March 2015

Anticompetitive practices

The Russian Competition Authority opens an inquiry concerning vertical practices on the retail chain market (Perekryostok)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
An antimonopoly case against “Perekryostok” retail chain* The Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in St Petersburg (St Petersburg OFAS Russia) initiated a case against “Perekryostok” Retail Chain” CJSC. Upon inspecting contractual practices between suppliers of socially important food (...)

The US Supreme Court hears arguments before deciding on whether post-expiration license royalty obligations are caught in the web of patent policies or antitrust analysis (Kimble / Marvel)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Supreme Court Seeks To Untangle Patent And Antitrust Principles Caught In Spider-Man’s Web* The Supreme Court heard oral argument today on whether litigation over a toy based on Spider-Man’s web should be used to vanquish a 50-year-old precedent precluding patent owners from collecting patent (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion concerning the cooperation agreements in the food retail sector
French Competition Authority
Joint purchasing agreements in the food retail sector* The Autorité de la concurrence issues an opinion in which it proposes a grid for the general analysis of risks arising from the cooperation agreements recently concluded and provides recommendations CONTEXT Cooperation agreements Three (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a fine for anticompetitive agreement to two of the most important Italian companies in the insurance industry (Generali Italia / UnipolSai Assicurazioni)
University of London - School of Economics Birkbeck College
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University Tor Vergata
On the 30th of March 2015 the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority”) imposed a fine to Generali Italia S.p.A. (“Generali”) and UnipolSai Assicurazioni S.p.A. (“UnipolSai”) for an anticompetitive agreement that was entered into against companies that were in charge of public transport (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority changes partially its guidelines concerning distribution systems and business practices
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Partial amendments of the “Guidelines concerning distribution systems and business practices under the Antimonopoly Act”* 1. On the basis of the “Implementation Plan for Regulatory Reform” (June 24, 2014, The Cabinet Decision) (hereinafter the “Plan”), in order to make clarifications to be (...)

A US District Court rejects an antitrust claim for lack of standing (Spinelli / NFL)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Court Sacks Photographers’ Antitrust Claims Against the NFL and its Member Teams* Allegations of conspiracy to restrain trade and exclusive dealing may read like textbook antitrust claims, but if the allegations are made by a plaintiff who is not an “efficient enforcer” of the antitrust laws, the (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms that an undertaking and its retailers have concluded an anticompetitive vertical agreeement (Vyazma Machine-Building Works)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Appeal Court confirmed legitimacy of FAS decision on a case on prohibited “vertical” agreements* On 26 March 2015, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court dismissed appeals of “Vyazma Machine-Building Works” OJSC (“VMZ” OJSC) and its dealers to abolish the judgment of Moscow Arbitration Court (1). Thus, (...)

The EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy announces a potential inquiry in the e-commerce sector
General Court of the European Union
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Allen & Overy (Hamburg)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 26 March 2015, the European Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, announced a potential competition inquiry in the e-commerce sector. According to the Commission, the proposed inquiry is aimed at identifying and resolving cross-border barriers to e-commerce in (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes fines on three millers for cartel in the market of flour sold to craft bakeries (Axiane Meunerie / Minoteries Cantin / Grands Moulins de Strasbourg)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence fines 3 millers for anticompetitive agreements on increases in the price of flour sold to craft bakeries.* The Autorité de la concurrence issues today a decision whereby it fines Axiane meunerie, Minoteries Cantin and Grands Moulins de Strasbourg a total of 1.1 (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority issues a cease and desist order against manufacturers and installers of country elevators and rice milling facilities for bid-rigging (ZEN-NOH)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC issued cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders to the participants in bidding for the country elevator works and the rice milling facility works ordered by the agricultural cooperatives, etc* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) today issued the cease and desist orders (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens an investigation concerning the national market for the production, distribution, and merchandising of eggs
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
COFECE opens investigation into the egg market* Mexico City, March 26th 2015. – Through its website, the Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE) Investigation Authority publicly announced the extract of its ex-officio initiation decision under file number IO-004-2015 concerning the (...)

A US District Judge finds that plaintiffs’ allegations can be sufficient to support their antitrust claim even if they failed to adequately define a cognizable market (Aluminum Warehousing)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
In re: Aluminum Warehousing: Cats Live for Another Day* On March 26, 2015, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, in a very colorful decision that metaphorically describes the plaintiffs as cats trying to locate a “rat” in the world of aluminum warehousing, (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two cartels in ready-mix concrete sector (Intermodale / General Beton Triveneta / Calcestruzzi / SuperBeton)
European Commission
ICA Fines two Cartels in Ready-Mix Concrete Sector* On 25 March 2015, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) found that eight ready-mix concrete manufacturers and a consultancy firm infringed Article 101 TFEU by operating two price fixing and market allocation agreements in several areas in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines eight ready-mix concrete manufacturers for two cartels and applies its new fining guidelines (Intermodale / General Beton Triveneta / Calcestruzzi / SuperBeton)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
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On 25 March 2015, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined eight ready-mix concrete manufacturers. The ICA imposed penalties of more than EUR12.5 million as a result of establishing price fixing and market allocation in the Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) region. The investigation was opened (...)

The EU Court of Justice considers that the bilateral exchange between importers of pre-pricing information relating to the weekly quotation prices to a concerted practice with the object of restricting competition in breach of article 101 TFEU (Banana Cartel)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
In its ruling of 19 March 2015 (Case C-286/13P) relating to the banana cartel, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) dismissed the appeal by banana importer Dole against the General Court’s judgment in its entirety. The CJEU agreed with the Commission’s findings, supported by the General Court, (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the General Court was correct in finding that the exchange of pre-pricing information was a restriction of competition by object under Art. 101 TFEU (Dole)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Appeal in banana cartel results in confirmation that the analysis of bilateral information exchange as an object infringement by Commission and General Court was correct. In Brief In its judgment on 19 March 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) concluded that Dole’s appeal (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority fines an association of estate and lettings agents, three of its members and a newspaper publisher for implementing an anticompetitive agreement following a settlement proceedings (Castles / Hamptons International / Waterfords)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Companies fined over £775,000 in CMA investigation into advertising of agents’ fees* An association of estate and lettings agents in Hampshire, three of its members and a newspaper publisher have admitted breaching competition law and have agreed to pay penalties totalling over £775,000. The (...)

A Norwegian Court of Appeals upholds that a joint bid submitted under a public tender constituted an anti-competitive agreement by object (Ski Taxi, Follo Taxisentral, Ski Follo Taxidrift)
Wikborg Rein (Oslo)
Joint bid labelled ‘by object’ infringement* Appeals court upheld decision against local taxi cooperatives’ bidding consortium In a judgment of 17 March 2015, Borgarting appeals court in Oslo upheld the Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision against two local taxi cooperatives and a jointly (...)

The US DOJ and the New York State Office of the Attorney General settle with tour bus operators, requiring them to pay $7.5 million for implementing barriers to entry (Coach USA, City Sights, Twin America)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
NYC Sightseeing Companies Settle with Federal and State Authorities* On March 17, 2015, two New York City-based tour bus operators agreed to settle allegations that they conspired to monopolize New York’s hop-on, hop-off sightseeing market between 2009 and 2015. Coach USA Inc. (“Coach”), City (...)

The US Supreme Court is given the possibility to clarify the application of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvement Act (Motorola / AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Supreme Court Has Opportunity to Clarify Application of Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act* Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court was asked, in parallel petitions, to resolve a split between the Seventh Circuit and the Ninth Circuit on the application of the federal antitrust laws to a (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission examines whether tobacco manufacturers impede competition in the market of tobacco distribution (Papastratos Cigarette Manufacturing Company, British American Tobacco Hellas)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Investigation of complaints by tobacco distributors against tobacco manufacturers and review of proposed commitments by tobacco manufacturers to meet competition concerns expressed to them by the HCC in its preliminary assessment* The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), in plenary, will (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines once more several cartellists for failure to pay administrative fines (Okeanrybflot)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Unwillingness to pay results in new fines* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) opened administrative proceedings against “Okeanrybflot” OJSC, “Ostrov Sakhalin” CJSC and “Polluks” Ltd. According to the Antimonopoly Service, the companies failed to pay administrative fines (Part 1 Article (...)

The French Competition Authority fines an anti-competitive agreement concerning dairy products sold under retailers’ private labels (Yoghurt cartel)
European Commission
French Competition Authority Imposes € 192.7 Million in Fines for Anti-competitive Agreement Concerning Dairy Products Sold under Retailers’ Private Labels* The Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) issued on 12 March 2015 a decision finding 10 dairy producers guilty of entering into an (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions an anti-competitive agreement on dairy products sold under retailers’ private labels (Yoghurt cartel)
HeplerBroom (Saint Louis)
This article presents an analysis of the manner in which France’s Competition Authority built a case against France’s yogurt cartel, with a particular focus on the primary documents that proved the elements of the conspiracy. Changing creameries : A look inside France’s yogurt cartel In early (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes a €192.7 million fine on yoghurt producers for a cartel regarding retailer-branded dairy products (Yoghurt cartel)
Stephenson Harwood (London)
Background Between 2007 and 2009, milk producers faced a severe crisis due to strong variations in the price at which they could produce milk. This impacted input prices for dairy products producers in France, most of which are bound by purchase agreements with milk producers. Sales to (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes fines on several producers of fresh dairy for cartel (Yoghurt cartel)
French Competition Authority
Cartel in the fresh dairy products sector (yoghurts, fromages blancs, milk-based desserts, etc.)* The Autorité de la concurrence fines €192.7 million an anticompetitive agreement on dairy products sold under retail private labels The Autorité issues today a decision in which it finds the (...)

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice finds nine defendants not guilty on 60 charges of bid-rigging and conspiracy to rig bids (Durward)
Stikeman Elliott (Ottawa)
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Stikeman Elliott (Ottawa)
Canada’s Competition Bureau loses major bid-rigging case: 60 not guilty verdicts* In a further blow to the track record of the Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in contested criminal trials, on April 27, 2015, a jury in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found (...)

The Russian President signs an amendment introducing changes to the Criminal Code on antitrust violations
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Russia Amends Criminal Code on Antitrust Violations* Russia has amended its criminal code on cartels, signaling a major change in antitrust law enforcement. On March 8, 2015, President Vladimir Putin signed a Federal Law “introducing changes to Article 178 of the Criminal Code of the Russian (...)

A US District Court rules that it could assume the umbrella theory of antitrust injury is viable for the purposes of determining whether the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction (Boardman / Pacific Seafood)
BakerHostetler (Washington)
Oregon Federal Court Weighs In on Disputed Umbrella Theory of Damages* An Oregon federal court recently relied on the so-called umbrella theory of damages to decide that the plaintiffs had an antitrust injury necessary to pursue an injunction. While this decision has garnered attention for (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that parent companies may be fined for repeated infringements even without being an addressee of the earlier decisions (Versalis)
White & Case (Brussels)
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General Court of the European Union
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 5 March 2015, the European Court of Justice (CoJ) handed down its judgment in Versalis , concerning the increasing of fines for antitrust infringements where a company is found to be a repeat offender. The judgment raises important questions about the respect for the rights of defence in EU (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds Competition Council’s cartel decision in shipping sector (Lithuanian Shipbrokers and Agents Association)
European Commission
Court Upholds Competition Council’s Cartel Decision in Shipping Sector* On 4 March 2015, the Supreme Administrative Court confirmed that the Lithuanian Shipbrokers and Agents Association (the Association) and 32 Association members had concluded an anti-competitive agreement. On 8 December (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines exchange of strategic information in the dairy industry (Danone / Lactalis Iberia / Nestlé)
European Commission
CNMC Imposes Fines of € 88 000 000 in Dairy Industry* On 3 March 2015, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) fined nine companies and two sectoral associations that operate in the raw cow’s milk supply market in Spain a total amount of € 88.2 million for a breach of Article (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court fines a mineral waters supplier for vertical agreements fixing prices (Vöslauer Mineralwasser)
European Commission
Fine for Vertical Agreement in Non-alcoholic Beverages Sector* On 3 March 2015, upon application of the BWB, the Cartel Court imposed a € 653 775 fine on Vöslauer Mineralwasser AG for vertical agreements fixing prices (RPM) with several retailers from January 2007 to December 2012 in the area of (...)

The Slovakian Antimonopoly Office publishes document on its priority setting with regard to vertical agreements restricting competition by object
European Commission
AMO Publishes Document on its Priority Setting with Regard to Vertical Agreements Restricting Competition by Object ("Hard-Core Restrictions")* On 1 March 2015, the Antimonopoly Office (AMO) issued a document on vertical agreements with the aim to inform companies of its priority setting with (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Canadian Competition Tribunal holds that the exit of a dominant firm from the relevant market does not end an abuse of dominance claim (Direct Energy)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Not out of hot water: Direct Energy’s exit does not end abuse case* Direct Energy’s exit from the hot water heater rental market did not turn down the heat from the Commissioner The exit of a respondent in an abuse of dominance case does not mean the case cannot continue, the Competition (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a fine for abuse of dominance to one of the most important undertakings in the aviation industry in Italy (SEA – Società Esercizi Areoportuali)
University of London - School of Economics Birkbeck College
On the 25th of March 2015 the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority”) fined SEA – Società Esercizi Areoportuali S.p.A. (“SEA”) for abuse of dominant position due to anticompetitive conducts that were carried out against Cedicor Sociedad Anonima (“Cedicor”) within the context of a public (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority imposes fines on a retailer for abuse of dominance (Auchan)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
More than 1 billion HUF fine on Auchan for abusing its significant market power* The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH - Hungarian Competition Authority) in its decision on 23 March 2015 imposed a total fine of 1.061.300.000 HUF (3.6 million Euro) on Auchan Magyarország Kft. for infringing Act CLXIV (...)

The Mexican Competition Commission accepts the remedies proposed by a dominant association in the market of the production of avocados (APEAM)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
COFECE Resolution Will Allow Haas Avocado Exportation to the U.S.A. for all Packers in Mexico* • The APEAM agreed to eliminate anticompetitive practices that imposed barriers on Hass avocado exports to the U.S.A. • COFECE will survey the APEAM’s strict compliance with proposed remedies. Mexico (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority converts into mandatory conditions the commitments proposed by a car manufacturer in the market of motor vehicle warranties (Peugeot)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The PCA converts into mandatory conditions the commitments presented by Peugeot Portugal regarding motor vehicle warranties* The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) converts into mandatory conditions all the commitments presented by Peugeot Portugal Automóveis, S.A. (Peugeot), in order to (...)

A US Court of Appeals formulates a more rigorous analytical framework to separate anticompetitive price bundles from bundles that simply indicate vigorous competition (Collins Inkjet / Eastman Kodak)
BakerHostetler (Washington)
Fit to Be Tied: Appeals Court Redefines Tying Arrangements Based on Bundled Pricing* Corporate antitrust compliance programs often spotlight the dangers of tying arrangements. Those risks arise when a seller with a dominant position in one product coerces its customers by offering that (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the sixth circuit applies cost screen to tying by differential pricing (Collins Inkjet / Eastman Kodak)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Sixth Circuit Applies Cost Screen to Tying by Differential Pricing* In Collins Inkjet Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., No. 14-3306 (6th Cir. March 16, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that differential pricing – charging more for one product when the customer does not also (...)

The Lisbon Court of Appeal upholds the decision of the Portuguese Competition Authority against a sport channels for abuse of dominance in the market of conditional-access premium sports TV channels (Sport TV)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
Portuguese Competition Authority’s decision against Sport TV confirmed by the Lisbon Court of Appeal* The Lisbon Court of Appeal confirmed the Portuguese Competition Authority’s (PCA) decision against Sport TV for abusing its dominant position in the market of conditional-access premium sports (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau takes car rental companies to court for misinformation and unattainable advertised prices (Avis, Budget)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Why Car Rentals Cost More Than Advertised: Avis and Budget Taken To Task By Competition Bureau* Canada’s Competition Bureau is accusing Avis and Budget of misleading consumers into thinking their rental car prices are lower than they actually are. The Bureau claims that prices are much higher (...)

The Lisbon Appeal Court confirms 2.7 million EUR fine for discriminatory pricing under Art. 102 national equivalent, and revolutionizes access to information for third parties (Sport TV)
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
On 11 March 2015, the Lisbon Appeal Court (LAC) rejected all arguments put forward by the appellant and confirmed the judgment of the Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court (CSRC) of 4 June 2014, which had, in turn, confirmed (with a reduction of the fine, from 3.7 to 2.7 million EUR) (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits the operator of factory outlet center to use radius clauses, equivalent to non-compete clauses, in its lease contracts if these extend beyond a 50 km air radius and a term of five years (VR Franconia)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt prohibits non-compete clauses imposed on tenants in factory outlet center* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited the operator of Wertheim Village Factory Outlet Center, VR Franconia GmbH, from using so-called radius clauses in its lease contracts with brand product manufacturers (...)

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland upholds antitrust action against patent troll (Intellectual Ventures / Capital One)
Rutgers University
On March 2, 2015, Judge Paul W. Grimm of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland offered a wide-ranging analysis of antitrust claims against the conduct of famous “patent troll” Intellectual Ventures (IV) . IV sued Capital One for patent infringement, Capital One sought to amend its (...)

The China’s NDRC imposes changes in licensing practices (Qualcomm)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On March 2, 2015, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), the agency responsible for investigating price-related violations of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (the “AML”), published a decision (the “NDRC Decision”) regarding its investigation into alleged anticompetitive conduct by (...)

Mergers

The Bundeskartellamt blocks a merger between two food retailers with a strong position in different regional German markets as it would impede effective competition in the food retail market (Kaiser’s Tengelmann / Edeka)
Berlin School of Economics and Law
At the beginning of April 2015, the Bundeskartellamt blocked the merger between Edeka and Kaiser’s Tengelmann ("Tengelmann"), which had been notified in October 2014. In the proposed merger, Edeka intends to acquire approximately 450 outlets of Tengelmann. Both companies are food retailers with (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger following an in-depth investigation (Zimmer / Biomet)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Introduction On 30 March 2015, the European Commission conditionally cleared Zimmer’s acquisition of Biomet, following an in-depth investigation. Zimmer and Biomet are two of the five leading competitors in the medical implants industry. The transaction was initially notified on 3 June 2014, (...)

The Competition Commission of India approves a merger subject to remedies between two global players in the business of manufacture and retail of cement (Holcim / Lafarge)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Introduction Following one year of rigorous investigation and review process, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the Holcim-Lafarge merger on 30 March, 2015 . CCI granted the final approval subject to the incorporation of certain remedies to the proposed merger. The merger (...)

The Competition Commission of India imposes a structural remedy while approving an acquisition agreement between two multinational cement firms (Holcim / Lafarge)
University of Delhi
In a recent decision (technically known as an ‘Order’), delivered on 30 March 2015, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved an agreement whereby the multinational cement manufacturer Holcim would acquire all the outstanding shares of another large cement multinational, Lafarge. India’s (...)

The COMESA Council of Ministers adopt amendments to their supranational merger control regime
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The supranational merger control regime of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ("COMESA") has been fully operational since 14 January 2013. The COMESA merger control regime is largely governed by the COMESA Competition Regulations 2004 ("Regulations") and is enforced by the COMESA (...)

The COMESA Council of Ministers adopts amendments to merger control rules
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
New filing thresholds, guidance on calculating them, a reduction in fees and the introduction of a Notification Form agreed at COMESA summit. In Brief: On 09 April 2015, the COMESA Competition Commission announced that the COMESA Council of Ministers had adopted several amendments to the (...)

The Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa adopts an amendment to the COMESA competition rules on the determination of merger notification thresholds
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Updated Merger Filing Rules in COMESA* The Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (“COMESA”) has adopted an amendment to the COMESA Competition Rules on the Determination of Merger Notification Thresholds. Companies now have greater clarity as to when they will (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority clears provisionally a merger in the insurance sector (Xchanging / Agencyport)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
CMA provisionally clears specialist insurance merger* The CMA has provisionally cleared the completed acquisition by Xchanging of certain companies comprising all of the European operations of Agencyport. Xchanging plc (Xchanging) and Agencyport Software Group (Agencyport) supply specialist (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a partial acquisition in the market of the production and repair armoured vehicles (Diehl Defence Land Systems / Krauss-Maffei Wegmann)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt clears partial acquisition of Diehl Defence Land Systems GmbH by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann* In the first phase of merger control the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the planned acquisition of a part of Diehl Defence Land Systems GmbH, Freisen, by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. (...)

The Latvian Competition Council imposes fines on fuel dealers for the late notification of a merger (LUKoil Baltija R / Akselss)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC fines Fuel Dealers for Unnotified Merger* On 12 March, the Competition Council (CC) fined fuel dealers – SIA LUKoil Baltija R and SIA Akselss – for not submitting a merger notification timely. Both undertakings secretly operated as one undertaking since December, 2010, while a merger (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority declares the extinction of the merger proceedings following an in-depth investigation in the field of outdoor advertising (JCDecaux / Cemusa)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The PCA declared the extinction of the proceedings of the JCDecaux/Cemusa merger* On March 19, 2015, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) declared the extinction of the merger proceedings concerning the acquisition of sole control of Cemusa by JCDecaux, in the field of outdoor (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore takes a provisional decision to block a proposed acquisition in the radiology and imaging services sector (RadLink-Asia / Fortis Singapore)
Allen & Gledhill
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Allen & Gledhill (Singapore)
On 16 March 2015, the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) announced that it had taken a provisional decision to block the proposed acquisition of RadLink-Asia Pte Limited (“RadLink”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Healthcare Singapore Pte. Limited (“Fortis Singapore”) by Medi-Rad (...)

The US DOJ obtains disgorgement of profits for illegally consummated merger in the sector of city sightseeing by bus (Coach USA, City Sights, Twin America)
Doyle, Barlow & Mazard
DOJ Obtains Disgorgement of Profits for Illegally Consummated Merger* On March 16, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and New York State Attorney General announced that they reached a settlement with Coach USA Inc., City Sights LLC and their joint venture, Twin America LLC, to remedy (...)

The Italian Competition Authority changes the turnover threshold beyond which a merger must be notified
Italian Competition Authority
Prior notifications of mergers and acquisitions: updating of turnover thresholds* The Competition Authority has resolved that as from 16 March 2015 the thresholds beyond which prior notification must be submitted for all acquisitions and mergers is raised to 492 million euro for the aggregate (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a merger in the rail freight market (PKP Cargo / Advanced World Transport)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
UOKiK clears PKP Cargo to take over advanced world transport* Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has cleared PKP Cargo, Polish railway freight transport operator, to take over rail freight services provider Advanced World Transport. The Authority’s analysis concluded (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority decides not to oppose an acquisition in the cheese and dairy industry in phase two, unconditionally (Arla Foods / Atria Sverige)
Vinge (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority decided, on 11 March 2015, not to oppose Arla Foods AB’s (“Arla Foods”) acquisition of Atria Sverige AB’s (“Atria”) business in the cheese and dairy industry under the brand “Falbygdens Ost”. Following an in-depth, phase two, investigation the acquisition was cleared (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission clears, following an in-depth investigation, a merger in the market for the production and distribution of beer in Greece (Mythos Brewery / Olympic Brewery)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The HCC clears the notified merger between Mythos Brewery (a subsidiary of Carlsberg Breweries) and Olympic Brewery * By its unanimous Decision 606/2015, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved, on the basis of Art. 8, para. 6 of the Greek Competition Act, the notified (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens Phase II proceedings on hostile takeover bid over 100% (EI Towers / Rai Way)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
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Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its decision of 10 March 2015, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA” or the “Authority”) decided to open Phase II proceedings in relation to the merger notified on 25 February consisting of EI Towers S.p.A.’s (“EI Towers”) hostile takeover bid over 100% of Rai Way S.p.A.’s (“Rai Way” (...)

The EU General Court upholds a Commission decision to prohibit a merger of two stock exchanges of financial derivatives (NYSE Euronext / Deutsche Börse)
Clifford Chance (Madrid)
Background information The ruling of the EU General Court of 9 March 2015 has fully upheld the decision in which the European Commission (the “Commission”) blocked the concentration between NYSE Euronext (“NYX”) and Deutsche Börse. NYX is a U.S holding formed in 2007 through the merger of NYSE (...)

The Polish Competition Authority accepts several merger remedies and clears two acquisitions in the sector of grocery stores (Auchan)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Auchan to implement conditions, Proceed with merger* Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has approved two transactions that will allow Auchan Polska to implement the conditions required for it to proceed with its acquisition of the Real company. Both mergers involve (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau clears a transaction in the media sector revealing a possible shift in the Bureau’s analytical framework for media mergers (TVA Group / Transcontinental)
Stikeman Elliott (Toronto)
Media mergers and the Competition Bureau: Is the medium the market?* The rapid growth of digital media in recent years and the simultaneous pressures on traditional media have led to a number of fascinating media transactions in which the Competition Bureau has had to confront the difficult (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court explains that the fact that undertakings are obliged by law to comply with certain tests does not justify the subsidisation of their costs with public funds (Belgium)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Do Free but Compulsory Tests Confer a Selective Advantage?* State aid rules apply to measures which are either harmonised at EU level or are left to the discretion of Member States. The protection of public health is no sufficient reason for removing a public measure from the scope of Article (...)

The EU Court of Justice and General Court explain how to determine whether state guarantees constitute State aid and, if yes, how much aid is involved (Banco Privado Português)
College of Europe (Bruges)
State Guarantees* The amount of State aid in a guarantee that makes possible the granting of a loan to a well-collateralised firm in difficulty is not the difference in premium but the difference in interest rates. Beneficiaries of guarantees not notified to the Commission do not have any (...)

The EU Court of Justice reminds that a new State guarantee must be notified, and when it is not, its beneficiaries do not have remedies under EU Law (OTP Bank Nyrt / Magyar Állam)
European University Institute (Florence)
In Brief: Case C‑672/13, OTP Bank Nyrt v Magyar Állam, Magyar Államkincstár,* In Case C‑672/13 OTP Bank the CJEU responded to preliminary ruling questions from the Hungarian Fővárosi Törvényszék relating to the categorisation of an agency agreement concluded in 2008 between the the Ministry of Local (...)

The European Commission agrees that where there is a constitutional division of tax competences, different authorities may tax similar activities at different rates (Spain)
College of Europe (Bruges)
A National Measure that Does Not Apply at Regional Level Is Not Necessarily Selective* Where there is a constitutional division of tax competences, different authorities may tax similar activities at different rates. Introduction This article examines Commission decision SA.34469 on (...)

The EU Commission closes an investigation regarding a State aid scheme and proves that it will pursue ex post monitoring vigorously (Enterprise Capital Funds)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Ex post Monitoring of a Risk Capital Fund* Ex post monitoring will be pursued vigorously by the Commission. Irregularities in the implementation of State aid measures may lead to the opening of the formal investigation procedure. Introduction This article examines Commission decision (...)

Procedures

The UK Parliament provides powers for the Competition and Markets Authority to approve voluntary redress schemes
University of East Anglia - CCP
Why harmed consumers may be more satisfied in the future – the CMA’s new redress scheme* In an earlier blog post I wrote about the new opt-out collective action regime introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This is not the only measure that is to help consumers and other injured parties to (...)

The Italian Council of State sheds light on the scope of parties’ right of access to confidential documents held by the Competition Authority for the purpose of their defense in civil proceedings (Esso Italiana)
Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
Introduction By judgment n. 1585/2015 of 25 March 2015, the Italian Council of State (Consiglio di Stato, hereinafter “CoS”), upheld the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter “ICA”) not to grant Esso Italiana S.r.l. (hereinafter (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority adopts an advocacy opinion on the legal framework regulating "must carry" obligations introduced for the purposes of the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television
European Commission
*Article originally published in ECN Brief 02/2015 (click here), under the title: "CPC Adopts Advocacy Opinion on Digital Terrestrial Television". Please note that the ECN is not the actual author of this article and that the articles published in the ECN Brief are subject to a disclaimer. (...)

The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition considers that minimum and maximum prices in the taxi services sector restrict competition
European Commission
CPC Recommends Discontinuing Price Regulation for Taxi Services* In an advocacy opinion adopted on 18 March 2015, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) considers that minimum and maximum prices in the taxi services sector restrict competition. It recommends repealing the provisions (...)

The Czech Antitrust Office announces that it will recommence dawn raids
BPV Braun Partners
The Prohibition on Dawn Raids in the Czech Republic has Ended* Last autumn, the Czech Antitrust Office had announced that it halted its dawn raids. The decision came from – what many felt – was a surprise decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) dated 2 October 2014 (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal holds that interveners may be in the same position as appellants, and that the test for admitting new grounds is substantially the same as that for fresh evidence (British Telecommunications / Ofcom)
Blackstone Chambers
Fresh grounds and evidence before the CAT* On the face of it, BT was the main winner in this week’s ruling from the Competition Appeal Tribunal: see British Telecommunications plc v Office of Communications [2015] CAT 6. However, the decision, which makes interesting comments on the rights of (...)

The Russian Competition Authority publishes a new order on analyzing the state of competition on the markets
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
A new version of FAS Order on analyzing the state of competition on the markets came into effect* On 15 March 2015 came into force No. 33/15 FAS Order “On Introducing Changes to the Procedure for Analyzing the State of Competition on the Markets Approved by No. 220 Order of the Federal (...)

The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition advocates the removal of unjustified restrictions on collection of household ferrous scrap
European Commission
CPC Advocates for Removing Unjustified Restrictions on Collection of Household Ferrous Scrap* On 11 March 2015, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an advocacy opinion on the Waste Management Law (WML), focusing on ferrous scrap (Decision 220). The WML provides that (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission issues a Notice on the treatment of confidential information of cases and on the submission of the non-confidential version of documents
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Commission Notice on the treatment of confidential information of cases and on the submission of the non-confidential version of documents* The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has issued a Notice on the meaning and treatment of confidential information of cases falling within the ambit (...)

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