January 2014

Anticompetitive practices

The Moscow Arbitration Court upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority imposing fines on 20 companies in chemical industry for cartel (United Trade Company)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Moscow Arbitration Court took the side of Russia in a case on a cartel in the market of liquid caustic* On 20th January 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court pronounced legitimacy of the decision and determination to impose administrative fines by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) with (...)

The UK OFT accepts commitments from online travel agents enabling them and the hotels to offer discounts on rates for hotel rooms (Booking.com)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
UK Office of Fair Trading closes investigation into hotel online booking practices On 31 January 2014, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) accepted the commitments from online travel agents, Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”, and its ultimate parent company priceline.com Incorporated) and Expedia (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission issues formal opinion on professional rights of engineers
European Commission (Brussels)
Greece: The Hellenic Competition Commission issues Formal Opinion on Professional Rights of Engineers* On 30 January 2014, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) issued Opinion No. 34/2014, following a formal request from the Greek Government, on a draft legislation amending the current (...)

The EU Advocate General Kokott delivers her opinion on civil liability of cartel members for umbrella pricing (Kone, Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp)
University College London
On 30 January 2014 Advocate General Kokott delivered her Opinion on the Case C-557/12 Kone and others. This case concerns a claim for compensation brought by the customer of an undertaking not party to a cartel, against the cartel members on the ground that the non-infringing party had (...)

The EU General Advocate Mengozzi proposes the Court of Justice to uphold the Commission’s decision prohibiting multilateral interchange fees (Mastercard)
Clifford Chance (Madrid)
Background information In its Decision of 19 December 2007 the Commission prohibited Mastercard’s multilateral interchange fees (MIF) that apply to cross-border payments with MasterCard and Maestro-branded consumer credit and debit cards between Member States of the European Economic Area (...)

The AG Kokott of the EU Cout of Justice states that the law of the EU precludes domestic legislation which categorically excludes any civil liability of undertakings belonging to a cartel for umbrella damages (KONE)
CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
Advocate General Kokott stated that the law of the European Union precludes the interpretation and application of domestic legislation enacted by a Member State which categorically excludes any civil liability of undertakings belonging to a cartel for loss resulting from the fact that an (...)

The AG Kokott of the EU Court of Justice issues opinion on the scope of the civil cartel liability in favour of allowing an action for compensation for loss resulting from umbrella pricing (KONE)
European Procurement Law Group
A first reaction to AG Kokott’s KONE Opinion (C-557/12)* AG Kokott’s Opinion of 30 January 2014 in case C-557/12 KONE is generating significant debate (see the very interesting criticism in EUTopia) as it deals with a very complicated and controversial issue that could either spur or restrict (...)

The US FTC finds violation of law with respect to the adoption of an exclusive dealing policy to maintain a monopoly position on the domestic fittings market (McWane)
University of Michigan
Why the FTC’s McWane Opinions Raise More Questions Than They Answer* The Federal Trade Commission is meant to be, and is, an expert body on antitrust laws. So, when a case like McWane—that raises both collusion and exclusion issues—is in front of the FTC, it seems reasonable to expect to receive (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an Article 101 TFEU investigation into bid-rigging practices in the health sector (Octreotid Supplies)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) will investigate into bid rigging practices that are thought to have affected a number of tender procedures organized by some regional health authorities for the award of contracts for the supply of a tumour drug (Case I770 Octreotid Supplies). The facts (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority re-authorises price arrangements on the sale of agricultural and veterinary chemicals
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC re-authorises waste reduction scheme* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to re-authorise AgStewardship Australia Limited on behalf of itself, its members, Agsafe Limited and current and future participants in arrangements to impose a four cent per (...)

The OFT initiates a criminal prosecution for a cartel offence before being replaced by the newly formed Competition and Markets Authority (Peter Nigel Snee)
Newcastle University
On the 27th January 2014, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that Peter Nigel Snee had appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court to face a charge under section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002, commonly known as the “cartel offence”. It is alleged that Mr Snee dishonestly agreed with (...)

The UK OFT brings criminal charges for involvement in hardcore restrictions on the market for galvanised steel tanks (Peter Nigel Snee)
Hogan Lovells (London)
UK flexes its criminal enforcement muscle* In a move that signals that UK criminal cartel enforcement is set to increase, Peter Nigel Snee appeared on 27 January 2014 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to face charges under the UK’s criminal cartel offence. Mr Snee has been charged under section (...)

The South African Competition Commission closes its investigation into exclusive lease agreements in the supermarket industry without taking further action (Shoprite / Woolworths / Spar Group / Pick’n Pay Stores / Massmart / Metcash)
Nortons Incorporated
Competition Commission concludes exclusive-lease investigation without taking action* The South African Competition Commission (“Commission”) has recently announced that it has concluded its investigation into the major retail grocery stores, namely Shoprite Holdings Ltd, Woolworths Holdings (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit dismisses price-fixing claims based on overseas purchases of LCD panels made by foreign affiliates (Motorola Mobility / AU Optronics)
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
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Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
LCD Court Dismisses Motorola’s Multi-Billion Dollar Antitrust Claims Based On Overseas Purchases* On January 23, in a landmark decision that is one of the most important yet to be handed down in the sprawling LCD antitrust litigation pending in various federal courts since 2006, Judge Joan (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority imposes fines for resale price maintenance on the market for dental handpieces (Dentalwerk Bürmoos)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Restrictive agreements on the market of dental handpieces* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) established that W&H Dentalwerk Bürmoos GmbH and certain of its distributors had breached EU competition rules by concluding restrictive agreements which fixed the (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority adopts an advocacy opinion stating that minimum price-setting by creative associations restricts competition
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: Minimum Price-setting by Creative Associations restricts Competition* On 22 January 2014, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an advocacy opinion stating that the possibility for creative associations (associations of actors, artists, musicians, dancers, (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fines for resale price maintenance in food sector (Kärntnermilch, Vereinigte Kärntner Brauereien, Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg Stöhr)
European Commission (Brussels)
Austria: The Cartel Court imposes Fines for Resale Price Maintenance in Food Sector* In December 2013 and January 2014,the Cartel Court (the Court) took several decisions imposing fines on companies active in the food sector for having infringed Article 101 TFEU and §1 of the Austrian Cartel (...)

A US District Court largely rejects a motion to dismiss an antitrust price-fixing complaint, though it holds that a recognized exception against indirect purchaser suits has not been adequately pled (Lithium Battery)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Lithium Ion Batteries Court Addresses Illinois Brick Exception, Finds Standing for Certain Indirect Purchasers of Component Products* In In re: Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litigation, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7516 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2014) (Gonzalez Rogers, J.), the Northern District of (...)

The Swedish City Court fines tire service chain for illegal joint tendering in two public procurements (Däckia and Euromaster)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Tire service chains ordered to pay fines for illegal joint tendering* The Stockholm City Court has ordered the tire service chains Däckia AB (Däckia) and Euromaster AB (Euromaster) to pay administrative fines amounting to SEK 2.5 million for illegal joint tendering in two public procurements. (...)

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania refers to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling about concerted practices relating to online sale of package tours (Eturas)
European Commission (Brussels)
Lithuania: Reference for Preliminary Ruling to ECJ in Case relating to Online Sale of Package Tours* On 17 January 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Supreme Court) referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling in the case Eturas and others (...)

The Russian Competition Authority welcomes the termination of an anti competitive agreement on the market of auto landing (URALSIB / Volkswagen)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“URALSIB” Bank and “Volkswagen Bank RUS” terminated an anticompetitive agreement on the market of auto landing* “URALSIB” OJSC and “Volkswagen Bank RUS” Ltd. informed FAS on executing a determination in an antimonopoly case. On 23rd October 2013, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) found (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on five beer manufacturers and seven individuals in a beer price-fixing case (Breweries Cartel)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Beer Manufacturers Fined $145 M in Price-fixing Case – Other Brewers, Association Investigated* Earlier on the 13th of January 2013, the German antitrust authority (the Bundeskartellamt) announced that $145 million in fines had been imposed against five beer manufacturers and seven individuals (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on five breweries as well as seven individuals personally involved on account of illegal price fixing agreements for beer (Bitburger)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
First fines imposed in cartel proceedings against breweries* Bonn, 13 January 2014: The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling 106.5 million euros on the companies Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH (Bitburger), Krombacher Brauerei Bernhard Schadeberg GmbH & Co. KG (Krombacher), C. & A. (...)

The Lisbon Appeal Court confirms fines against a professional association for anticompetitive practices in the training market (OTOC)
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
In July 2007, the Portuguese Order of Chartered Accountants (OTOC), legally entrusted with regulating the activities of chartered accountants in Portugal, adopted a binding regulation concerning a mandatory training system, aimed at guaranteeing the quality of these professional services. Under (...)

The US DoJ announces that three Northern California real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in conspiracies to rig bids (Silva / Bishop / Gee)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Even Individual Real-Estate Investors Can Violate The Antitrust Laws* When you think about a government antitrust investigation, you probably picture monopoly accusations against large companies like Microsoft in the 90’s and early 2000’s or AT&T in the 70’s and 80’s. Or perhaps you imagine a (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines airport incumbent and eleven car rental companies over €3.1 M for exchanging sensitive commercial information (Servicios comerciales AENA)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On 2 January 2014 the recently created National Markets and Competition Commission (“CNMC”) imposed a fine of over €3.1 million on AENA, AENA Aeropuertos and eleven car rental companies for colluding over certain car rental contractual conditions as well as exchanging sensitive commercial (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal dismisses the appeals in the consumer detergents sector rejecting the claim that the Competition Authority sanction violated the prohibition on double jeopardy (Unilever, Henkel, Procter & Gamble and Colgate Palmolive)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
On 30 January 2014, the Paris Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) dismissed the appeals brought against the decision of the French Competition Authority (FCA) in the consumer detergents sector, by confirming that the infringements sanctioned by the European Commission (Commission) and the FCA (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Yaroslavl Regional Arbitration Court upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority having imposed a fine on a heat energy provider for abuse of dominance (Yaroslavl GK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court took the side of Yaroslavl OFAS Russia in a dispute with “Yaroslavl Generating Company”* Yaroslavl Regional Arbitration Court confirmed legitimacy of over 563,400 RUB fine imposed by the Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the Yaroslavl Region (Yaroslavl OFAS Russia) (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings on the suspicion of abuse of dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceedings initiated against Deutsche Bahn AG Suspicion of restricting competition in ticket sales* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG on the suspicion that it has abused its dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets. Andreas Mundt, (...)

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina quashes the no-infringement decision of the Competition Authority based on the concept of “single economic entity” (Elektrokontakt)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 25 February 2011 the Competition Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina (KV) closed its investigation into the alleged abuse of dominant position on the part of the dominant electricity distributor JP Elektroprivreda BiH d.d. and its 100% affiliate Eldis-tehnika d.o.o. The KV’s investigation (...)

The High Court of England rules on the relevance of commercial gain for establishing an abuse of dominance on the market for airport to city centre bus route (Arriva The Shires / London Luton Airport Operations)
Blackstone Chambers
Abuse of dominance: no commercial gain, no abuse?* Is it necessary for there to be some commercial benefit to be gained by a dominant undertaking from its conduct before that conduct can be condemned as abusive? No, says Mrs Justice Rose in Arriva the Shires Ltd v London Luton Airport (...)

The Slovenian Supreme Court uphold the decision of the Competition Authority finding that a company abused its dominance on the market for collective management of copyrights (SAZAS)
Fatur Law Firm (Ljubljana)
Introduction In SAZAS case, the Slovenian Competition Protection Office (hereinafter referred to as the CPO) adopted a partial decision in April 2011 (Case 306-35/2009-108), finding that Združenje skladateljev, avtorjev in založnikov za zaščito avtorskih pravic Slovenije (hereinafter referred to (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority delivering a warning against a pharmaceutical company refusing to deal with a medical service provider (Baxter)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court supported FAS Russia: “Baxter” should have listened to warning* On 27th January 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court confirmed legitimacy of the warning issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) to “Baxter” CJSC due to signs of violating the antimonopoly law (Clause 5 (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority seeks to fine an undertaking after it was found to abuse its dominant position in a successful private antitrust action (Swedavia)
Vinge (Stockholm)
Follow-on damages inverted* Swedavia and the Swedish Competition Authority Competition lawyers in Europe are well acquainted with the steady rise of follow-on damages actions, whereby consumers harmed by a competition infringement can “piggyback” on an authority infringement decision and seek (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council fines two retailers for imposing unfair conditions on their food and drinks suppliers (Norfos mazmena / Rivona)
Sorainen (Vilnius)
On January 24 2014 Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (LCC) fined two retailers - Norfos Mažmena, UAB Norfa, UAB (Norfa) and Rivona, UAB (Rivona) – for establishing provisions in their wholesale and purchase agreements which failed to comply with the requirements of the Law on the (...)

The Dutch Supreme Court finds that a decision of an association of real estate agents to make compulsory the use by its members of the association’s information sharing system infringes Article 6(1) of the Dutch competition Act (NVM )
European Commission - DG HR
NVM is an association of real estate agents which accounted in 2005 about 80% of registered real estate agents in the Netherlands. NVM had developed an information sharing system (a first version was named “Masterplan 2000”, followed by a second version named “TIARA”), containing office automation (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority investigates the alleged predatory pricing of mobile telecommunications services by the incumbent operator (Moldtelecom)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 June 2011 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) received a complaint lodged by the mobile telecom company IM Moldcell SA alleging the existence of an abuse of dominant position on the mobile telecommunications market on the part of the incumbent telecom operator Moldtelecom SA. The (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council imposes fines for abusive practices in the food and drinks retail sector concerning return of goods (MAXIMA)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition council imposes a fine of 40 000 LTL on Maxima LT, UAB* On January 22, having established that the provisions set forth in MAXIMA LT, UAB (MAXIMA) supply agreements fail to comply with the requirements of the Law on the Prohibition of Unfair Practices of Retailers of the Republic (...)

The Federal Arbitration Court of the North-Caucasian District upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority sanctioning an electricity provider for abuse of dominance (Donenergosbyt)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The Court confirmed the rightness of FAS position with regard to an energy supplier* On 21st January 2014, the Federal Arbitration Court of the North-Caucasian District supported the position of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) with regard to “Donenergosbyt” Ltd. The Antimonopoly (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a postal service provider in margin squeeze case (Correos)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia fines Correos in Margin Squeeze Case* On 21 January 2014, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) imposed a fine of € 8 170 000 on the postal service provider Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos S.A. (Correos) (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority finding that undertaking created discriminatory conditions for its suppliers of fish (Metro Cash & Carry)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The 9th Arbitration Appeal Court: “METRO Cash & Carry” created discriminatory conditions for fish suppliers* On 20th January 2014, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court reversed the ruling of Moscow Arbitration Court to allow the claim of “METRY Cash & Carry” Ltd. on challenging the decision (...)

The Russian Competition Authority welcomes the acceptance of a rail company to implement the warning aiming to abolish restrictions for sales of tickets (FPK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“FPK” OJSC executed a FAS warning* On 17th January 2014, “FPK” OJSC informed the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) about executing a warning to stop actions that had signs of violating the antimonopoly law. The company began selling tickets for No. 132U “Moscow – Orsk” train from the (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines an ex-state-owned oil refinery for abusing its dominant position by charging excessive prices and imposing unfair trading conditions (Tüpraş)
University of Sussex
This study analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that the ex-state-owned oil refinery, TUPRAS, abused its dominant position by charging excessive prices contrary to its tariffs for a period of three months and by imposing unfair trading (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines sole oil refiner for abusing its dominance by pricing and contractual practices (Tüpraş)
Turkish Competition Authority
Turkey’s “largest industrial enterprise” Tüpras hit with record fine for abuse of dominance* According to Turkish Competition Authority’s (TCA) press release (English version will be added as published) the Turkish Petroleum Rafineries Co. (Tüpraş), the largest enterprise in Turkey was fined by the (...)

The Albanian Competition Authority asks to telecoms regulatory body and mobile operator for market adjustment without imposing fine and requiring commitments in a case of alleged abuse of dominance in the mobile telephony market (Vodafone Albania)
Albanian Competition Authority
Market playing rules can be compared to those of a soccer match in the sense that every wrong interference from a player worries the opponent but the foul punishment depends on the referee (in the case of competition the Antitrust body). The referee can decide whether not to punish at all, give (...)

The Russian Competition Authority publishes the outcome of inspections of compliance with the antimonopoly law on the markets of construction materials
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The outcome of inspections of compliance with the antimonopoly law on the markets of construction materials* Under Clause 6 of the Action Plan for preventing and suppressing monopolistic activity and unfair competition of economic entities in housing construction and production of construction (...)

The Latvian Competition Council fines sole operator of the public transportation database for delaying market entry for competing ticket cash registers (Transporta telemātikas sistēmas)
Competition Council of Latvia
The Competition Council fines operator of the national database of public transportation for abusing its dominant position* In the late 2013, the Competition Council (CC) of the Republic of Latvia took a decision to fine SIA „Transporta telemātikas sistēmas”, the operator of the national database (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority announces the entry into effect of the competition provisions applicable on grocery retailers
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Competition Act provision on grocery trade became effective on 1st of January* The prohibition in the Competition Act of abuse of dominant market position can, in accordance with the new paragraph 4a of the Act, be applied on companies whose national market share in the groceries retail (...)

Mergers

The Lithuanian Competition Council closes merger investigation pursuant to the divesture of acquired shares by the cosmetics supplier (Fragrances International)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition council terminates investigation on the actions of Fragrances International* On January 30, the Competition Council (the Council) terminated the investigation on the actions of UAB Fragrances International (Fragrances International) whereby the latter had acquired 49 per cent of (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition receives notification of a proposed concentration on the market for manufacturing of various vehicles (Textron)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Notification concerning the acquisition of Beech Holdings LLC by Textron Inc.* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition received, according to Section 13 of the Control of Concentrations between Enterprises Law (Number 22(I)/99), a notification of a proposed (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission does not oppose proposed acquisition on the market for manufacture and supply of roll formed products (BlueScope Steel / Fielders)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC to not oppose BlueScope Steel’s proposed acquisition of Fielders Australia* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed acquisition by BlueScope Steel Ltd of Fielders Australia. BlueScope, through its subsidiary Lysaght, competes with Fielders in the (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court considers that the examination of a merger case excludes the parallel examination of antitrust issues (MPV/PGV)
Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
Introduction The MPV/PGV decision discussed here concerns the (merger) notification of a logistic joint venture between two Austrian press wholesalers. Unlike the European Merger Regulation 139/2004, the Austrian Cartel Act does not foresee an appraisal of a transaction under anti-trust (...)

The Supreme Arbitration Court of Moscow upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority refusing to approve a merger on the markets of electric power industry (Gazprombank / Moesk)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation pronounced legitimacy of a refusal to satisfy a transaction by “Gazprombank” OJSC* On 24th January 2014, the Supreme Arbitration Court (VAC) of the Russian Federation dismissed a claim of “Gazprombank” OJSC to transfer a case to the Presidium (...)

The United States District Court for the District of Idaho orders to unwind a hospital/physician group merger (St. Luke’s Health System / Saltzer Medical)
Paul Hastings (Washington)
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Paul Hastings (San Francisco)
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Paul Hastings (Los Angeles)
On January 24, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho ordered St. Luke’s Health System to unwind a merger with the Saltzer Medical Group. The outcome represented a significant victory for the various parties, including the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the State (...)

A US District Court orders the largest care system in Idaho to divest independent multi-specialty physician practice (St. Luke’s Health System / Saltzer Medical)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Combination of Idaho’s Largest Health System and Largest Physician Practice Must Be Unwound* Within the span of about two weeks, each of the federal antitrust agencies has been handed a major win in their merger enforcement efforts. Last Friday, it was the Federal Trade Commission’s turn. The (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission clears proposed acquisition on the market for production and supply of magazines (Bauer Media)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Bauer given clearance to acquire magazine titles* The Commerce Commission has cleared Bauer Media Group (NZ) LP (Bauer) to acquire all of the assets used by APN Specialist Publications NZ Limited (APNSP) in the publication of the New (...)

The French Competition Authority clears an acquisition of sole control in the telecommunications sector (SFR / Numéricable)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Numéricâble by Altice, its minority shareholder* The Autorité de la concurrence has cleared the acquisition of the Numéricâble group, a cable network (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice decides that turnover from goods delivered to a production facility in Germany constitutes domestic turnover, even if the actual decision to buy these goods was taken by a central purchasing organisation outside Germany (KVR)
Jones Day (Brussels)
In its Viscose fibres judgement, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice (BGH)) held that turnover from goods delivered to a production facility in Germany constitutes domestic turnover, even if the actual decision to buy these goods was taken by the central purchasing organisation of a (...)

The Polish Competition Authority conditionally clears an acquisition in the grocery market (Auchan/Real)
Deloitte (Paris)
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Deloitte (Paris)
In January 2014, the Polish Competition Authority (UOKiK) conditionally approved the proposed acquisition of 57 Real hypermarkets in Poland by Auchan Polska, an operator of 27 hypermarkets and 31 supermarkets in Poland. The acquisition is conditional on the sale of eight of the Real (...)

The French Competition Authority requests consultation in relation to commitments proposed for a notified acquisition in the TV-broadcasting sector (Canal Plus / D8 and D17 TV Channels)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Canal Plus has just renotified the acquisition of D8 and D17 TV channels. The Autorité de la concurrence has decided to seek sector-specific regulators’ and market players’ views on the new draft commitments* (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority approves merger between two significant players in the national meat sector (Atria / Saarioinen)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Corporate deal by Atria and Saarioinen approved by Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority* According to the assessment by the FCCA the acquisition does not have the kind of significant negative impact on competition as defined by the Competition Act On 21 January 2014 the Finnish (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission opposes the proposed acquisition in the radiology industry (Delta Imaging / Sonic Health)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC to oppose Sonic’s acquisition of the assets of Delta Imaging Group* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced it will oppose the proposed acquisition by Sonic Healthcare Limited (Sonic) of assets of Delta Imaging Pty Limited (in liquidation), Delta Imaging Maitland (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM conditionally approves an acquisition in the biotechnology sector (Thermo Fisher / Life Technologies)
First Principles Economics (FPE)
On Tuesday 14th January 2014 MOFCOM conditionally cleared the acquisition of Life Technologies Corporation (“Life Technologies”) by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (“Thermo Fisher”). The review process took 6 months from initial notification, which is relatively quick for an intervention decision by (...)

A US District Court finds evidence that the merging parties expected the transaction to have anticompetitive effects (Bazaarvoice / PowerReviews)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Another Example of Why You Should Follow the “New York Times” Rule — the Bazaarvoice Decision* Have you heard of the New York Times rule? The rule is: don’t write something down in a business communication unless you’re comfortable with its text appearing in the New York Times. If everyone followed (...)

A US District Court rules against non-reported acquisition in the market for product ratings and reviews platforms (Bazaarvoice / PowerReviews)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Combination of online consumer review platforms Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews found to violate Clayton Act* Last week, the federal district court in San Francisco ruled that Bazaarvoice Inc.’s June 2012 acquisition of PowerReviews Inc. violated Sec. 7 of the Clayton Act. In a “necessarily lengthy (...)

The EU Commission prohibits a merger considering that efficiencies arguments were not enough verifiable (UPS / TNT Express)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 May 2014, the European Commission published a summary version of its 30 January 2013 decision prohibiting the acquisition of package delivery service TNT Express by rival United Parcel Service (UPS) (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2013, No. 1). The Commission had prohibited the deal (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission finds the compensation of school bus and tram transport in the Land Rhineland-Palatinat to be compatible with the internal market (Landesbetrieb Mobilität Rheinland-Pfalz)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Price Discounts and Compensation for Public Service Obligations: A Case of Questionable Need for Aid* Main points SGEI can be defined and public service obligations can be imposed only when the market underprovides. The parameters of compensation must be determined in advance. Public service (...)

The European Commission decides that the compensation for the operation of the two additional routes linking Sardinia to the mainland and the recapitalisation measure constituted illegal state aid and orders recovery (Saremar)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog The Importance of Precise Definition of Public Service Obligations* Main points The imposition of a public service obligation must be preceded by market analysis that shows that the market underprovides. For compensation of public service (...)

The EU Commission publishes decision concerning a parafiscal levy intended to fund supposedly public service obligations assigned to French horse racing companies
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Services of General Economic Interest and Horse Racing* Introduction Public authorities often argue that the activities they support are important and that they should be considered as services of general economic interest. However, in many cases (...)

The AG Wathelet of the CJEU finds that the effectiveness of state aid rules would be significantly impaired if Member States could use protection of brand image as an economic rationality argument (SNCM)
European Procurement Law Group
"National brands" and State aid: AG Wathelet on investing in "State branding" (C-533 & 536/12)* In his Opinion of 15 January 2014 in joined cases C-533/12 P and C-536/12 P SNCM v Corsica Ferries France, Advocate General Wathelet has addressed an interesting (and creative) argument (...)

Procedures

The Latvian Competition Council launches inquiry into supply of information systems to public authorities
European Commission (Brussels)
Latvia: The Competition Council launches Inquiry into Supply of Information Systems to Public Authorities* In February 2014, the Competition Council (CC) started an inquiry into the supply of information systems to public authorities. The CC intends to examine whether competition restrictions (...)

The Western Australian government signs with COMESA a cooperation agreement in the fields of mineral and petroleum resources comprising six thematic areas among which the competition enforcement is not even mentioned
Primerio
COMESA and W. Australia now economically linked via MoU* The Western Australian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with COMESA. Colin Barnett signed the papers yesterday, January 31, 2014. COMESA dutifully posted a news release on its web site, albeit misspelling the W. (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court rules that unlawful conduct occurs when it gives rise to a civil cause of action by a third party (A.I. Enterprises / Bram Enterprise)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
“Intentional interference with economic relations” now called “unlawful means tort” – Supreme Court of Canada clarifies test for tort* The tort of unlawful interference with economic relations has also been referred to as “interference with a trade or business by unlawful means”, “intentional (...)

The Florence Tribunal rules out the abusive nature of a lease agreement provision (Il Giaggiolo)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
On 27 January 2014, the Florence Tribunal rejected the appeal that Il Giaggiolo S.r.l. (“Giaggiolo”) brought against a payment order that the Tribunal issued against Giaggiolo, thereby enforcing a clause of a lease agreement that the appellant claimed to be null and void for an alleged breach of (...)

A US District Court dismisses an antitrust class action against two pharma producers regarding an agreement to postpone the production of a generic epilepsy and bipolar disorder drug because no reverse payment with cash was involved to keep the rival off the market (GSK / Teva)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. District Court holds that Actavis requires monetary payments for antitrust scrutiny to be applicable* On January 24, 2014 U.S. District Judge William H. Walls dismissed an antitrust class action against GlaxoSmithKline LLC (“GSK”) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (“Teva”) regarding (...)

The French Competition Authority launches an investigation into certification and standardisation processes in order to identify any adverse effects on competition
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
On 21 January 2014, the French Competition Authority (FCA) launched, on its own initiative, an investigation into certification and standardisation processes. It is an interesting step justified, according to the FCA, by the growth of these processes in recent years. The FCA already has a (...)

The Italian Supreme Court confirms that Administrative Courts cannot themselves rule on technical concepts within the competence of the Competition Authority (Acea / Suez Environment)
Simmons & Simmons (Milano)
On 20 January 2014 the Italian Supreme Court handed down a significant judgment on the scope of the judicial review of decisions taken by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA), considering issues addressed in the ECHR judgment in Menarini Diagnostic s.r.l./Italia, 27 September, 2011, appeal (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority submits to public consultation the Regulation Project on Fines to apply in cases of violations of the Act on the Protection of Competition
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
Article 16 entitled “Administrative Fine” of the Act on the Protection of Competition No. 4054 (“Competition Act”) regulates fines for undertakings, associations of undertakings and employees and/or administrators of such undertakings or associations of undertakings, who engage in anti-competitive (...)

The US Supreme Court reviews a decision of a District Court in order to determine a party’s standing to maintain an action under Federal Trademark Law (Lexmark International / Static Control Components)
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Washington D.C.)
Supreme Court to Decide Requirements for Standing under Lanham Act* In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will decide a case involving the proper framework for determining standing to maintain an action for false advertising under the Lanham Act. The case, Lexmark International, Inc. v. (...)

The Canadian Superior Court allows the enforcement of the letters rogatory issued by a US District Court to obtain evidence as regards an allegation of price-fixing of foam (Neuwirth / DeCosta)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Criminal Investigations and Cross Border Litigation Not A Bar to US Depositions* The Superior Court of Ontario recently granted an application for the enforcement of letters rogatory to take evidence of, and compel the production of documents by, two non- party Ontario residents in a (...)

The New York State Office of AG Schneiderman announces a groundbreaking settlement with a patent assertion entity (MPHJ Technology Investments)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
New York Attorney General reaches agreement with “Patent Trolls” to bar deceptive practices* The prosecutor’s office announced that the New York attorney general (“NY AG”) Eric Schneiderman has reached an agreement with MPHJ Technology Investments LLC (“MPHJ”), a so-called patent troll, to stop (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that a state attorney general asserting state law claims for injuries incurred by its citizens is not required to be removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
High Court Rejects Removal of Mississippi Antitrust Suit as Mass Action under Class Action Fairness Act* A price fixing action filed by the State of Mississippi as the sole named plaintiff was not a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), even though the state sought (...)

The Stockholm City Court rules that the prohibition against double jeopardy does not bar subsequent administrative proceedings in a case of abuse of dominance where previous civil proceedings led to an injunction order under penalty of a fine (Swedavia)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
Admissibility of an action for imposing a competition fine brought after the Market Court ordered injunction under penalty of a fine in related civil proceedings. Exploitative abuse of dominance. Ne bis in idem Background Swedavia is a state-owned company in charge with the administration of (...)

The Stockholm City Court rejects petition for dismissing an application for competition damages subsequent to the issue of an injunction order giving rise to a liability to pay penalties in case of non-compliance (Swedavia)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The City Court rules that there are no formal obstacles to charging Swedavia for competition damages* The Swedish Competition Authority may bring an action before the court to sue for competition damages even where the behaviour that forms the basis of the claim has already been forbidden by (...)

Regulatory

The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition proposes amendments to national legislation regulating provision of ambulatory medical care
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission on Protection of Competition proposes Amendments to National Legislation regulating Provision of Ambulatory Medical Care* The Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) considers that the ban on departmental hospitals to provide ambulatory medical care financed (...)

The South African Competition Commission launches its first-ever market inquiry into the private healthcare sector
Primerio
The Commission Doth Protest Too Much?* The defensive justification for the Commission’s healthcare inquiry by its acting chief has widely caused eyebrows to be raised… As reported, the South African Competition Commission (“Commission”) has launched its first-ever market inquiry into the South (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the functioning of the sector for the distribution of bulk propane to households’ tanks
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. With a view to benefitting consumers, the Autorité de la concurrence has issued several recommendations aimed at opening up the sector for the distribution of bulk propane to households’ tanks.* It has in (...)

Public sector

The Swedish Competition Authority appeals decision of the Administrative Court in a case of direct award of cleaning services (SJ)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority appeals decision in favour of SJ* In a decision by the Administrative Court in Stockholm, the Court has declared that SJ (Swedish State Railways) could be a contracting entity subject to LUF (National Act on Procurement within the Water, Energy, Transport and (...)

The CJEU AG Mengozzi supports an extension of the "in-house" public procurement exception beyond its current boundaries (Datenlotsen Informationssysteme)
European Procurement Law Group
AG Mengozzi on extension of "in-house" to "public house" procurement exception (C-15/13)* In his Opinion of 23 January 2014 in case C-15/13 Datenlotsen Informationssysteme (not available in English), Advocate General Mengozzi advocated for an extension of the "in-house" public procurement (...)

The EU Parliament makes available the provisional text of the new public procurement directives and consolidates the principle of competition therewith
European Procurement Law Group
Principle of competition finally consolidated into public procurement directives* The provisional text of the new public procurement Directives has been made available by the European Parliament. In the final version of 15 of January, the principle of competition is finally consolidated in (...)

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