July 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a cartel in the sector of freight forwarding activities (Transitarios)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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Linklaters (Madrid)
On 31 July 2010, the Council of the Spanish Competition Commission (Consejo de la Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, hereinafter "the Council", "the NCC") imposed a fine of €14 M on eight road freight forwarding companies for coordinating their pricing and commercial strategies. The file was (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines sherry cartel (Bodegas González Byass, Bodegas José Estévez, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Bodegas Emilio Lustau, Bodegas Barbadillo, Caydsa, Bodegas J Ferris and Bodegas Pedro Romero)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 29 July 2010, the Spanish Competition Authority has imposed fines totalling approximately € 6.7 million on eight sherry producers (Bodegas González Byass, Bodegas José Estévez, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Bodegas Emilio Lustau, Bodegas Barbadillo, Caydsa, Bodegas (...)

The English High Court refuses to make a reference to the CJEU concerning the circumstances in which an court can make a declaration of non-liability for breach of Art. 101 TFEU where a company is the subject of an ongoing European Commission investigation (Conex Banninger / European Commission)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The English High Court (Floyd J) refuses to make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘ECJ’) concerning the circumstances in which an English court can make a declaration of non-liability for breach of Article 101 TFEU where a company is the subject of an ongoing European (...)

The UK Competition Commission adopts provisional decision on retail payment protection insurance remedies (PPI market investigation)
EFTA Surveillance Authority
Background On 29 July 2010, the Competition Commission published its provisional decision regarding its investigation into the payment protection insurance (“PPI”) market and invited comments to be submitted before 3 September 2010. The provisional decision was the latest step in a process (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority accepts commitments submitted by the leading auction company following an investigation for unfair practice (Sotheby’s)
Codacons
The Italian branch of Sotheby’s, Sotheby’s S.r.l. (hereninafter SHT), sells and buys antiques, arts and collection items during public auctions. The Italian Antitrust Authority (hereinafter ICA), started investigation in March 2010, because was reported that SHT provided incomplete and deceiving (...)

The Spanish NCA targets the sherry industry for the second time in one year and imposes an aggregate fine of € 6,723,000 M on nine sherry wine makers and two industry associations for participating in a cartel between 2001 and 2008 (Vinos Finos de Jerez)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
The Spanish National Competition Commission (“CNC”) imposed a € 6,723,000 aggregated fine on nine Sherry (Jerez) wine makers, the industry association FEDEJEREZ and the Regulatory Association of Sherry wine producers (“Consejo Regulador”) for their participation in a cartel between 2001 and 2008 (...)

The Spanish National Competition Authority imposes fines to eight wine cellars for their participation in a cartel concerning sherry wine and also condemns the Regulating Council of the name of origin of sherry wine for its role as a facilitator (Vinos Finos de Jerez)
University College London
Introduction The Spanish National Competition Authority imposed a 10% turnover fine on Sherry wine producers for establishing coordinated conducts that restricted the wine offer as well as for price fixing. At a first stage, only the Regulating Council of the Name of Origin of Sherry Wine was (...)

The Supreme Commercial Court of Russia upholds lower courts’ rulings dismissing concerns over price coordination by 11 hotels during the 12th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2008 (Russian Hotels)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
Background In 2008 the St. Petersburg branch of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of the Russian Federation decided that 11 hotels infringed Part 1 of Article 11 of the Competition Act. The FAS found that the hotels coordinated a substantial price increase during the 12th St. Petersburg (...)

The Czech Authority fines participants of a nation wide bid-rigging cartel for the first time (Hokra Spedition, Inzet, Prominecon Group, Cbk Shift, Natural Mystic)
Kinstellar (Prague)
The Czech Competition Authority (the “Authority”) has fined participants of a nation-wide bid-rigging cartel for the first time. The infringement involved the participation of five companies for their coordination of tender offers in public procurement proceedings concerning the operation of (...)

The European Commission fines animal feed phosphates producers for price-fixing and market-sharing in its first "hybrid" cartel settlement case (Yara Phosphates, Tessenderlo Chemie)
Winston & Strawn (London)
The European Commission (Commission) has today announced its first settlement of a cartel case in a so-called "hybrid" scenario, in which all but one company settled the case with the Commission in return for a 10 percent reduction in each of their fines (IP/10/985). The Commission has fined (...)

The U.S. DOJ obtains disgorgement remedy in civil antitrust settlement with a power electricity undertaking in a market manipulation case (KeySpan)
Jones Day (Houston)
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Jones Day (Washington)
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Alston & Bird (Washington)
Reaching the end of a three-year investigation, today the Department of Justice Antitrust Division asked a New York federal court to approve the DOJ’s settlement of claims that KeySpan violated the antitrust laws by manipulating the NYC wholesale electricity market. The DOJ claimed KeySpan (...)

The Greek Competition Authority imposes fine of € 12.5 M for resale price maintenance in the supermarket sector (Carrefour)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 15 July 2010, the Greek Competition Authority has imposed a fine of € 12.5 million on Carrefour Marinopoulos (“Carrefour”) for engaging, inter alia, in resale price maintenance with its supermarket franchisees in breach of Greek and EU competition law. In (...)

The Hungarian Constitutional Court rules about the secondary liability of the members of an organization of undertakings, public bodies, associations and other similar organizations
lakatos, koves and partners
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Philip Morris
Background After the decision in the “Egg cartel” case, the Hungarian Constitutional Court was requested to rule about the compliance of Section 78 (6) and (7) of the Hungarian Competition Act (“HCA”) with the Hungarian Constitution. According to Section 78 (6) and (7) HCA, if the social (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit vacates a class action settlement in diamond industry favoring the status of direct purchasers for antitrust laws enforcement in U.S. courts (Sullivan, DB Investments)
Gibson Dunn (New York)
In U.S., It’s Getting Harder to Bring Consumer Antitrust Class Actions* One of the inevitable facts of life in the U.S. after a government antitrust investigation becomes public – especially if it is a cartel investigation with an amnesty applicant or guilty pleas – is customer class actions. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigation against main marketing consulters associations under Art. 2 and 14 of Law 287/1990 (ACPI)
Codacons
ACPI and TP (Associations of Italian Marketing Consulters) are formed by natural persons, who have worked up to five years in the field of marketing consultation and communication industry and have covered directorial roles, enrolled to the Italian Commerce Chamber. In July 2009, the Italian (...)

The California Supreme Court rejects pass-on defense under Cartwright Act in price fixing case in the pharmaceutical industry (Clayworth, Pfizer)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
California Supreme Court Rejects Pass-On Defense in Price Fixing Case* By Jeffrey May, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business In a case of first impression, the California Supreme Court recently decided that alleged victims of a price fixing scheme can pursue treble damages claims under the (...)

The California Supreme Court rejects "Pass-On" Defense for antitrust damages (Pfizer)
Jones Day (Los Angeles)
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Jones Day (Los Angeles)
In its July 12, 2010, decision in Clayworth v. Pfizer, Inc., the California Supreme Court rejected the « pass-on » defense for claims brought under California’s antitrust law, the Cartwright Act. Defendants have used the pass-on defense to argue that direct purchasers of goods sold by allegedly (...)

The German Cartel Office accepts commitments from energy suppliers to renounce resale clauses prohibitions (RWE, EWE, RheinEnergie, Wingas, N-Ergie, Stadtwerke Hannover, Erdgas Muenster, Stadtwerke Leipzig, SWM, Entega, Stadtwerke Kiel, Koethen Energie)
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: Energy Suppliers agree to abandon Resale Prohibitions The Bundeskartellamt has concluded on 7 July 2010 most of its proceedings against gas and electricity suppliers on account of their imposing inadmissible resale bans. Twelve of the major energy suppliers in Germany (RWE, EWE, (...)

The Greek Competition Authority fines an hypermarket chain for restrictive practices in his franchise network (Carrefour Marinopoulos)
European Commission (Brussels)
Greece: Carrefour fined for Restrictive Practices in Greek Franchise Network On 6 July 2010, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has levied a fine of € 12,500,000 on Carrefour’s Greek business (Carrefour Marinopoulos S.A.) for applying resale-price maintenance among its franchise network (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission fines a retailer for resale price maintenance and other infringements within its franchise network (Carrefour Marinopoulos)
Lambadarios Law Firm
On 6th April 2010, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“Epitropi Antagonismou”, hereinafter: “HCC”) issued a decision on the merits by which it imposed a fine on the retailer Carrefour Marinopoulos S.A. (hereinafter: “Carrefour”) for infringements detected within its franchise network, namely resale (...)

The EU Commission publishes its second report on the monitoring of patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission report shows decrease of potentially problematic patent settlements* On 5 July 2010, the Commission published its second report on the monitoring of patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector. The report shows that the number of patent settlements that may fall afoul (...)

The European Court of Justice confirms € 85.8 M fine for participation in a cartel on the plasterboard market (Knauf)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment handed down on 1 July 2010, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) confirmed the € 85.8 million fine imposed on Knauf Gips KG (“Knauf”) by the Commission for its participation in a cartel on the plasterboard market. In 2002, the Commission imposed fines totalling € 478 million on BPB, (...)

The Slovakian Competition Authority publishes a brochure on cartel agreements in public procurement
European Commission (Brussels)
Slovakia: Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic calls for Cooperation in disclosing Cartel Agreements in Public Procurement Disclosing and proving anticompetitive behaviour is very demanding and requires cooperation between the competition authority and procurers and other institutions. (...)

The U.S. DOJ seeks new disgorgement remedy in civil antitrust case (KeySpan)
Jones Day (Houston)
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Jones Day (Washington)
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Alston & Bird (Washington)
Until last week, the U.S. Department of Justice had not sought to obtain disgorgement as a remedy in a civil Sherman Act case. In the antitrust lawsuit and settlement filed on February 22 in U.S. v. KeySpan, the Antitrust Division asks that the court approve a settlement requiring the defendant (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Spanish Competition Authority grants full immunity from fines to the first cartel member who provided information and a reduction of 40% to another who provided significant evidence that helped to establish the infringement (Transitarios)
Kim & Chang
One of the major changes introduced by the new Spanish Competition Act (Law 15/2007, 3rd July, on Defense of Competition) which entered into force on September 1st 2007, was the introduction of a leniency program. The leniency program entered into force on 28th February 2008 after the adoption (...)

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court maintains strict view on ’loyalty’ discounts when it cancels for the second time Regional Court of Brno’s judgment (Telefonica O2 Czech Republic / Price Plans)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
On 30 July 2010, Supreme Administrative Court cancelled the judgment of Regional Court in Brno in case concerning alleged abuse of dominant position by Telefonica O2 Czech Republic (“TO2”) in connection with its so-called “price plans”, i.e. special price programs for its business customers. The (...)

The EU Commission initiates formal investigations in two cases of suspected abuse of dominant market position (IBM)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission investigates IBM’s conduct on the mainframe market* On 26 July 2010, the European Commission issued a press release stating that IBM is subject to a formal investigation for two alleged abuses of its dominant position on the market for mainframe computers in breach of (...)

The Belgium Competition Council dismisses a complaint against the incumbent telecoms operator regarding the access to its broadband network (Mobistar / Belgacom)
Philippe & Partners (Brussels)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
I. The parties Belgacom S.A. is the incumbent operator on the Belgian telecom market. It controls the landline, physical telecommunication network infrastructures and provides internet and telephony services. Mobistar S.A. is a member of the Orange Group, subsidiary of France Telecom. It (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a market test following a leading internet corporation commitments (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 21 July 2010, the French Competition Authority published commitments offered by Google in an effort to resolve competition concerns identified by the Competition Authority in a decision of 30 June 2010. The 30 June decision granted interim measures to Navx, a company which sells online (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission rejects a complaint against the municipality of Athens for abuse of dominance on the basis that it did not act as an "undertaking" (Georgios Koutros, and General Association of Greek Consumers)
Lambadarios Law Firm
On July 21, 2010 the Hellenic Competition Commission ("Epitropi Antagonismou", hereinafter "HCC") issued a decision on the merits by which it rejected a complaint brought against the Municipality of Athens for alleged abuse of its dominant position in conferring the use of communal areas to (...)

The Latvian Competition Council finds distortion of competition on the municipal market for land survey (Rīgas ĢeoMetrs)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC Finds Distortion of Land Survey Market in Riga* The Competition Council of Latvia (CC) has summarized its conclusions about the land survey sector inquiry. Although no violations of the Competition Law were detected and the competition was found to be strong, the CC concluded that (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority issues an opinion on regulation of supermarket chains/suppliers relations
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) analyses the Pros and Cons of a Law in view of regulating Supermarket Chains/Suppliers Relations On 13 July 2010, the CPC adopted an opinion on the necessity to introduce a regulation intended to guarantee fair competition and to (...)

The European Commission recognises that due to their dynamics internet markets such as online search engines are characterized by innovative business models that are constantly evolving and therefore market dominance on the internet might be difficult to establish (Google)
Sheppard Mullin (Del Mar)
EC Investigates Google for Potential Abuse of Dominance in Online Search Market* In July 2010, Vice President of the European Commission (EC) responsible for competition policy, Mr. Joaquin Almunia, referred to the essential role that competition policy has in ensuring “market access and (...)

The EU General Court confirms abuse of dominance by preventing the market entry or the parallel imports of generic medicinal products (AstraZeneca)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
ECJ upholds European Commission decision against AstraZeneca* On 1 July 2010, the European Union’s General Court (or “GC”, formerly the Court of First Instance) handed down its judgment against the AstraZeneca Group (“AZ”) for having abused its dominant position by preventing the market entry or (...)

The EU General Court upholds “novel” approach to abuse of dominance in pivotal pharma appeal (AstraZeneca)
Linklaters (Brussels)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
On July 1, 2010, the General Court ruled in an appeal against the European Commission’s first ever finding of abuse of a dominant position by a pharma company. The Court has broadly upheld a Decision the Commission itself characterised as “novel”, but reduced the €60 million fine on AstraZeneca to (...)

The EU General Court fines a company for abuse of a dominant position in the pharmaceutical sector addressing the issues of market definition and dominance analysis (AstraZeneca)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
The General Court’s Judgment In AstraZeneca, Lessons For Market Definition And Dominance Analysis* On July 1, 2010, the European General Court rendered its judgment in the AstraZeneca case, dismissing for the most part AstraZeneca’s appeal against the Commission’s infringement decision of June (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines the National Health Insurance Fund for imposing maximum retail margins for medicines sold under the national health insurance scheme (National Health Insurance Fund)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 7 July 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) established that the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK) has abused its dominant position on the market for medicines reimbursed under the national health insurance scheme by imposing the maximum retail margins to be applied by the (...)

Mergers

The US DoJ imposes divestiture and conduct remedies before approving a merger in order to maintain competition recently introduced by one of the firms in the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US DoJ demands divestiture and licensing to create two new competitors and imposes conduct remedies to limit the benefits of vertical integration in a merger concerning the industry for primary ticketing services at concert venues (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Kelley Drye & Warren (Washington)
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Kelley Drye & Warren (New York)
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Kelley Drye & Warren (Washington)
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DoJ”), along with 17 state attorneys general, reached an agreement with the parties last week that allows the merger of Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. (“Ticketmaster”) and Live Nation, Inc. (“Live Nation”) to proceed. The parties agreed to a (...)

The US DoJ seeks to divest part of the business and require the licensing of software in order to mitigate anticompetitive effects of a merger in the ticketing services industry (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
After a decade of what was perceived by many as relatively restrained merger enforcement, the Obama administration has repeatedly and vocally vowed to “reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” and to “take effective action to stop or restructure mergers that are likely to harm consumer[s]”. Many (...)

The US DoJ requires a mixture of remedies, including divestiture, licensing, and behavioral remedies, before approving a merger in primary ticketing sales for concert venues (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
European Parliament (Brussels)
In February 2009, the largest ticketer, Ticketmaster, and the largest live music promoter, Live Nation, announced that they intended to merge. The merger, as originally proposed, would have removed Live Nation as a potential competitor to Ticketmaster, substantially lessening competition for (...)

The US DoJ conditions approval of a vertical merger upon the implementation of structural and behavioral remedies to protect the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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United Airlines
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The UK OFT decides not to refer a proposed acquisition in the door lock manufacturing market to the Competition Commission (Assa Abloy/Paddock)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
Introduction and background Assa Abloy AB (AA) is an international manufacturer and supplier of locks and associated products, sold under a number of brands in the UK, with Yale being its most well-known. Paddock Holdings Limited (Paddock) is a UK-based manufacturer and supplier of multi-point (...)

The EU Commission modifies commitments attached to a merger in the digital satellite TV sector in light of changed market conditions (Newscorp / Telepiu)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 July 2010, the European Commission relieved Italian digital satellite TV company Sky Italia from one of the commitments given in the context of the 2003 Newscorp/Telepiuacquisition. This allows Sky Italia now to bid in the upcoming tender for the allocation of digital terrestrial TV (...)

The US DoJ requires rescission of a merger-to-monopoly and puts conduct remedies in place to ensure competition in the market for local newspapers in a city in West Virginia (Daily Gazette / MediaNews)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The DOJ entered into a consent decree with two local West Virginia newspaper owners, requiring them to rescind a merger three years after its consummation. The Daily Gazette Company and MediaNews Group, Inc. had entered into a two-to-one merger, creating a monopoly from the only two local (...)

The European Commission partially approves a proposed acquisition of a chemical company and refers part of the assessment to the French authorities (CVC/Univar/Eurochem)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 16 July the Commission approved part of the proposed acquisition of the chemical company Eurochem by Univar. The Commission found that Univar‘s acquisition of the Belgian and Dutch activities of Eurochem would not significantly (...)

The European Commission clears two mergers in the air and sea transport sector addressing the issue of pre-existing cooperation agreements (Iberia / British Airways - DFDS / Norfolk)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The power of pre-existing agreements* In two recent decisions, the Commission considered the impact of cooperation agreements that the notifying parties had entered into before the notified transaction and came to two different conclusions. In Iberia/British Airways (decision of 14 July (...)

The Turkish competition board grants a conditional authorization to an acquisition in the alcoholic beverages market (Burgaz / Mey)
Erdem & Erdem
The Competition Board (“Board”) authorized the acquisition of Burgaz Alcoholic Beverages Commercial and Economic Union (“Burgaz”) which the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund offered for sale by Mey Içki Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (“Mey”) under certain conditions. The summarized decision (“Decision”) was (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM publishes provisional rules on divestitures remedies
AnJie Law (Beijing)
Divestiture Regulation: A Giant Leap in Chinese Concentration Review Regime* On July 8th, MOFCOM (Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China) released The Provisional Rules on Implementing Divestiture of Assets or Businesses(“Provisional Rules”). This legislative move can be seen as (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading refers an acquisition in the media images sector leading the parties to abandon the merger (Getty Images / Rex Features)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
Introduction and background This was a transaction involving two companies (Rex Features Limited - “Rex” - and Getty Images, Inc - “Getty”) with overlapping activities in the licensing of stock and editorial images to media companies (in particular celebrity and entertainment images). The two (...)

The EU General Court refuses to order interim measures in a case involving the air transportation sector addressing the issues of the implementation of a concentration and powers of the Commission under the EU Merger Regulation 139/2004 (Aer Lingus)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The Aer Lingus Judgment – When non-implementation is implementation, or not* On 6 July 2010, the General Court rejected Ryanair’s appeal against the Commission’s 2007 prohibition of its hostile take-over of rival Irish airline Aer Lingus. On the same day, the Court also issued a much shorter (...)

The European Court of First Instance upholds the European Commission’s decision to prohibit a merger between two airlines companies (Ryanair/Aer Lingus, merger prohibition)
European Commission - DG ENER
Yes, we can (prohibit) – The Ryanair/Aer Lingus merger before the Court* I. Introduction In two judgments handed down on 6 July 2010, the General Court upheld the Commission’s June 2007 decision to prohibit the planned merger between Ryanair and Aer Lingus (Case T-342/07) and dismissed Aer (...)

The EU General Court dismisses an airline’s appeal against the Commission’s decision not to divest a minority shareholding post-merger (Ryanair / Aer Lingus)
European Commission - DG ENER
Yes, we can (prohibit) – The Ryanair/Aer Lingus merger before the Court* I. Introduction In two judgments handed down on 6 July 2010, the General Court upheld the Commission’s June 2007 decision to prohibit the planned merger between Ryanair and Aer Lingus (Case T-342/07) and dismissed Aer (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority releases Guidelines on pre-notification contacts in merger cases
BPV Braun Partners
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Deloitte
On 1 July 2010, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (“Office”) released Guidelines on pre-notification contact within the process of concentrations review (“Guidelines”). The Guidelines lay down general rules regarding the information to be provided within the context of pre-notification (...)

State Aid

The European Commission approves existing State aid scheme granted by Sweden in favor of the press
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Swedish press aid scheme has been in place since 1971, before Sweden’s accession to the European Union. It is therefore considered as existing aid and its assessment is subject to a specific cooperation procedure between (...)

The European Commission approves € 8.5 M of regional investment aid to a Spanish company for the production of solar wafers (Silicio Solar SAU)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 20 July 2010, the Commission has also authorised €8.5 million of regional investment aid to the Spanish company Silicio Solar SAU for the production of solar wafers in Puertollano, Ciudad Real (Castilla-La–Mancha). The project (...)

The European Commission authorizes € 17 M of regional investment aid for a German company concerning the production of solar modules (Solibro)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 20 July 2010, the Commission has authorised €17 million of regional investment aid for the German company Solibro GmbH for the production of solar modules in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Sachsen-Anhalt), Germany. The project involves an (...)

The European Commission states that a guarantee granted by Portugal to six banks to lend €450 M to national Portuguese bank constitutes illegal and incompatible State aid (Bank of Portugal)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 20 July 2010 the Commission concluded that a guarantee granted by the Portuguese State to six banks in Portugal to lend €450 million to BPP at the height of the financial crisis, in December 2008, constituted illegal and (...)

The European Commission approves new tax-based funding system for the Spanish public broadcaster (RTVE)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The 20 July 2010, the Commission approved the new tax-based funding system for the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, on which it had opened a formal investigation in December 2009. Spain abolished advertising and other commercial (...)

The European Commission approves the annual funding mechanism for French public service broadcaster (France Télévisions)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 20 July 2010 the Commission approved the annual funding mechanism for France Télévisions. The French public service broadcasting reform involves the gradual elimination of advertising on public channels and the introduction of (...)

The European Commission adopts a proposal for a new Council regulation allowing Member States to continue granting operating aid to coal mines, but only in the context of a definitive closure plan
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* Council Regulation (EC) N° 1407/2002 of 23 July 2002 on State aid to the coal industry expires on 31 December 2010. The Commission has adopted a proposal for a new Council Regulation which would allow Member States to continue (...)

The European Commission authorizes € 28.7 M of regional investment aid that Germany intends to grant in favor of a company for the extension of its production facility for ship and offshore cranes (Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 6 July 2010 the Commission authorised €28.7 million of regional investment aid that Germany intends to grant in favour of Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock GmbH for the extension of its production facility for ship and offshore cranes in (...)

The European Commission approves a project notified by the UK concerning the establishment of an occupational pension scheme (National Employment Savings Trust)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 6 July 2010 the Commission approved the establishment of an occupational pension scheme, called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust), which will manage an occupational pension scheme. The scheme was notified to the (...)

Procedures

The Croatian Competition Authority releases its market survey concerning distribution of foods, drinks and hygienic products for households in 2009
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 30 July 2010 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) released the results of the sector inquiry on the market for distribution (wholesale and retail segments) of foods, drinks and hygienic products for households in 2009. In its report the AZTN focused primarily on the analysis of the (...)

The European Commission rejects legal privilege protection for correspondence between outside counsel of opposing companies (Servier, Teva)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The European Commission has recently published the non-confidential version of a decision adopted on 23 July 2010 regarding a claim by a pharmaceutical company, Les Laboratoires Servier, and its parent company Servier SAS (“Servier”), that a document seized during an unannounced inspection in (...)

The UK Court of Appeal dismisses appeal against High Court ruling in cartel damages claim (Cooper Tire and Rubber / Dow Deutschland)
Shoosmiths (Thames Valley)
1. Summary 1.1. On 23 July 2010, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against a judgement by the High Court where it declined to suspend proceedings based on a European Commission (the "Commission") cartel decision, where related proceedings based on the same decision were already taking (...)

The EU General Court annuls Commission decision refusing third party access to a merger case file (Agrofert Holding v Commission)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 July 2010, the General Court issued a judgment on an appeal by Agrofert Holding against a decision by the European Commission refusing to disclose documents in its PKN Orlen/Unipetrolmerger case file. On 20 April 2005, the Commission approved the acquisition of Unipetrol, a Czech oil (...)

The Romanian Government enacts an ordinance radically overhauling competition legislation (Emergency Government Ordinance 75/2010)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
The context 7 years since the Romanian Competition Law (Law 21/1996, hereinafter referred to as “RCL”) has been amended and 3 years after Romania joined the European Union, new competition regulation came into force, as a result of the enactment of the Emergency Government Ordinance 75/2010 (...)

The Romanian Competition Council brings national competition Law in line with European Union competition rules (Emergency Government Ordinance 75/2010)
Musat & Asociatii (Bucharest)
On July 06, 2010 Emergency Government Ordinance 75/2010 (“EGO 75”), amending the provisions of the Competition Law 21/1996 (the “Competition Law”), has been published in the Official Gazette. EGO 75 will enter into force on 05 August 2010. EGO 75 is the result of a relatively long process during (...)

A Dutch court applies statute of limitations to fine a tree-growers’ cartel case (Darthuizer Boomkwekerijen and Boomkwekerijen M. van den Oever & Zonen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 July 2010, the Rotterdam District Court handed down a judgment in an appeal brought against a decision of the Dutch Competition Authority (“NMa”) imposing fines on a number of undertakings found to have been involved in a cartel in the tree-growing sector in the Netherlands. In a judgment (...)

Regulatory

The Portuguese Competition Authority issues guidance on the forthcoming liberalization of the postal sector (Liberalização do Sector Postal)
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Lisbon)
The Portuguese Competition Authority (Authority) issued on 16 July 2010 a guidance document on the state of competition in the postal sector (Report), in anticipation of the forthcoming full liberalization of the sector resulting from the implementation of the EU’s Third Postal Directive , due (...)

The Chinese Price Regulator imposes higher fines against pricing and other competition law violations as new rules proposed
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Gibson Dunn (Hong Kong)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
Recent actions by the Chinese price regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (« NDRC »), indicate an increasing emphasis on enforcement against pricing and other competition law violations. Companies in agriculture industries and other business sectors that could implicate (...)

The Irish Competition Authority makes recommendations to improve competition amongst family doctors (Competition in Professional Services - General Medical Practitioners)
European Commission (Brussels)
Ireland: Competition Authority makes Recommendations to improve Competition amongst Family Doctors On 9 July 2010, the Irish Competition Authority published the final part of a three-part report into the delivery of primary medical care services in Ireland. It shows that the way in which the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a working paper on mixed public/private markets and reforming public services
European Commission (Brussels)
United Kingdom: Mixed Public/Private Markets and Reforming Public Services On 7 July 2010, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a working paper on how to ensure competitive neutrality in markets where state and private firms compete. The paper stressed the need for a level playing field, (...)

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