July 2009

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority fines major fuel suppliers for resale price maintenance and accepts commitments relating to long-term contracts and non-compete clauses (Repsol / CEPSA / BP)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 30 July 2009, the Spanish Competition Authority imposed fines totalling € 7.9 million on REPSOL, CEPSA and BP (the three main suppliers of fuel in Spain) for violating the competition rules by engaging in resale price maintenance in their relations with (...)

The European Commission publishes for consultation drafts of the vertical agreements block exemption regulation and vertical guidelines
Van Bael & Bellis
On 28 July 2009, the European Commission published for consultation a draft of the proposed new Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (VABER) and its accompanying draft Vertical Guidelines. Interested parties are invited to submit comments on these documents by 28 September 2009. The (...)

The UK High Court of Justice rules collective and exclusive sports rights permissible in Art. 81/101 EC case (BAGS / AMRAC, “Turf TV”)
Oxera
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Oxera
In Bookmakers’ Afternoon Greyhound Services Ltd v Amalgamated Racing Ltd (2008)(BAGS v AMRAC), the UK High Court dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct by a new sports broadcaster part-owned by racecourses. BAGS v AMRAC is one of the significant private actions in recent years (...)

The UK Court of Appeal upholds a judgment that a co-operative JV between certain racecourse owners for the supply of images, sound and data to licensed betting offices in respect of horse races held at their racecourses does not infringe Art. 81 EC (Bookmakers’ Afternoon Greyhound Services / Amalgamated Racing)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The Court of Appeal of England & Wales has upheld a High Court judgment that a co-operative joint venture between certain racecourse owners for the supply of images, sound and data to licensed betting offices in the United Kingdom in respect of horse races held at their racecourses is not (...)

A US Court of Appeals finds that the tying arrangement consisting in sales of real estate property didn’t affect a substantial amount of commerce in the market for the real estate services identified as the tied product (Blough / Holland Realty)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Ninth Circuit Finds That New Home Buyer Plaintiffs Fail To Satisfy Per Se Tying Element That Amount Of Commerce Not Be “Insubstantial”"Zero Foreclosure” Is Less Than “De Minimus.”* Buyers of newly constructed homes in the Boise, Idaho, area filed a federal antitrust class action, alleging that (...)

A Portuguese self-regulation body for advertising suspends triple-play campaign due to misleading claim of optical fibre connections (PT Comunicações / ZON TV CABO)
University of Lisbon
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Abreu Advogados
On 27 July 2009 ICAP - Instituto Civil da Autodisciplina da Comunicação Comercial (Civil Institute for Self-Discipline in Commercial Communication) ordered the suspension of the advertising campaign carried out by leading pay-TV operator in Portugal ZON TV CABO following a complaint by PT (...)

The High Court of Ireland holds trade association in contempt of court for price fixing (Competition Authority/Licensed Vintners Association & Ors)
The HR Suite
Introduction In a decision of the 24th July 2009, Mr. Justice McKechnie found the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) had breached the terms of settlement agreed with the Competition Authority. The case arose out of complaint from the Competition (...)

The European Commission publishes communication identifying current plans for future legal framework to be applied to motor vehicle industry
Van Bael & Bellis
On 22 July 2009, the European Commission published for consultation a Communication and accompanying Impact Assessment Report setting out its views on the future competition law framework for the motor vehicle sector. The current Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER) expires on 31 (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina holds that State subsidies to the wood-processing industry does not represent an anti-competitive agreement (The Union of Independent Enterpreneurs Olovo)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On the basis of its grants program for stimulation of production and restructuring of the industry and mining sectors the Government of the Federation Bosnia & Herzegovina acted as co-investor in the establishment of the wood-processing joint venture “IP Krivaja 1884”, which incorporated IP (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court confirms a decision of the Cartel Court whereby a waste disposal system for whiteware home appliances - run by an independent undertaking - which obliges contractual collectors - independent third parties - to collect waste from retailers for a maximum price of € 7 does not infringe cartel law (UFH-System)
Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
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Bpv Hügel (Brussels)
Case UFH System created a waste disposal system for retailers with regard to whiteware / home appliances. Participating retailers could decide whether to use the system or not (i.e., no exclusivity was required), conditions were to be negotiated directly between retailer and collector. (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court confirms a decision of the Cartel Court whereby cross-boarder RPM between a German publisher and an Austrian press distributor infringes Art 81.1 EU therefore preventing the exception provided in national legislation - excluding ban of RPM in the book / magazine sector - to apply (Burda / Pressegroßvertrieb)
Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
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Bpv Hügel (Brussels)
Case In 2004, Burda Publishing Group, Germany signed Pressegroßvertrieb as the exclusive Austrian distributor to retailers concerning Burda’s magazines. With a market share of 35%, Pressegroßvertrieb is only one of two competitors which provide distribution services including services such as (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts a proceedings against multilateral interchange fee setting in the card payment systems sector (MasterCard)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
On the 15th July 2009, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, the Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter, ICA), decided to initiate an antitrust proceedings against MasterCard Group and eight of the main banks and financial institutions licensed by MasterCard Group for (...)

The Dusseldorf Court of Appeal may not rule on the appeals against the NCA’s decision having fined € 150 M industrial property insurance undertakings, following withdrawal of appeals by three industrial insurers ("Pilot proceedings " - HDI, AXA Versi)
Mutze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft
Background All parties involved in the so called “pilot proceeding” before the Dusseldorf Court of Appeal started in March 2009 (HDI Haftpflichtverband der Deutschen Industrie V.a.G., AXA Versicherung AG and Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG) have withdrawn their appeals against the FCO’s (...)

The German Competition Authority adopts decision on exclusive distribution and non-compete clauses for chemical products (Merck, VWR International)
Van Bael & Bellis
In a recently published decision of 14 July 2009, the German Competition Authority found that an agreement between Merck and VWR International Europe (“VWR”) for the distribution of chemical products used by laboratories was contrary to Article 81 EC and the equivalent provision of German law. (...)

The German Competition Authority adopts decision on exclusive distribution and non-compete clauses for chemical products (Merck, VWR International)
Van Bael & Bellis
In a recently published decision of 14 July 2009, the German Competition Authority found that an agreement between Merck and VWR International Europe (“VWR”) for the distribution of chemical products used by laboratories was contrary to Article 81 EC and the equivalent provision of German law. (...)

The European Court of Justice substantially reduces fine imposed in 2001 on a chemical company for its participation in a cartel on the citric acid market (Archer Daniels Midland)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 July 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) partially upheld an appeal brought by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) against a judgment of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of 27 September 2006. As a result, the € 39 million fine that the Commission had imposed on ADM in 2001 for its (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority fines cartel member through new injunction procedure for the first time (Rundvirke Poles)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 July 2009, the Swedish Competition Authority (the SCA) imposed a fine of SEK 2 million (around € 181,000) on Rundvirke Poles AB, a telephone pylon manufacturer, for price-fixing and market sharing with its competitor, ScanPole Sverige AB, in relation to the procurement of overhead (...)

The European Commission imposes heavy fine on two European gas companies for operating a market-sharing agreement (E.ON, E.ON Ruhrgas, GDF Suez)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission imposes heavy fine on two major European gas companies for operating a market-sharing agreement"* I. Introduction On 8 July 2009, the Commission imposed fines totalling € 1.106 billion on E.ON AG and its subsidiary E.ON Ruhrgas AG (Germany) and GDF Suez SA (France) for (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority renews the decision against milling cartel imposing fines of around 9 million euros (Cerealis - Milling cartel)
Sérvulo & Associados
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Serra Lopes Cortes Martins & Associados
Last July 8th 2009, the Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência - “AdC” or “PCA”) has issued a new decision imposing fines of around 9 million euros on 11 flour-milling undertakings for coordinating prices, to the detriment of consumers, for breach of Article 4 (1) a) of the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority insists on adopting a new decision about a price cartel case in which its previous ruling was annulled by Courts (Cerealis / Milling cartel)
Luís Silva Morais & Associados
In the beginning of July 2009, the Portuguese Competition Authority (hereinafter, ’ADC’) has adopted a decision imposing significant fines to a group of eleven undertakings active in the market of bread making and milling (this being a very sensitive market since its functioning determines the (...)

The French Competition Authority issues opinion on exclusivity agreements between pay TV operators and Internet service providers
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 July 2009, following a request of the French Minister of Economy, the French Competition Authority issued an opinion concerning exclusivity agreements between pay TV operators and Internet service providers. Among the various issues raised, the Minister referred to the so-called «double (...)

The French Supreme Court recalls the conditions for the demonstration of collective dominance (Lafarge Ciments / Vicat)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
On 9 July 2009, the French Supreme Court (the "Supreme Court") partially quashed a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal ruling that two cement operators (Lafarge and Vicat) had abused their collective dominant position on the market for the supply and distribution of cement in Corsica. This (...)

The US DoJ files amicus brief on reverse payment settlements on the market for broad spectrum antimicrobial medicines (Arkansas Carpenters Health/Bayer, Hoechst, Watson)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. DOJ files amicus brief on reverse payment settlements* On 6 July 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in a reverse payment settlement case on appeal before the 2nd Circuit (In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation). The filing is in response of an (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigations against a cartel of lawyers’ association for the first time after decreto Bersani (Ordine degli avvocati di Brescia)
Codacons
The Italian competition Authority (ICA) starts investigation about a cartel agreed by Consiglio dell’Ordine di Brescia to obstacle the activity of a new established law firm in Milan called A.L.T.(Assistenza Legale per Tutti). In 1997 The ICA was willing to introduce reform to create a (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes € 39.69 M fine on mortar manufacturers for price fixing (Maxit Deutschland, Knauf Gips, Knauf Marmorit)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 3 July 2009, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) imposed a fine of a total of € 39.69 million for price-fixing on nine companies and executives active on the market for the manufacture of mortar, namely maxit Deutschland GmbH, Knauf Gips KG, Knauf Marmorit (...)

An Irish jury acquits the directors of three waste disposal companies of breaching competition law by jointly tendering for the provision of local waste disposal services (DPP v. Hughes, Bourke, McGrath & Gleeson)
London School of Economics
The charges On 3 July 2009 the directors of three waste disposal companies and a former local government official, who were appearing before the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway, were acquitted by a jury of charges of breach of competition law. The four directors concerned were charged (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Munich decides that the prohibition to resell products on internet auction platforms is exempted under the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (Amer Sports)
Gleiss Lutz (Frankfurt)
On 2 July 2009, the Higher Regional Court of Munich confirmed a judgement of the Regional Court of Munich. The question at stake was whether the defendant was allowed to prohibit the sale of its products via internet auction platforms through its general terms and conditions. Facts The (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority releases a termination decision removing suspicions of competition law infringements consisting in cross-subsidizing and abuse of collective dominance by a press group concerning a free daily newspaper (Nicolas / L’Essentiel)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
The Luxembourg Competition Council has released a termination decision on 2 July 2009 (Décision n° 2009-FO-01) removing suspicions of competition law infringements by the Groupe de Presse Nicolas. Generally speaking, the case is interesting in the sense it shows how market players active in the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority acquits three telecom operators of alleged anticompetitive practices consisting in parallel increasing mobile phone rates (Teléfonos Móviles - Telefónica, Vodafone, France Telecom )
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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Allianz (Brussels)
On 2 July 2009, the Council of the Spanish Competition Authority (Consejo de la Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, hereinafter the “Council of the CNC”) concluded that the increase of the mobile phone rates implemented in parallel by Telefónica Móviles España, S.A.U. ("Telefonica"), Vodafone (...)

The European Court of First Instance dismisses action against Commission’s re-adopted decision relating to the steel alloy surcharge cartel (ThyssenKrupp Stainless)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 July 2009, the Court of First Instance (CFI) dismissed in its entirety an action by ThyssenKrupp Stainless AG (formerly Krupp Nirosta GmbH) against the European Commission’s re-adopted decision in the alloy surcharge antitrust proceeding. ThyssenKrupp had appealed against the re-adoption (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes € 1.2 M fine on several pharmacy associations for collective boycott in Germany (Gehe)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has imposed a € 1.2 million fine on several German pharmacy associations for calling on pharmacists to boycott the pharma wholesaler Gehe after Gehe’s parent company Celesio acquired the internet pharmacy Doc Morris in April 2007. The German pharmacy (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority rejects request for interim measures in pharmaceutical sector (Ratiopharm, Janssen-Cilag France)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
In a decision of 31 July 2009, which was made public on 7 September 2009, the French Competition Authority rejected German generic pharmaceutical company Ratiopharm‘s request for interim measures against Janssen-Cilag France (“Janssen”), the maker of Durogesic. The move follows a complaint lodged (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority applies economic value test in assessment of the alleged exploitative abuse of dominance committed by the bus terminal administration (Avtobusni prevoziw)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
In 2007 bus operator Planeta Trans o.o.d. (Planeta Trans) complained to the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) that Avtobusni prevozi a.d. (Avtobusni prevozi), a bus terminal administration in the city of Pleven abused its dominant position by imposing unfair prices and trading conditions on (...)

The French Competition Authority holds again that the main telecom operator had exploited its dominant position (France Télécom)
Vogel & Vogel
The companies Outremer and Moebius had accused France Télécom of having abusively exploited its dominant position resulting from its former legal monopoly in order to slow down the development of alternative operators on the landline and Internet access markets in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines the Spanish copyright collecting society for abusive practices (AIE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 23 July 2009, the Spanish Competition Authority fined AIE, the Spanish collecting society for music artists, for abusive practices in the period since 1995, in breach of Article 82 EC and the equivalent Spanish provision. The decision followed from a complaint by Telecinco, a Spanish (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority establishes dominance of the three domestic airlines on the regulated routes (Air Moldova, Moldavian Airlines, Tandem Aero)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
Moldovan Competition Authority (Agenţia Naţională pentru Protecţia Concurenţei) (ANPC) in a press release informed the public about the establishing of dominance of three domestic airlines Air Moldova , Moldavian Airlines and Tandem Aero on the regulated routes operated by these companies on the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority is investigating the sale of television rights for soccer matches ("Lega Calcio" - Procedure selettive lega nazionale professionisti campionati)
University of Turin
Since July 22, 2009 the Italian Competition Authority is investigating the sale of lucrative television rights to soccer matches in the country’s top league, Lega Calcio, because it suspects such rights have been packaged to benefit incumbent pay-TV operators and not viewers (Case n° A/418 of (...)

The European Court of Justice dismisses an appeal against the European Court of First Instance’s judgment in a case of abuse of a dominant position in the market for collecting and processing packaging waste (’Green Dot’ case)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 16 July 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its judgment in the appeal of Duales System Deutschland (DSD) against a 2007 judgment of the Court of First Instance (CFI), which had upheld a Commission decision finding that the German recycling company’s licensing scheme for its (...)

The UK Competition Commission releases results of its investigation on supermarkets and quantifies consumer welfare (Groceries market investigation)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
In its provisional report of July 16, 2009, the Competition Commission (CC) has attempted to demonstrate to which extent a “cap in growth” of supermarkets in highly concentrated areas is beneficial to consumers. In its previous report 30 April 2008, the CC recommended that the expansion of (...)

The Polish Supreme Court requests preliminary ruling from the EU Court of Justice on the interpretation of Article 5 of Regulation 1/2003 (Tele2 Polska)
European University Institute (Florence)
The parallel application of European and national competition rules by the President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) in the proceedings concerning allegedly anticompetitive conduct of Telekomunikacja Polska and the question about the limitations to national (...)

The Polish Supreme Court decides on the validity of the refusal of the gas network access (Bartimpex)
Wiercinski Kwiecinski Baehr (Poznan)
The recent verdict to the Polish Supreme Court seems to put to an end a very old dispute over the refusal to grant access to the Polish gas transmission system. It also deserves attention as it discusses the nature of the anticompetitive practices that amount to “refusal to sale”. Facts of the (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court does not automatically equate cartel law infringements with unfair competition law infringements (Law firm software)
Salzburg University
On 14 July, 2009, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that cartel law infringements do not automatically qualify as unfair commercial practices under the Austrian Act against Unfair Competition. Background The plaintiff, a small-sized Austrian law firm software provider, brought an action for an (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court dismisses the charges of abuse of dominance launched against domestic tobacco producer (Iosini)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
Iosini Ltd, an undertaking based in Stara Zagora, was distributor of the leading domestic tobacco manufacturer Bulgartabac. It distributed Bulgartabac’s products both on wholesale level selling to other distributors and on retail level through a network of its own retail locations. Bulgartabac (...)

The French Supreme Court clarifies the standard of proof applicable to collective dominance pursuant to Art. 82 EC and its French equivalent (Lafarge Ciments / Vicat)
White & Case (Paris)
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Cullen International
On 7 July 2009, the French Supreme Court rebutted a case dated 6 May 2008 by the Paris Court of Appeal partially annulling a decision by the French National Competition Authority (the “NCA”) sanctioning two French cement manufacturers, Lafarge and Vicat, and their main distributors in Corsica for (...)

The Polish NCA fines € 14 M the railway cargo carrier incumbent for discriminating competitors in concluding freight agreements, raising question on the ability of an undertaking in a dominant position, faced with aggressive comportment of competitors, to respond with similar measures (PKP Cargo)
WilmerHale (Brussels)
Situation on the market and the proceedings PKP Cargo is second largest rail carrier in the European Union, which enjoyed monopolistic position on the Polish market of railway cargo services until 2001. Holding 70% of market share, it is still a major player on the market and being a part of (...)

Mergers

The Competition Commissioner directs staff to conditionally clear an airline deal (Lufthansa/Austrian Airlines)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 31 July 2009, a press release was published on the European Commission’s website announcing that Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has “instructed her services to draft a conditional clearance decision” for the proposed acquisition of Austrian Airlines by Lufthansa. The draft decision will (...)

The French Council of State confirms the clearance of a merger in the audit and accounting services sector and clarifies the legal test for collective dominance (Deloitte / JMF)
Dechert (Paris)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
Background This case arose out of the clearance granted by the French Minister of the Economy ("Minister") for the acquisition by Deloitte of Janny Marque Futur ("JMF"), the holding company of BDO Marque et Gendrot ("BDO"). Through this transaction, Deloitte, one of the "Big Four", acquired (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau negotiates consent agreement in a merger in the solid hazardous waste disposal market (Clean Harbors/Eveready)
Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (“Bureau”), an independent enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition, reached agreement with Clean Harbors, Inc. (“Clean Harbors”) on 27 July 2009 on its proposed acquisition of Eveready, Inc. (“Eveready”) by requiring the company to divest (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM and four other authorities adopt joint measures on financial industry mergers
Kastell
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Linklaters (Beijing)
On July 21, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (“MOFCOM”) released the Measures on the Calculation of Turnovers for the Notification of Concentrations of Business Operators in the Financial Industry (“Measures”). These Measures were jointly issued by MOFCOM, the People’s Bank (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears acquisition in media sector (PCM Holding, Nieuwsmedia, Wegener)
De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB)
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Smeets Van Empel advocaten (Amsterdam)
1. Facts and procedure On 17 July 2009 the Dutch Competition Authority (Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit, hereinafter "NMa") cleared the proposed acquisition of sole control over AD Nieuwsmedia B.V. (hereinafter "AD") by PCM Holding B.V. (hereinafter "PCM"). AD is and a joint-venture of PCM (...)

The European Commission considers generic competition and pipeline products in the human-health pharmaceutical sector in unconditionally clearing the merger (Pfizer/Wyeth)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 17 July 2009, the European Commission approved the acquisition by Pfizer Inc. USA («Pfizer») of Wyeth USA. In its decision, the Commission identified substantial horizontal overlaps in the parties’ human health pharmaceutical operations, as well as in the parties’ animal health operations, (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger between two major European airlines subject to behavioural remedies (Lufthansa - Austrian Airlines)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 July 2009 Serbian Competition Authority (Комисија за заштиту конкуренције) (KZK) after an in-depth investigation issued a conditional clearance of the merger uniting two leading European airlines : Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines . At the moment of the application for the merger clearance Lufthansa was already (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court interprets the EC Merger Regulation and denies national jurisdiction over a merger seven years after its clearance (Mediobanca)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Introduction By a judgment of 16 July 2009, the Consiglio di Stato(Italian Supreme Administrative Court, the “Court”) has set aside a judgment of the Regional Administrative Tribunal of Latium (the “TAR Latium”) that recognized jurisdiction of the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) to (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM issues guidelines on computation of financial merger reporting thresholds
White & Case (Beijing)
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Mattel (Hong Kong)
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White & Case (Beijing)
As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, China has been a favorite destination for foreign investment since it opened its doors to foreign investors almost three decades ago. While its growth has slowed, the Chinese economy continues to grow moderately amid the global financial crisis, (...)

The Chinese Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council releases final version of Guidelines on the Definition of Relevant Markets
Kastell
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Linklaters (Beijing)
On July 7, the Anti-monopoly Committee of the State Council released the Guidelines on the Definition of Relevant Markets, (“Guidelines”), the draft of which was issued for public consultation in early January this year. The publication of the final version of Guidelines is significant because (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office clears the acquisition of a real estate management company by a holding company of a bank (CIL Buda Square Ingatlanhasznosító, Óbudai Dunapart Irodaház Központ, CIB Bank)
lakatos, koves and partners
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Kinstellar
On 21 August 2008 CIL Buda Square Ingatlanhasznosító Kft. (“CIL”), a Hungarian property management company owned by CIB Bank Zrt. (“CIB Bank”) acquired from IMMOCAMP S.A. and Jason Invest and Trade LLC 100 per cent of the business quotas in Óbudai Dunapart Irodaház Központ Kft. (“Dunapart”). According (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority clears merger in newspaper market subject to divestments remedies (De Persgroep-PCM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Introduction On July 1, 2009 the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) cleared the proposed acquisition of PCM Holding B.V. (PCM) by De Persgroep N.V (De Persgroep) subject to remedies. PCM publishes major Dutch newspapers such as NCR Handelsblad, NRC Next and the Volkskrant. De Persgroep is (...)

The Turkish Competition Board clears in Phase I a merger in the automobile sector and enlarged the interpretation of “control” by referring to the notion of “negative control” and “negative sole control” (Chrysler/Fiat Merger)
Erdem & Erdem
The Turkish Competition Board (“CB”), in its decision numbered 09-31/678-159, dated July 1st, 2009, authorized the acquisition of Chrysler LLC (“Chrysler”) by Fiat S.p.A (“Fiat”), which has taken over all the activities of the Chrysler Group. Operation The acquisition is twofold : Acquisition of (...)

State Aid

The Portuguese Competition Authority recommends that the Regional Government of Madeira notify to the European Commission State aid granted to a newspaper editor (Jornal da Madeira)
University of Lisbon
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Pares Advogados
On 29 July 2009 the Portuguese Competition Authority issued a recommendation addressed to the Regional Government of the Archipelago of Madeira urging the notification to the European Commission of financial support amounting to € 23,4 million granted until 2007 to Jornal da Madeira, a newspaper (...)

The European Commission approves € 5 billion risk shield and accompanying measures for German bank (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* Under EU state aid rules, and following an in-depth investigation that began in October 2008, the European Commission approved the € 5 billion risk shield and accompanying measures for German bank WestLB. The risk shield was (...)

The European Commission issues guidelines on restructuring aid to banks
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 July 2009, the Commission adopted a temporary Communication on restructuring aid to banks. This Communication complements the previously adopted guidelines on State guarantees, recapitalization and impaired assets in the banking sector and sets out how the Commission will assess (...)

The European Commission approves State aid granted to shipyard in Poland (Restructuring aid to Stoczni Gdansk)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 22 July 2009, following an in-depth investigation that began in June 2005, the Commission authorised various support measures worth € 251 million, spread over several years and extending into the future, to assist the Gdansk (...)

The European Commission holds that subsidised feed-in tariffs in Austria for producers of green electricity are in line with the requirements of the environmental State Aid guidelines (Aid to energy intensive businesses, Green Electricity Act)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 22 July 2009, the Commission authorised subsidised feed-in tariffs in Austria for producers of green electricity (i.e.electricity produced from environmentally-friendly sources). The measures are designed to accelerate and (...)

The European Commission publishes a communication on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Restructuring banks in crisis — overview of applicable State aid rules"* 1. A complete set of State aid rules for financial institutions in the current crisis (1 The Communication of 22 July 2009 on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector (...)

The European Commission authorises State aid granted by Poland for restructuring shipyard (Gdansk Shipyard)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Restructuring of Gdansk Shipyard — outlook good for return to viability after four-year investigation"* On 22 July 2009, the Commission authorised State aid granted or planned by Poland for restructuring Gdansk Shipyard. The Commission found that both the € 94 million of aid already received by (...)

The European Commission issues a communication announcing that restoration of competition in the banking sector is an EU priority
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
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Jones Day (London)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
The global financial crisis has seen competition authorities come under pressure to relax their interpretation of competition laws in order to help companies weather the current financial storm. In general, competition authorities have been reluctant to do so, on the basis that in such (...)

The European Commission approves restructuring State aid granted to a Luxembourg bank (Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 10 June 2009, Luxembourg informed the Commission that a € 320 million loan had been set up for restructuring Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg SA. Since the primary purpose of the loan was to compensate depositors with the Belgian (...)

The European Commission endorses a Dutch tax break scheme (Groepsrentebox)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 8 July 2009, the Commission endorsed a Dutch ‘Groepsrentebox’ tax break scheme. The Commission concluded that the Dutch plan to apply reduced taxation on revenue from intra-group loans under a scheme known as ‘Groepsrentebox’ (...)

Serbia receives its first law on control of State aids
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 8 July 2009 National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (Народна скупштина Републике Србије) adopted the nation’s first Law on Control of State Aid . The law defines state aid as any public expenditure, which puts the recipient in privileged position in relation to its competitors and thereby distorts free market (...)

The European Court of Justice imposes a two-fold penalty on Greece under an Article 228 EC procedure for non-recovery of illegal State aid granted to airline company (Olympic Airways)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 July 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposed a two-fold penalty on Greece under an Article 228 EC procedure for non-recovery of illegal State aid granted to Olympic Airways. The case dates back to 2002 when the Commission found certain aid granted to Olympic Airways incompatible (...)

The European Commission adopts a new communication on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 2 July 2009, the Commission adopted a new Communication on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting. The Communication provides a clear framework for the development of public broadcasting services and (...)

The European Commission revises its communication on State aid and public service broadcasting
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The 2009 Broadcasting Communication"* On 2 July 2009 the Commission revised its 2001 Communication on State aid and public service broadcasting. After three public consultations, the revised Communication clarifies the legal framework for the expansion of public service broadcasters onto new (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on criteria for the compatibility analysis of State aid to disadvantaged and disabled workers subject to individual notification
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission Representation in Spain
"State aid for disabled and disadvantaged workers: compatibility criteria for big cases"* I. Background Unemployment, especially structural unemployment, is still a major problem in some parts of the European Union. Certain categories of workers still have difficulty getting onto the labour (...)

Procedures

The Moldovan Competition Authority orders the administrations of the agricultural markets to accord priority to the individual producers of agricultural products (Agromarkets)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 30 July 2009 the Moldovan Competition Authority (ANPC) following an investigation of competitive conditions on the agricultural markets in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau ordered the administrations of these markets to accord priority to the individual producers of agricultural products. (...)

The UK High Court criticizes the Office of Fair Trading for violating the principles of equal treatment and fairness in a "fast-track” settlement procedure (Crest Nicholson/OFT)
Ernst & Young
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was found to have violated the principle of equal treatment and procedural fairness in its construction cartel investigation when it disregarded that Crest Nicholson, a former parent company of a construction firm accused of bid rigging, was unable to accept in (...)

The European Court of Justice annuls Court of First Instance’s judgment in a damages action case (Schneider Electric)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 July 2009, the European Court of Justice annulled the judgment of the Court of First Instance in the Schneiderdamages action case, finding that the Commission should only pay compensation to Schneider to cover the costs that it incurred in dealing with the Commission’s second investigation (...)

The European Court of Justice partly annuls Court of First Instance’s judgment awarding damages to an industrial group (Schneider)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 July 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the Commission’s appeal against the judgment of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of 11 July 2007 in the Schneider/Legrandsaga. The CFI judgment was the first time that compensation has been awarded for errors committed by the (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority issues a report on competition on the food retail market in 2008
University of Technology (Tallinn)
Market inquiries, which are conducted by the competition authorities independently from any ongoing investigations is common practice nowadays. Such inquiries allow the competition authority to obtain valuable information that could be used in future investigations and assessments. Market (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court discusses in detail the legal consequences of failure to comply with the obligation to inform the EU Commission under Art. 11.3 and 4 of Reg. 1/2003 (Insurance Cartel - Civil Liability)
University Paris Dauphine
Abstract: The case provides an useful illustration of the impact the national institutional and procedural autonomy principle may have on the present EU antitrust enforcement system. Indeed, since Regulation 1/2003 is directly applicable within the national legal orders and consequently the (...)

The Italian Parliament passes a new provision allowing collective action for infringement of competition law (“Azione di classe”)
University of Turin
After a number of postponements, the Italian Law providing for a ‘group action’ (“azione di classe”) will enter into force, subject to integrations and/or amendments, on January 1, 2010. According to the Law passed by the Parliament on July 9, 2009, consumer associations, but also individual (...)

The Serbian Parliament adopts new Law on Protection of Competition
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 8 July 2009 Serbia received its new Law on Protection of Competition , which shall replace the existing law from 1 November 2009. Preparation of the new law has been indicated as one of the priorities in the 2008 Annual Report of the Serbian Competition Authority (Комисија за заштиту (...)

The UK Court of Appeal rules that damages cannot be recovered through the medium of Sec. 47A simply by identifying findings of fact by a regulator that could have amounted to a competition infringement, i.e., claimant’s right of action exists only if the regulator has actually decided that such conduct would constitute an infringement of competition provision (EW&S Railways v. Enron)
TT&A
In 2006, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) had concluded that English Welsh & Scottish Railway Limited (EW&S) infringed the prohibition contained in the Chapter II prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 82, EC Treaty . EW&S infringed the said provisions as it engaged (...)

The English High Court gives judgment on an application for the judicial review of a decision by the OFT not to extend or re-open a penalty discount scheme that it had offered to alleged cartelists in connection with its investigation into collusive tendering in the construction industry (Crest Nicholson)
Shoosmiths (Thames Valley)
Background The case was brought by Crest Nicholson Plc, which was a developer of residential property. Until 2003, Crest Nicholson was the parent company of the Pearce Group. One of the members of the Pearce Group was Pearce Midlands, against which certain allegations of price fixing were (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the public transportation of travellers by river shuttles on the Seine
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Public transportation of travellers by river shuttles on the Seine: The Autorité de la concurrence draws the attention of the STIF to the necessary competitive conditions for the implementation of the Voguéo project.* After referral by the Syndicat des transports d’Ile-de-France (STIF) , the (...)

The European Commission publishes final results of its inquiry in the pharmaceutical sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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EU Delegation to the OECD and UNESCO (Paris)
"Final results of the Commission pharmaceutical sector inquiry: competition and regulatory concerns to address"* On 8 July 2009, the Commission presented the final results of its sector inquiry into pharmaceuticals. The inquiry examined the competitive relationship between originator and (...)

The EU Commission’s pharmaceuticals sector inquiry report signals future antitrust actions
Gibson Dunn (Hong Kong)
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Jones Day (Amsterdam)
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Jones Day (Frankfurt)
The pharmaceuticals sector in the European Union will remain under close antitrust scrutiny in the coming years. This is confirmed by the Communication the European Commission released yesterday in which it summarizes the main conclusions from its sector inquiry that started in January 2008. (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on TV content access exclusivity offers by Internet service providers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
TV content access exclusivity offers by Internet service providers: The Autorité de la concurrence states its position*. Exclusive access must remain an exceptional solution, strictly limited in time and scope. Auto-distribution appears to be a satisfactory balancing solution, to the benefit (...)

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