January 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority closes an agreement case in the sector of TV following commitments (Telefónica Cable, Sogecable)
European Commission
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) closes Satellite Pay TV Case following Commitments On 28 January 2010, the CNC Council resolved by means of a commitments decision the formal proceedings in case TRIO PLUS, opened against Telefónica Cable, S.A.U. and Sogecable, S.A. for having (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority fines supplier and distributors of DVD movies for resale price maintenance (Bomba, Computer data international, Elektromarktas)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 January 2010, the Competition Authority of Lithuania fined several undertakings active in the supply and distribution of DVD movies for engaging in resale price maintenance in breach of the provision of Lithuanian law equivalent to Article 101 TFEU between 2006 and 2009. The fines imposed (...)

The Croatian Administrative Court upholds the decision of the NCA imposing interim measures following an assessment of the unilateral termination of the motor vehicle distribution agreement (Tomić)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 27 January 2010 the Croatian Administrative Court upheld the decision of the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) imposing interim measures in the case of unilateral termination of the agreement on selective distribution of BMW automobiles. The applicant, Tomić & Co. d.o.o. (Tomic) was (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues cease and desist orders and imposes surcharges on bidders for bid rigging in the field of trade of the power cables for specific use (EXSYM, J-Power Systems and VISCAS)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Cease and Desist Order and Surcharge Payment Order against Participants in Quotation Collection or Competitive Bidding for Power Cable ordered by Electric Power Companies* The Japan Fair Trade Commission(JFTC), under the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act(AMA), investigated participants in the (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the amount of fines imposed on temporary employment agencies for concerted practices under Art. 81 EC and its French equivalent and clarifies the procedural issue of access to confidential electronic documents (Manpower / Adecco / Adia / Randstad)
White & Case (Paris)
In a ruling dated 26 January 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal confirmed a decision by the French National Competition Authority (the “NCA”) sanctioning world-leading companies in the temporary employment sector for infringing Article 81 EC and its French equivalent. Background Following a (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines the five major producers of bath and shower gel for a price-fixing cartel in its first successful leniency case (Fabricantes de gel)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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University of Harvard - Law School
On 21 January 2009, the Council of the Spanish Competition Authority (Consejo de la Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, hereinafter the “Council”) sanctioned the four largest Spanish manufacturers of bath and shower gel. i.e. Puig Beauty & Fashion Group, S.L. ("Puig"), Sara Lee Household and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines € 2 M hospital waste management companies for market-sharing arrangement (Consenur, Cespa, Interlun and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2010, the Spanish Competition Authority fined four undertakings active in the management of hospital waste in Spain − Consenur, Cespa, Interlun and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios − for having entered into certain market-sharing arrangements since 1997 in breach of the provision (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces the highest fines ever imposed by the NCA by 500 million Euros (Steel cartel)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
In a ruling dated 19 January 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal (the "Court") substantially reduced the highest fines ever imposed by the French Competition Authority (the "Authority") in the steel cartel case, from 575.4 million Euros to 74.1 million Euros. This judgement raises the question of (...)

The Paris Court of Appeals decreases fines on cartel members in the steel industry generating the urgency for a greater convergence on the calculation of fines for antitrust infringements (AMD, Arcelor)
Jones Day (Paris)
Towards greater convergence on the calculation of fines* It is not uncommon for the law to progress as a consequence of significant discrepancies and disagreements arising between courts and enforcers. This is exactly what may currently be happening to the French rules governing the (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission fines four medical companies for market allocation in the sector of medical waste management services for public healthcare providers (Consenur, Cespa Gestion de Residuos, Interlun, and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira
On January 18, 2010, the Spanish Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, the “CNC”) fined four medical waste management companies (Consenur, S.A [“Consenur”], Cespa Gestion de Residuos S.A. [“Cespa”], Interlun S.L. [“Interlun”], and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios [“SIS”]) €7,045,000 (...)

The English High Court opens the way for companies to pursue private damages actions against employees and directors who are involved in competition law infringements (Safeway Stores)
Shoosmiths (Thames Valley)
Background 1. Between 2002 and 2003, various employees and directors of the Safeway group ("Safeway"), a UK supermarket operator, were involved in the exchange of commercially sensitive retail pricing information with other UK supermarkets and dairy processors. As a consequence of this, (...)

The English High Court sees a way through public policy objections to the recovery of cartel fines from company executives (Safeway Stores)
Sanoma (Helsinki)
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Clayton Utz (Sydney)
a. Background Since 2005, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) has investigated an alleged cartel scheme arranged by certain supermarkets and dairy producers between 2002 and 2003. In 2007, Safeway (now owned by Wm Morrisons Supermarkets plc), one of the supermarket chains implicated in the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reverses a District Court decision and rules that the plaintiff satisfied the Twombly standard in a conspiracy case alleging parallel conduct (Starr / Sony BMG)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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In a notable recent decision, Starr v. Sony BMG Entertainment, 592 F.3d 314 (2d Cir. 2010), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addressed the pleading standard a plaintiff must satisfy to survive a motion to dismiss an antitrust conspiracy claim under § 1 of the Sherman Act (...)

The EU Commission monitors whether patent settlements concluded between pharmaceutical companies infringe EU antitrust rules
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Squire Patton Boggs (London)
On 12 January 2010, the European Commission sent an information request to a number of pharmaceutical companies, seeking copies of their patent settlement agreements, to check their compliance with EU antitrust rules (Official Press Release IP/10/12), as a follow up to its pharmaceutical sector (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office imposes total fines of € 159.5 million on coffee roasters (Tchibo, Melitta Kaffee, Bremen, Dallmayr Kaffee)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 12 January 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has fined three German coffee roasters, Tchibo GmbH, Melitta Kaffee GmbH, Bremen and Dallmayr Kaffee oHG, as well as six of their employees, a total of € 159.5 million for horizontal price fixing. The FCO’s (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts the commitments to waive distribution exclusivity on mobile telephones (iPhone Apple - Orange)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
On 11 January 2010, the French Competition Authority handed down its first decision of 2010, accepting the commitments undertaken by Apple and Orange to waive any distribution exclusivity on current and future iPhones models. Such Commitment Decision, taken pursuant to Article L. 464-2 I of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments submitted by an association of undertakings in order to cease possible violation of Art. 101 TFUE regarding professional fees (Council of psychologists)
Codacons (Rome)
The "Consiglio Nazionale dell’Ordiene degli Psicologi" ("CNOP") is the organ which represents the Council of psychologists at national level: it approves the professional ethics code, it manages the internal organization, compiles the balance sheets, and ensures the respect of the legislation, (...)

The EU Commission estimates costs for more effective Greek competition enforcement
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Greece Needs to Tackle Cartels – But Can It?* An EU task force sent to Athens in January have suggested that removing obstacles to competition – estimated to cost Greece around 1% of GDP (€2.5bn a year) – would help to restore its (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a lignite mining company for implementing anticompetitive agreements containing lignite fuels export bans (SUPN)
European Commission
Czech Republic: Export Bans of Lignite Fuels are anti-competitive The Office for the Protection of Competition (“the Czech NCA”) adopted on 8 January 2010 a decision finding that Sokolovská uhelná, právní nástupce, a.s. (hereinafter referred to as „SUPN“) had infringed the Czech Competition Act and (...)

The Lisbon Commerce Court confirms decision against bid-rigging cartel by pharmaceutical companies but substantially reduces fines (Abbott, Menarini and Johnson & Johnson)
University of Lisbon
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Abreu Advogados (Lisbon)
On 7 January 2010 the Lisbon Commerce Court upheld a 2008 decision by the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) imposing a € 13.4 million fine on pharmaceutical companies Abbott, Menarini and Johnson & Johnson for participating in a bid-rigging cartel. Back in 2005 the PCA fined the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority announces termination of investigation into motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors (Hyundai, Renault, Toyota, Honda and Saab)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Early in 2009, the Lithuanian Competition Council launched an investigation into certain companies active in the sale of new motor vehicles in Lithuania, examining claims that these companies had required customers to have their vehicles serviced only by an authorized dealer/repairer of the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirms judgment that incompatibility of products did not constitute monopolization on the market for pulse oximetry monitors (Tyco Health)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. 9th Circuit affirms judgment that incompatibility of products did not constitute monopolization* On 6 January 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a U.S. District Court (Central District of California) grant of summary judgment on a monopoly maintenance claim (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office opens a ferry route to competition (Scandlines Deutschland)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
According to a press release of 28 January 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has required Scandlines Deutschland GmbH (“Scandlines”), the owner of the Puttgarden ferry port and sole provider of ferry services between Puttgarden in Germany and Rødby in Denmark, to provide other ferry (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court annulls a judgment of the Appellate Administrative Court and quashes a decision of the Spanish Competition Authority that imposed a substantial fine on several power generating companies for abusing their dominant position in the Spanish electricity market for technical restrictions (Unión Fenosa)
Airbus Defence and Space (Toulouse)
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Pernod Ricard (Paris)
In a judgment delivered on January 27, 2010, the Spanish Supreme Court annulled a judgment of the Appellate Administrative Court of May 23, 2007 and quashed a Decision of July 7, 2004 of the Spanish Competition Authority (“NCA”) imposing a substantial fine on several power generating companies (...)

The German Competition Authority requires a ferry operator to grant access to its ferry port (Scandlines)
European Commission
Germany: Access to Essential Facilities granted on the Puttgarden-Rødby Ferry Route In a decision of 27 January 2010, the Bundeskartellamt has required Scandlines Deutschland GmbH to grant competitors access to Puttgarden ferry port. Based on its assessment that the port is an essential (...)

The European Commission market tests commitments offered by an energy company (E.ON)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 22 January 2010, the Commission published in the Official Journal a series of commitments offered by E.ON to address concerns raised by the Commission with respect to the German gas markets. According to the Commission’s preliminary assessment, E.ON may have infringed Article 102 TFEU by (...)

The Mexican Competition Commission determines telecommunications operator’s market power in the mobile telephony sector (Telcel)
Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
On January 21, 2010, the Federal Competition Commission of Mexico (Comisión Federal de Competencia, also known as “CFC” or “Cofeco”) issued a ruling confirming that Telcel has substantial power in the market for mobile telephony services in Mexico. Cofeco‘s decision was adopted by a majority of 3 to (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council issues fourth infringement decision against the State controlled airport for restricting access to the airport facilities (Vilnius Airport/RSS II)
Lithuanian Competition Council (Vilnius)
The Lithuanian Competition Council started the year of 2010 by issuing, on 21 January 2010, yet another infringement decision - fourth in less than three years - against the Vilnius international airport operator, the State Enterprise Tarptautinis Vilniaus oro uostas (TVOU), for its refusal to (...)

The Croatian Administrative Court upholds the NCA’s decision finding no abuse of dominance on the bus transportation services market (Fanika Vesligaj & Branko Kuntek)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 21 January 2010 the Croatian Administrative Court upheld the decision of the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) finding no abuse of dominant position on the market for bus transportation services in the municipality of Krapina. The AZTN’s investigation was prompted by the complaint lodged (...)

The Romanian Competition Council rejects a complaint regarding market entry of generics and price fixing in healthcare sector (Actavis, Novartis Pharma, Novartis)
Musat & Asociatii (Bucharest)
On January the 20th 2010 the Romanian Competition Council (the ‘Council’) issued the Decision 03/2010 rejecting a complaint filed by Actavis Group PTC (‘Actavis’) against two companies belonging to the Novartis Group - Novartis Pharma GmbH and Novartis AG (‘Novartis’) alleging a breach of the (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission publishes a report on intellectual property rights’ collective management
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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Allianz (Brussels)
On 19 January 2010, the Spanish Competition Commission (hereinafter, the “NCC”) published a report on the collective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in Spain (the “Report”). The aim of the Report is to analyze the structure of the market of the management of IP rights , with a (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission issues a report on the management of IP rights by collecting societies and concludes that their monopolistic position facilitates the distortion of effective competition
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 19, 2010, the Spanish Competition Commission published a report on collective societies’ management of Intellectual Property Rights (“IP rights”) in Spain and concluded that Spanish collecting societies enjoy a monopolistic position that reduces their incentives to operate efficiently, (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigation into an online news aggregator service following commitments (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
The Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) has recently terminated an antitrust investigation into Google after accepting and making binding commitments offered by Google to resolve two concerns raised during the ICA’s investigation. The ICA’s investigation started in August 2009, when Google was (...)

The French Competition Authority dismisses allegation of abuse against a pharmaceutical company (Sanofi-Aventis)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
In a recently published decision of 14 January 2010, the French Competition Authority dismissed the allegation of the French Minister for the Economy against Sanofi-Aventis (“Sanofi”) concerning that firm’s pricing practices on the market for the supply of low-molecular-weight heparins (“LMWHs”) (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority finds abuse of a dominant position on the market of fast money transfer services (Western Union)
University of Belgrade
On January 12, 2010, the Serbian Competition Authority (Komisija za zastitu konkurencije) adopted a decision against companies EKI Transfers and Tenfore, both Western Union’s Serbian agents, for the abuse of a dominant position on the relevant market of fast money transfer services in Serbia. (...)

The Cypriot Competition Commission fines telecommunications incumbent for refusing access to essential facility (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
In a published decision of 12 January 2010, the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition (“CPC”) concluded that the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (“CYTA”) abused its dominant position in the premium SMS (short messaging services of added value) market in breach of the applicable (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit provides important clarification on "Competing Purchasers" for Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination claim (Sodexo, Feesers, Michael Foods )
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Cleveland)
On January 7, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in a 3-0 decision, reversed a district court’s judgment against Sodexo, Inc., and another defendant in a Robinson-Patman Act (RPA) bench trial and directed entry of judgment in favor of the defendants. (Feesers, Inc. v. Michael (...)

Mergers

The French Council of State confirms the clearance of a merger in the free TV sector (TF1/NT1/Monte-Carlo Participations)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
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Gide Loyrette Nouel
Background On 26 January 2010, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) authorized the acquisition by TF1 group (“TF1”), the parent company of leading free TV channel TF1, of sole control over NT1 and TMC, two free Digital Terrestrial Television channels ("DTT channels"). Prior to this (...)

The French Competition Authority conditionally clears an acquisition of two digital TV channels (TF1, NT1, TMC)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The French Competition Authority recently conditionally cleared the acquisition by leading French broadcaster TF1 Group of sole control over NT1 and TMC, two digital terrestrial television channels. According to its press release, the Competition Authority found that the proposed transaction – (...)

The US FTC imposes remedies before clearing a merger affecting multiple markets for animal health and pharmaceutical products (Pfizer / Wyeth)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The FTC entered into a consent agreement with Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth, requiring divestiture of one entity’s U.S. operations in over 20 markets for various animal health and pharmaceutical products. The consent order, established on January 25, 2010, sets forth the divestiture of Wyeth’s U.S. (...)

The European Commission refers the examination of an acquisition in the wholesale and retail supermarket business to the Dutch Competition Authority (Schuitema/Super de Boer Assets)
J G Associates (Brussels)
"Merger: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010" On 25 January the Commission referred the acquisition by Schuitema of the Super de Boer assets (SBA) to the Ducth competition authority the Nederlandse Medingingsautoriteit (NMa). Schuitema is engaged in the procurement, (...)

The EU Commission opens formal investigation into a proposed iron ore joint venture (BHP Billiton / Rio Tinto)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 October 2010, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto announced that they have abandoned their plans to enter into a proposed $120 billion joint venture combining their Western Australian iron ore production activities in light of strong resistance from the Commission and the German Federal Cartel (...)

The US DoJ settles Hart-Scott-Rodino gun jumping charges stemming from buyer’s pre-approval of target’s purchasing contracts (Smithfield Foods / Premium Farms)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Kirkland & Ellis (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On January 21, 2010, after a three-year and four-month investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a $900,000 settlement with meat processors Smithfield Foods Inc. and Premium Farms LLC to resolve DOJ allegations that Smithfield exercised operational control over Premium (...)

The US DOJ imposes civil penalties for premerger "Gun Jumping" (Smithfield Foods, Premium Standard Farms)
Jones Day (Houston)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
On January 21, 2010, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) announced a consent agreement with Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms requiring the companies to pay $ 900,000 for violating Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Act premerger waiting period requirements. The DOJ alleged that (...)

The EU Commission approves the acquisition of US hardware and software vendor by a US software company (Oracle / Sun Microsystems)
J G Associates (Brussels)
"Merger: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010" The Commission approved, on 20 January, the proposed acquisition of US hardware and software vendor Sun Microsystems Inc. by Oracle Corporation, a US enterprise software company. After an in-depth examination the Commission (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears merger between two US software undertakings (Oracle / Sun Microsystems)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission
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European Commission - DG MOVE
Oracle/Sun Microsystems: The challenge of reviewing a merger involving open source software* I. Introduction On 21 January 2010 the Commission unconditionally cleared the planned takeover of Sun Microsystems (‘Sun‘), a software and hardware vendor, by Oracle Corporation (‘Oracle‘), one of the (...)

The EU Commission clears in Phase II a merger in computer programming activities sector conducting the economic analysis based on a dynamic theory of harm (Oracle / Sun Microsystems)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
A few thoughts on Oracle’s Sun takeover and Widenius appeal* On Friday 2nd July, Monty Widenius, founder of open source database company MySQL, owned by Sun, filed an appeal against the European Commission’s unconditional clearance of the merger between Oracle and Sun Microsystems. The main (...)

The US FTC announces the annual changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act notification thresholds
3M (St. Paul)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
On Friday, 21 January 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act notification thresholds. The FTC is required to revise the jurisdictional thresholds annually, based on the change in gross national product. The thresholds will (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the design, development, manufacture and sale of bio-analytical measurement products (Agilent / Varian)
J G Associates (Brussels)
"Merger: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010" On 21 January the Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of Varian Inc by Agilent Technologies Inc, both of the US. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Agilent‘s entire micro/portable gas chromatography (...)

The US FTC announces revised thresholds for HSR premerger notification filings
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
On January 19, 2010 the Federal Trade Commission announced revised thresholds for Hart-Scott-Rodino ("HSR") Premerger Notification filings and for the jurisdictional thresholds that trigger the prohibition on interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act. These thresholds, which (...)

The French Competition Authority conditionally clears acquisition in public transport sector (SNCF, Keolis, Effia)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 13 January 2010, the French Competition Authority has conditionally cleared the acquisition by SNCF of Keolis and Effia. SNCF is the incumbent rail transport operator in France, Keolis is a leading operator on the markets for urban and inter-urban passenger (...)

The French Competition Authority clears, subject to conditions, a merger on the sector of distribution of DIY, decoration and gardening items (Mr Bricolage / Passerelle)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Subject to several conditions, the Autorité de la concurrence authorizes the acquisition of the Passerelle group by Mr Bricolage.* The Autorité de la concurrence has examined the acquisition of the Passerelle (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears the acquisition of a worldwide producer and seller of chocolate and sugar confectionery products by a US food and beverage company (Kraft / Cadbury)
J G Associates (Brussels)
"Merger: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010" The European Commission cleared, on January, the proposed acquisition of Cadbury PLC of the UK by Kraft Foods Inc. of the US. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Cadbury’s Polish and Romanian chocolate confectionary (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines a energy company and a local authority for failure in a joint acquisition notification (ELMIB Energetikai Szolgáltató, Municipality of Tatabánya)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Hungarian Competition Council recently imposed a fine of HUF 4,975,000 (approximately € 18,400) on energy company ELMIB Energetikai Szolgáltató Zrt. and the Municipality of Tatabánya, a city in North-West Hungary, for the failure to timely notify their joint acquisition of thermal power station (...)

State Aid

The European Commission authorizes aid that Latvia intends to grant by way of tender for the construction and operation of a 400 MW thermal power plant
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has authorised aid that Latvia intends to grant by way of tender for the construction and operation of a 400 MW thermal power plant between 2015 and 2025. The aim of the measure is to ensure that future (...)

The European Commission refers Italy to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with a decision concerning the recovery of unlawful State aid for certain investment projects in the hotel industry (Region of Sardinia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has decided to refer Italy to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with a Commission decision of July 2008. On 12 November 1998, the Commission approved an aid measure in favour of the hotel (...)

The European Commission approves €576 M for a Spanish film support scheme covering national film support measures, including film production and distribution
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has approved €576 million for a Spanish film support scheme until 31 December 2015. The scheme covers Spain’s national film support measures, including film production and distribution. The scheme is in line with (...)

The EU Commission decides that the single charge agreement concerning airport services did not involve state aid (Bratislava Airport / Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Airport Operators and Budget Airlines* During the past 18 months or so, the European Commission has launched more than 20 investigations in the funding of regional airports and the arrangements that these airports have concluded with budget airlines (...)

The European Commission decides that a German manufacturer of solar panels is not entitled to receive public support in the form of a bonus for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Sovello)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 27 January 2010, the Commission decided that Sovello AG (formerly EverQ GmbH), a German manufacturer of solar panels, was not entitled to receive public support in the form of a bonus for small and medium-sized enterprises (...)

The European Commission holds that the existing State aid scheme in favor of French postal services incumbent is not compatible with EU State aid rules (Garantie d’Etat illimitée - La Poste)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 26 January 2010, the Commission completed its investigation into the unlimited state guarantee enjoyed by the French Post Office (‘La Poste‘) because of its special status as a public body, following the adoption by the (...)

The European Commission clears the annual financing regime for the Dutch public service broadcasters (yearly financing of Dutch public broadcasters)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* Since 2002 the Commission has received complaints from several commercial broadcasters and other media undertakings about various aspects of the financing regime applying to Dutch public service broadcasters. The complainants (...)

The European Commission approves the measures taken by the UK Government for the liquidation of UK specialist mortgages and savings products company (Bradford & Bingley)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 25 January 2010 the Commission approved the measures taken by the UK Government for the liquidation of Bradford & Bingley. Bradford and Bingley provided specialist mortgages and savings products. It operated 197 (...)

The European Commission approves aid given by the UK authorities to facilitate restructuring of UK financial services company (Dunfermline Building Society)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 25 January 2010, the Commission approves aid given by the UK authorities to facilitate restructuring of the Dunfermline Building Society of the United Kingdom. The restructuring consisted of the immediate split-up of (...)

German State aid private enforcement: The problem of access to the Courts
German Ministry for Science, Economics, and Transport (Kiel)
1. General considerations State aid is prohibited - art. 87 EC, now art. 107 TFEU. This is a very apodictic statement. In real life, things are slightly more complicated. State aid, money or adequate advantages granted to private entities by public bodies, is common practice in many forms. (...)

The European Commission approves a Hungarian measure aimed at providing liquidity to eligible financial institutions in Hungary to support lending to the economy
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has approved a Hungarian measure aimed at providing liquidity to eligible financial institutions in Hungary to support lending to the economy. In the period from late 2008 to early 2009, the Hungarian financial (...)

The European Commission authorizes a measure adopted by Denmark providing a State guarantee on non-life insurance against damage arising from nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive (NBCR) terrorist attacks exceeding a certain threshold (Danish Terror Insurance Scheme)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has authorised a measure adopted by Denmark which provides a State guarantee on non-life insurance against damage arising from nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive (NBCR) terrorist attacks that exceeds a (...)

The European Commission requests Greece to recover more than €230 million of illegal aid from largest shipyard company (Hellenic Shipyards)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with a Commission decision of 8 July 2008 which found that State aid had been unlawfully granted to Hellenic Shipyards (HSY) and (...)

Procedures

The Danish Government proposes amendments to the Danish Competition Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 January 2010, the Danish Minister for Economic and Business Affairs put a legislative package amending the existing Competition Act before the Danish Parliament. The aim of the proposed amendments is to bring the Danish Competition Act more in line with EU rules, especially with respect (...)

The Estonian Parliament introduces new leniency programme and harsher sanctions
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2010, the Estonian Parliament amended the Competition Act, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, and introduced a new leniency programme. This new leniency programme is based on the European Competition Network’s Model Leniency Programme, which has been adapted in order (...)

The European Commission publishes study on quantifying antitrust damages
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 January 2010, the Commission published an external study prepared by the economic consultancy Oxera and a multi-jurisdictional team of lawyers on quantifying antitrust damages. In its White Paper on damages actions for breach of antitrust rules, published in April 2008, the Commission had (...)

The European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas and the Council of European Energy Regulators publish a report setting out their 2010 work programme and their assessment of the development of the EU energy markets during 2008
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2010, the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG) and the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) published a report setting out their 2010 work programme and their assessment of the development of the EU energy markets during 2008. The report highlights a (...)

The European Commission publishes documents on Best Practices in competition law enforcement and on the role of the Hearing Officers
European Commission
European Commission: Best practices improve Transparency and Predictability of Proceedings In order to further enhance the transparency and the predictability of Commission antitrust proceedings, detailed explanations concerning how European Commission antitrust procedures work in practice (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority establishes policy for prioritization of competition and procurement cases as well as method for establishing fines in competition cases
White & Case (Brussels)
In an announcement dated 4 January 2010, the Swedish Competition Authority declares its new policy for prioritization of competition and procurement cases. This announcement follows a November 2009 memorandum on methods for establishing fines in competition cases, showing that the agency has (...)

The Romanian Government adopts substantial reform of the Romanian competition law
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 August 2010, the Government Emergency Ordinance 459/2010 (hereinafter, the “GEO”) amending the Romanian Competition Law 21/1996 (hereinafter, the “Romanian Competition Law”) entered into force. The substantial amendments made to the Romanian Competition Law follow legal developments in the (...)

Regulatory

The US FTC announces revised thresholds for the prohibition on interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
On January 19, 2010 the Federal Trade Commission announced revised thresholds for Hart-Scott-Rodino ("HSR") Premerger Notification filings and for the jurisdictional thresholds that trigger the prohibition on interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act. These thresholds, which (...)

The Danish Competition Authority publishes a report on competition culture in Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom
European Commission
Denmark: The Competition Authority publishes a Report on Competition Culture in Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom On 6 January 2010, the Danish Competition Authority published a report on competition culture, which focuses on the competition cultures in Denmark, Germany and the United (...)

The French Competition Authority recommends the government to further lift restrictions on laboratory services
European Commission
France: The Autorité de la concurrence recommends the Government to further lift Restrictions on Laboratory Services On 5 January 2010, the Autorité gave its opinion on a draft Government act (ordinance) on laboratory medicine services, which the French government was allowed by Parliament to (...)

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