector inquiry conducted by the Competition Council on life insurance market is that this sector in Romania has a low level of development, the penetration decree is far behind that of other European (...)

The Arbitration Appeal Court of Moscow confirms that a pharmaceutical company has abused of its dominance (Baxter)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Appeal Court supported FAS arguments on the case against “Baxter” CJSC* On 17 February 2015, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court confirmed legitimacy of the decision and determination of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) on the antimonopoly case against “Baxter” CJSC, and a definition on (...)

The CJEU allows a specific discount strategy with exclusionary effect under EU postal liberalisation rules (Bpost)
University of Bristol - Law School
Marketing and the perfect crime? CJEU engages in a strange discussion of operational vs commercial discounts and issues ruling against mail consolidators (C-340/13, bpost)* In its Judgment in bpost, C-340/13, EU:C:2015:77, the CJEU has ruled that a discount system that offers reduced postal (...)

The Chinese NDRC applies rigorously the Anti-monopoly Law and fines a compagny for abuse of dominant position (Qualcomm)
Dacheng - Dentons (Shanghai)
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Dacheng - Dentons (Beijing)
On February 10, 2015, as one of the global antitrust enforcement powerhouses by now, the National Development and Reform Commission of PRC (“NDRC”) issued its sanction decision against the US semiconductor giant Qualcomm Incorporated (“Qualcomm), imposing a fine of RMB 6.088 billion (equivalent to (...)

The Swedish Market Court dismisses an abuse of dominance action because the relatively scarce market data presented was not sufficient to define the relevant market and establish dominance (Pizza24 Nordic / OnlinePizza Norden)
Vinge (Stockholm)
Online Food For Thought* The Swedish Market Court’s judgment in Pizza24 / OnlinePizza A judgment of the Swedish Market Court from February 2015 is an unfortunate missed opportunity to grapple with interesting issues around online intermediary services. The case concerned online services for (...)

The Chinese NDRC imposes its highest fine in an abuse of dominance case (Qualcomm)
King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
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King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
Qualcomm Investigation Finally Closed: Some Changes in Business Model in Addition to an RMB 6.088 Billion Fine* On 10 February 2015, the NDRC announced its decision in relation to the abuse of dominance investigation into Qualcomm. Following the announcement, the NDRC held a press conference (...)

The Chinese NDRC imposes its highest fine in Chinese antitrust history in an abuse of dominance case (Qualcomm)
Constantine Cannon (London)
China’s Record $1 Billion Fine Against Qualcomm Could Signal A Tough New Antitrust Cop On The Block* China’s imposition of a nearly $1 billion fine on Qualcomm, the world’s largest supplier of smartphone chips, is noteworthy not just because it is a record-breaking antitrust fine for China, but (...)

The Indian Competition Commission fines a cooperative company for both abuse of dominance and cartel (Kiratpur Sahib Truck)
Vinod Dhall and Talwar Thakore & Associates
CCI finds truckers’ society guilty of cartel and abuse of dominance* The CCI fined the Kiratpur Sahib Truck Operators Co-operative Transport Society Limited, a cooperative society of truck operators in the area of Kiratpur, Punjab and its individual office bearers 10% of the average turnover (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a market inquiry relating to remedies proposed by the owner of pylons in the mobile market (TDF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
TDF proposes to reduce the length of contracts and ease the conditions for early termination in the contracts of mobile operators using its pylons for the installation of their antennas.The Autorité de la concurrence launches a market test on these proposals.* Within the scope of litigation (...)

The Slovenian Competition Protection Agency holds that the incumbent telecom operator abused its dominant position by refusing access to network (Telekom Slovenije)
European Commission
Telekom Slovenije Abuses its Dominant Position by Refusing Access to Network* On 2 February 2015, the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (CPA) concluded that Telekom Slovenije (Telekom), the incumbent telecom operator, abused its dominant position on the wholesale markets for broadband (...)

The Ankara Administrative Court annuls the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority which found that a refusal to deal did not amount to an abuse of dominance (Congresium ATO)
University of Sussex
This case note analyses the decision of the Ankara Administrative Court in which it has annulled the decision of Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) to reject the complaint that Congresium ATO abused its dominant position by refusing to organise a furniture and decoration fair in its convention (...)

The Slovenian Competition Protection Agency sanctions a telecom company for abuse of dominance on the wholesale markets for broadband bit-stream access and for access to physical network infrastructure (Telekom Slovenije)
Slovenian Competition Authority (Ljubljana)
Slovenian Competition Protection Agency concluded with the assessment of abuse of dominant position by Telekom Slovenije* Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (CPA) has concluded with the assessment of abuse of dominant position by Telekom Slovenije (Telekom) and determined that the (...)

A US District Court reminds that special packaging is considered as promotional service covered by the Robinson-Patman Act (Woodman’s Food Market / The Clorox)
Scharf Banks Marmor
So Maybe the Robinson-Patman Act Isn’t Dead After All* Woodman’s Food Market is a chain of warehouse-style grocery stores in Wisconsin. As such, its sales strategy was similar to that employed by Costco and Sam’s Club: the ability to purchase groceries at lower prices by purchasing in large size (...)

Mergers

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court rules that complainants in merger approval cases cannot appeal the NCA decision (Severni energeticka)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
On 26 February 2015, the Supreme Administrative court cancelled the previous judgment of the Regional Court in Brno which held that a complainant in merger approval proceedings may appeal the decision of the Office for Protection of Competition (“Office”) to the extent it did not address its (...)

The Pakistan Competition Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the pharmaceutical sector (Novartis / GlaxoSmithKline)
Competition Commission of Pakistan
CCP approves acquisition of global vaccine business (excluding influenza business except in China) by GSK from Novartis* The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has approved acquisition of the global vaccines business (excluding influenza business except in China) of Novartis AG by (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears the acquisition of a media company by a competitor (De Vijver Media / Liberty Global)
Ashurst (Milan)
European Commission clears acquisition of Belgian media company by Liberty Global subject to commitments* Last 24 February the European Commission cleared Liberty Global’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the Belgian media company De Vijver Media NV (“De Vijver”), subject to commitments. (...)

The Irish Competition Commission issues details of the merger remedies taken by an undertaking acting in the retail sector (Valeo Foods / Wardell Roberts)
Irish Competition Authority
Commission publishes details of the binding divestiture commitments by Valeo Foods UK Limited* On 17 February the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the Commission) cleared the proposed acquisition by Valeo Foods UK Limited (Valeo) of sole control of Wardell Roberts Limited and (...)

The Competition Commission of India directs a company to file a merger notification following several minority stakes acquisitions (Piramal)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) directed Piramal Enterprises Limited (“Piramal”) to file a notice pursuant to Section 20(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”), read with Regulation 8 of the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to transaction of business (...)

The Irish Competition Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the retail market (Valeo Foods / Wardell Roberts)
Irish Competition Authority
Commission approves proposed acquisition by Valeo Foods UK Limited of sole control of Wardell Roberts Limited and Robert Roberts (NI) Limited, subject to binding divestiture commitments* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Commission) has today cleared the proposed acquisition (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a preliminary assessment relating to a merger in the food retail sector (Kaiser’s Tengelmann / Edeka)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt issues preliminary assessment of the takeover of Kaiser’s Tengelmann by EDEKA* In the EDEKA/Tengelmann merger control proceedings the Bundeskartellamt has today informed the parties of its preliminary assessment of the takeover plans. Andreas Mundt, President of the (...)

The US FTC clears merger between number one and number two most-visited online home shopping sites in the US without conditions (Zillow-Trulia)
Office of Attorney General
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Winston & Strawn (Washington)
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The Capitol Forum
In a ruling on February 13, the FTC unconditionally approved the Zillow-Trulia merger after an intensive six-month antitrust review. Despite reported concerns “that the merger might concentrate too much power in one company,” the FTC ultimately decided to “bless” the Zillow-Trulia combination. (...)

The UK Court of Appeal upholds the judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal requiring an airline to reduce its minority shareholding in rival airline (Ryanair / Aer Lingus)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA welcomes Court of Appeal Judgment on Ryanair/Aer Lingus* The CMA welcomes today’s judgment by the Court Of Appeal dismissing Ryanair’s challenge on all 3 grounds. The judgment followed an appeal by Ryanair Holdings plc (Ryanair) against an earlier decision made by the Competition Appeal (...)

The Competition Commission of India approves an acquisition pursuant to a shareholders Agreement (Zuari / Mangalore Fertilisers)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has approved the acquisition of Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals Limited (“ZFCL”); and (b) Zuari Agro Chemicals Limited (“ZACL”), together referred to as the “Acquirers”, in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited (“MCFL”), pursuant to a (...)

The Indian antitrust regulator fines parties for gun jumping (Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals and Zuari Agro Chemicals)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
The Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) read with the attendant Combination Regulations provide for a mandatory notification of the transaction to the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) provided that threshold limits provided under the Act are met (“combination”). The Act provides for a suspensory (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit provides significant judicial guidance for future health care mergers, casting serious doubt on the viability of a “post-merger efficiencies defense” to a prima facie case of a Section 7 violation (St. Luke’s Health System, Saltzer Medical Group)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
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Sheppard Mullin (Century City)
In Highly-Anticipated Decision, Ninth Circuit Affirms That Hospital-Physician Group Merger in St. Luke’s Violated Section 7 And Casts Serious Doubt on Viability of Efficiencies Defense* On February 10, 2015, the Ninth Circuit issued its highly-anticipated decision at the intersection of health (...)

A US Court of Appeals upholds that the theory of harm articulated by the FTC in hospital merger cases is fully applicable to physician acquisition cases and that the positive impact on competition of the claimed efficiencies must be clearly demonstrated (St. Luke’s Health System, Saltzer Medical Group)
BakerHostetler (Washington)
“Oh help me, please doctor, I’m damaged”—What does the Future Hold for Hospital-Physician Acquisitions?* With the ink still drying on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion affirming the Idaho federal district court’s order requiring St. Luke’s Health System to unwind its acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group—a (...)

The Pakistan Competition Commission clears an acquisition, following an in-depth investigation, in the pharmaceutical sector (Novartis / GlaxoSmithKline)
Competition Commission of Pakistan
The Competition Commission clears phase II review of the proposed acquisition by novartis ag of the business relating to a portfolio of oncology products (excluding manufacturing) from GlaxoSmithKline plc* ISLAMABAD, MONDAY, 09 FEBRUARY 2015: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (...)

The Canadian Parliament increases the threshold for a pre-closing merger notification under the Competition Act for 2015
Norton Rose Fulbright (Toronto)
The threshold for a pre-closing net benefit review under the Investment Canada Act and the threshold for a pre-closing merger notification under the Competition Act have been increased for 2015. Investment Canada Act The direct acquisition of control of a Canadian business by a non-Canadian (...)

The Finnish Consumer and Competition Authority lifts the remedy conditions originally attached to a reported merger (TV 4 / C More Group)
Dittmar & Indrenius
Letting the Notifying Party Off the Hook* The Amendment of Remedy Conditions under Finnish Merger Control Law Post-Approval On February 6, 2015 the Finnish Consumer and Competition Authority (the ”FCCA”) published its approval of MTV Oy’s (“MTV”) application to lift the remedy conditions (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority spurs an undertaking specialized in rail services to offer merger remedies in order to resolve competition concerns and to avoid an in-depth merger investigation (ICRL)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
Stagecoach/Virgin consortium given chance to resolve limited competition concerns arising from the East Coast rail franchise award* ICRL, a subsidiary jointly owned by Stagecoach and Virgin Trains, has the chance to avoid an in-depth merger investigation into its successful bid to run the East (...)

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority removes commitments imposed on broadcasting companies in the context of the acquisition of a pay-TV broadcaster (TV4/MTV)
Roschier (Helsinki)
On 27 November 2008, the Finnish Competition Authority (since then the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, "FCCA"), conditionally approved the acquisition of pay-TV broadcaster C More Group Ab ("C More") by TV4 Ab (“TV4”). The acquisition combined the broadcasting operations of MTV Oy (...)

A Canadian Court clarifies Competition Bureau disclosure obligations in cartel prosecutions (R / Nestlé Canada)
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
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Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Canadian Court Clarifies Competition Bureau Disclosure Obligations in Cartel Prosecutions* On February 4, 2015, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that relevant factual information proffered to the Crown in order to qualify for immunity or leniency under the Competition Bureau’s cartel (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court holds that compensation for structural disadvantages encumbering undertakings is still State aid except if it satisfies the Altmark criteria (France)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Relief from Pension Contributions* Compensation for structural disadvantages encumbering undertakings is still State aid. Compensation for structural disadvantages encumbering SGEI providers is not State aid only if it satisfies the Altmark criteria. Judgment of 26 February 2015, T-135/12, (...)

The EU General Court surprisingly agrees to a reduction of the recoverable amount of an aid according to the amount allegedly passed on to consumers (Aer Lingus / Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Should State Aid that Is Passed on to Consumers Not be Recovered?* Should the amount of recoverable aid be similarly reduced by the amount that is allegedly passed on to consumers? I will argue the case against it. Introduction On 5 February 2015, the General Court, in cases T-473/12, Aer (...)

The EU General Court holds that when the Commission orders recovery of aid that is intended to be passed on to final consumers, it must first calculate the amount, if any, that has been retained by the direct recipients of the aid (Aer Lingus / Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
A New but Dubious Concept of Advantage * When the Commission orders recovery of aid that is intended to be passed on to final consumers, it must first calculate the amount, if any, that has been retained by the direct recipients of the aid. If the calculation is too complex, the Commission can (...)

EU Advocate General Szpunar submits that taxing only fissionable nuclear materials used for the production of electricity does not constitute State aid (Kernkraftwerke Lippe-Ems / Hauptzollamt Osnabrück)
University of Bristol - Law School
AG Szpunar submits that German nuclear taxes are not State aid, but his reasoning is totally unimaginative (C-5/14)* In its Opinion in Kernkraftwerke Lippe-Ems, C-5/14, EU:C:2015:51 (not available in English), AG Spuznar has submitted to the CJEU that a German tax on fissionable nuclear (...)

Procedures

The Indian Competition Appellate Tribunal orders to Competition Commission of India to follow due process by ensuring neutrality and fairness in adjudication and raising the bar for standard of proof (Board of Control for Cricket in India / CCI)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Introduction The role of procedural justice and it’s value in shaping antitrust jurisprudence in India has never felt stronger than now. Due process has evolved as the most contemporary buzzword in the story of antitrust enforcement in India. Many of notable orders passed by the Competition (...)

Advocate General Nils Wahl recommends the avoidance of "fishing expeditions" during dawn-raid (Deutsche Bahn)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
European Commission dawn raids – Advocate General recommends the avoidance of “fishing expeditions”* Earlier this month, Advocate General Wahl delivered his opinion in the Deutsche Bahn1 case. This case concerns important practical principles which govern the conduct of European Commission dawn (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court outlines the principles of effective ex-post court review of dawn raids (Stengl Consulting / Slovak Competition Office)
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
Introduction The Slovak Supreme Court (SSC) issued in February 2015 a ruling concerning the ex-post court review of unannounced inspections (dawn raids). Following the decision of the ECHR in Delta Pekárny which stressed the importance of national judges overseeing the seizures und inspections, (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a foreign company for failure to submit information (Linenhall Overseas)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS imposed a second fine upon a foreign company in two months* At the end of January 2015, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) fined “Linenhall Overseas Limited” 500,000 RUB for failure to submit information within the designated period. The company is registered in British Virgin (...)

Regulatory

The Mexican Competition Commission publishes an opinion regarding the draft regulation for iron and steel products
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
COFECE issues opinion on the regulation draft for iron and steel products* Mexico City, March 5th 2015. – On February 26th 2015, the Board of Commissioners of the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) unanimously issued an opinion regarding the Draft Mexican Official Regulation (...)

The Slovakian Competition Authority recommends measures aiming to increase the competition in the banking sector and to improve clients’ mobility
Slovak Competition Authority
The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic calls for measures to increase the bank clients´ mobility* Last year the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic in detail dealt with the analysis of financial sector which is one of the most important driving forces of economy. It also aimed at (...)

Public sector

The Pakistan Competition Council decides to conduct an open hearing regarding competition concerns in public procurement of electric power equipment (NTDC & DISCOs)
Competition Commission of Pakistan
CCP to conduct open hearing regarding competition concerns in public procurement of electric power equipment* The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) will issue its recommendations to promote competition in public procurement of power equipment following a public hearing to be held on 17 (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority publishes an opinion on a public works and related services bill
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
COFECE Issues Opinion Regarding the Public Works and Related Services Bill* On February 9th, the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE) Board of Commissioners unanimously issued an opinion regarding the Public Works and Related Services Bill, currently being discussed in the (...)

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