May 2014

Anticompetitive practices

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the decision of the Russian Competition Authority having fined an undertaking for bid-rigging (Rosta)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Cassation Court confirmed legitimacy of fining “Rosta” CJSC 201 million RUB* On 19th June 2014, the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District dismissed a cassation appeal of “Rosta” CJSC to abolish a determination of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) that had held the company (...)

The Romanian Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation upholds Authority’s decision on bid rigging in gas sector (Moldocor / T.M.U.C.B.)
European Commission
Romania: The Romanian Courts uphold Authority’s Decision on Bid Rigging in Gas Sector* In a ruling of June 2014, the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation (SCJC) confirmed a 2012 decision of the Romanian Competition Council which found that S.C. Moldocor S.A. (Moldocor) had rigged bids in (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority publishes guidelines on mobile communication network sharing agreements
European Commission
Romania: Guidelines on Mobile Communication Network Sharing Agreements published* In June 2014, the Romanian Competition Council (RCC) released the ‘Guidelines for the interpretation and application of article 5(2) of the Competition Law no. 21/1996 republished, as subsequently amended, on (...)

A US District Court receives a complaint on an allegation of anticompetitive agreements to exclude the plaintiff from the market for ownership of professional basketball franchises (Donald Sterling / NBA)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Basketball, Surreptitious Recordings, and Antitrust* Donald Sterling — yes, that Donald Sterling — filed an antitrust lawsuit a few days ago against the National Basketball Association. You can download a copy here: Sterling Antitrust Complaint. It’s not clear if the complaint has now been (...)

The Irish Competition Authority obtains an undertaking from the Irish Medical Association (The Irish Medical Organization)
Queen’s University Belfast
On May 28, 2014 the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) provided an undertaking to the Irish High Court that the Medical Association would not: organise or recommend the collective withdrawal of services or boycotts by its members (i) as a means of influencing the Minister for Health and/or the (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer initiates proceedings against two egg producing companies and the national industry body for an attempt to induce participation in a cartel (AECL)
University of New South Wales
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). ACCC cracks down on eggsplosive cartel attempt* In egg-citing news out of the Federal Court this week, the ACCC has instituted proceedings against two egg producing companies and the industry (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority welcomes undertaking by a sportive association not to suspend or fine members who participate in competing events (Bodybuilding Association)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Swedish Bodybuilding Association changes its application of loyalty clause* The Swedish Competition Authority welcomes the Swedish Bodybuilding Association’s (SKKF) confirmation that it will not suspend or fine members who participate in competing events. The Swedish Competition Authority has (...)

The Irish High Court Competition receives an agreement containing undertakings of a medical association not to engage in anticompetitive behaviour (IMO)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Antitrust & Associations: Two Association Related Output Restriction Cases – One Settling (Doctors), the Other Starting Up (Eggs)* On my media sweep earlier, two interesting trade association cases caught my eye, both including allegations of “output restriction” or “boycott” type activities. (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority announces commencement of proceedings in the Federal Court on the allegation of attempt to build a cartel affecting the availability of eggs on the retail market (AECL)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Antitrust & Associations: Two Association Related Output Restriction Cases – One Settling (Doctors), the Other Starting Up (Eggs)* On my media sweep earlier, two interesting trade association cases caught my eye, both including allegations of “output restriction” or “boycott” type activities. (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority takes action against a cartel on the retail market for eggs (AECL)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC takes action following alleged egg cartel attempt* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against: the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL); Mr James Kellaway, the managing director of AECL; two egg (...)

The Irish High Court Competition files a settlement accepted by a medical association not to engage in boycotts or collective withdrawal of services (IMO)
Irish Competition Authority
Competition Authority secures High Court undertakings from the Irish Medical Organisation* The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has today provided undertakings to the High Court (i) not to organise or recommend the collective withdrawal of services or boycotts by its members and (ii) to advise (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore fines four Japanese ball bearings manufacturers and their Singapore subsidiaries for an anticompetitive agreement (Ball Bearings Case)
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
Introduction Happy New Year all! We start the year with a coverage of key developments in competition law in Singapore over the past year, and discuss the likely trends looking forward to 2015. We also touch on the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (“AEC”), which is expected to come into force (...)

The Ankara Administrative Court rules that the Fining Guidelines of the Turkish Competition Authority violate the hierarchy of norms in the Turkish legal system (MPS Metal/Bekap Metal)
University of Sussex
This study analyses the judgment of the Ankara Administrative Court in which it has annulled the decision of Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) to impose fines on MPS Metal and Bekap Metal for bid rigging, price coordination and exchange of information in the market for packaging steel straps (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore issues first infringement decision in relation to an international cartel (CCS /Ball and roller bearings manufacturers)
BHP Billiton (Singapore)
On 27 May 2014, the Competition Commission of Singapore (the “CCS”) announced that it had issued an infringement decision, and imposed total financial penalties amounting to over S$9 million, against four Japanese bearings manufacturers and their Singapore subsidiaries (collectively, the (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Council renders binding commitments offered by chamber of experts abandoning use of hourly fees (Chamber of experts)
European Commission
Luxembourg: The Competition Council renders binding Commitments offered by Chamber of Experts abandoning Use of hourly Fees* By decision of 26 May 2014, the Competition Council accepted the commitments offered by the Chamber of Experts of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (CEL) and closed the (...)

The Mexican Congress approves a new Federal Economic Competition Law
Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
A new Federal Economic Competition Law recently approved by the Mexican Congress is to become effective on July 7, 2014. The new law comes after an amendment to Article 28 of the Mexican federal constitution, which bans monopolies and monopolistic practices and seeks to strengthen competition (...)

The European Court of Justice dismisses appeals the in industrial bags cartel case (FLSmidth, Plasticos Espanoles)
Van Bael & Bellis
In judgments handed down on 30 April and 22 May 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed appeals brought by FLSmidth, Plasticos Españoles SA (ASPLA) and ASPLA’s parent company Armando Álvarez (Álvarez) against earlier General Court (GC) judgments in the industrial bags cartel case. In (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority issues a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation of an arrangement for affordable housing for five years (Renewal / Investec Bank)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to authorise agreement for construction of affordable housing* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Renewal SA to sell a section of a development site in Bowden, South Australia to Investec on the condition (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes the antitrust probe into agency agreement in the insurance sector by a commitments decision (Agenti monomandatari)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
In its decision of 20 May 2014 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has accepted the commitments offered by seven major insurance companies to end an antitrust investigation into vertical agreements with their agents. The investigated insurance companies were UnipolSai Assicurazioni, (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes its investigation against eight of the biggest Italian insurance companies with a commitment decision (Mono-mandatory Agents)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
On 20 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA” or “Authority”) closed the investigation it had begun in June 2013 into eight of the biggest Italian insurance companies by issuing a commitment decision . The Authority had opened the investigation to assess whether the vertical agreements (...)

The Indian Competition Appellate Tribunal dismisses appeals concerning an abuse of dominant position (DLF)
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The article examines some of the key interpretational issues arising from the Competition Appellate Tribunal’s (“COMPAT”) decision which dismissed the appeals filed by M/s. DLF Ltd. (“DLF”), against the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) . DLF had filed this appeal challenging the orders of the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority establishes anti-competitive behaviour consisting in price fixing and market sharing during the tender for a complex measuring of thermal stations (Geoservice)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Fines imposed for restrictive practices* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) established that GEO-LOG Környezetvédelmi és Geofizikai Kft. (GEO-LOG), and “GEOSERVICE” Geofizikai, Geológiai és Kútszelvényező Kft. (GEOSERVICE) had breached competition rules by concluding integrated, complex and (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes a fine of € 290 000 on a manufacturer of building insulation materials for resale price maintenance and exchange of information (Swisspor)
European Commission
Austria: New Decision imposing Fines in Building Insulation Case* On 16 May 2014, the Cartel Court imposed a fine of € 290 000 on Swisspor, a manufacturer of building insulation materials, for infringing Article 101 TFEU and § 1 Austrian Cartel Act. The Court found that the undertaking (...)

The French Court of Appeal upholds an appeal against a fine imposed by the French competition authority for price fixing in the endive market (CERAFEL)
University of New South Wales
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). Lettuce leaf them alone Last month, the French Court of Appeal upheld an appeal against a fine imposed by the French competition authority for price fixing in the endive market. The endive (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority issues a draft determination proposing to allow royalty managers for plant breeders to collectively negotiate with the grain buyers (Seedvise)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to authorise plant breeders’ collective bargaining arrangements* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to allow royalty managers for plant breeders to collectively negotiate with the grain buyers they engage to collect (...)

The Slovak National Council introduces a whistleblower program in the context of a substantial amendment of the competition act
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
Introduction Slovakia introduced a Whistleblower Program with the effect from 1 July 2014. The program represents a new institute under Slovak law as previously competition law did not include any financial (or other) reward for whistleblowers. Slovak competition law applies only to (...)

The General Court reduces the fine imposed by the Commission to several undertakings participating to a cartel in the chemistry sector (Donau Chemie)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 14 May 2014, the General Court (GC) handed down a judgment reducing the fine imposed by the Commission on Donau Chemie in the calcium and magnesium reagents cartel. In its decision of 22 July 2009, the Commission had imposed fines totalling € 61 million on nine undertakings for having (...)

The Australian Federal Court imposes a penalty of $3 million against a supplier of ball bearings for engaging in cartel conduct (NSK)
University of New South Wales
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). ACCC bears down on cartels* On 13 May 2014, the Federal Court imposed a penalty of $3 million against NSK Australia, a supplier of ball bearings, for engaging in cartel conduct. The proceedings (...)

The Australian Federal Court orders by consent payment of penalties for involvement in cartel conduct in relation to the price of bearings (Nachi / Koyo)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
$3 million penalty for bearings cartel conduct* The Federal Court has today ordered by consent that NSK Australia Pty Ltd (NSK Australia) pay total penalties of $3 million for its involvement in cartel conduct in relation to the price of bearings in Australia, in proceedings brought by the (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority lodges a cross-appeal in relation to a judgment of the Federal Court ordering penalties for attempt to enter into anti-competitive arrangements with three international airlines (Flight Centre)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC cross-appeals penalty judgment against Flight Centre* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has on 8 May 2014 lodged a cross-appeal in relation to a penalty judgment of the Federal Court on 28 March 2014 ordering Flight Centre Limited (Flight Centre) to pay penalties (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York further cements the Second Circuit courts’ position in favor of not requiring market power in order to establish a vertical restraint (American Express)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
Eastern District of New York Declines to Make Market Power a Requirement in Vertical Restraint Cases In United States v. American Express Co., et al., Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis held that, in the absence of further direction from the Supreme Court or the Second (...)

The Italian administrative court of first instance annuls the decision of the Italian Competition Authority that fined ferry operators for a concerted practice because it failed to meet the burden of the proof (Moby, GNV, SNAV and Marinvest)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
On 7 May 2014 the administrative court of first instance with jurisdiction on antitrust cases (TAR Lazio) annulled the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) . The ICA had fined ferry operators Moby, GNV and SNAV and Marinvest - the holding company of the latter two -, after it (...)

The Lazio Regional Administrative Tribunal quashes the decision by which the Italian Competition Authority has sanctioned companies for illicit coordination and annuls the fines imposed (Moby, GNV and SVAV)
Comin and Partners
By its decision of 14 June 2013, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) found that in the summer of 2011 the main companies operating passenger ferry services between Italy and Sardinia - namely Moby S.p.A. (“Moby”), GNV and SVAV (together with Moby, “the Companies”) - reached a common (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation for alleged vertical agreements entered into with their partner hotels in violation of Article 101(1) TFEU (Booking.com / Expedia)
NCTM - Studio Legale Associato (Milan)
On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, the “Authority”) launched an investigation against Booking.com BV (hereinafter, “Booking”), Booking.com (Italia) S.r.l., Expedia Inc. (hereinafter, “Expedia”), and Expedia Italy S.r.l. for alleged (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an article 101 TFEU enquiry focused on the most favoured nation clauses (Hotel Online Reservation)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
In the Online Hotel Reservation case the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has launched an Article 101 TFEU investigation into contracts entered by two major online travel agencies (OTA), Expedia and Booking, with their partner hotels. More precisely, the ICA investigation will focus on the (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission launches a new website for the construction industry in order to improve compliance with competition law provisions
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Commerce Commission launches website for construction industry* The Commerce Commission will today launch a new website for the construction industry. The website will help industry members increase their understanding of competition (...)

The Dutch government issues policy directions on the application of the Dutch equivalent of Article 101(3) TFEU in respect of sustainability initiatives
RBB Economics (Brussels)
Art 101(3) and sustainability – new developments in the Netherlands* On 6 May, the Dutch government issued a set of policy directions (“Directions”) to the Dutch competition authority (“ACM”) concerning the application of the Dutch equivalent of Article 101(3) TFEU in respect to sustainability (...)

The federal jury in Puerto Rico acquits former Vice President on charges of conspiring with rivals to fix the prices (Crowley Liner Services)
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Washington)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Washington)
A federal jury’s recent acquittal of a shipping company executive charged with price fixing highlights the challenges and uncertainties the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) faces when defendants force DOJ to prove its case at trial. It also highlights the fact that, when (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau announces criminal charges for involvement in an illegal bid-rigging arrangement relating to the provision of IT services (Library and Archives)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Bid-rigging Cases: Competition Bureau Charges IT Company, 6 Individuals in IT Bid-rigging Case* The Canadian Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced earlier on 2 May 2014 that criminal charges have been laid in a federal government IT contract-related bid-rigging case. According to the Bureau, (...)

The US Federal Trade Commission apprises that it continues to maintain an active antitrust enforcement focus on trade association activity
Sheppard Mullin (New York)
FTC Targeting Trade Associations?* On May 1, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release concerning the antitrust risks involved in trade association activity and cautioned such groups that the Commission continues to maintain an active antitrust enforcement focus on trade association (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Russian Competition Authority wants to eliminate excessive barriers for access of communications providers to residential houses
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS intends to eliminate excessive barriers for access of communications providers to residential houses* The Expert Council of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) on Communications held a session on 26th May 2014. It focused on judicial practice with regard to access of (...)

The Danish Competition Authority conducts a dawn raid in light of a complaint regarding anti-competitive behaviour on the domestic market for payment cards (Teller)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Case against Nets regarding possible abuse of dominance settled with commitments* On 4 December 2012, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) conducted a dawn raid on the company Nets Holding A/S (“Nets”) in light of a complaint regarding anti-competitive behavior in the (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority imposes sanctions for abusive interest rates on overdue payments for water supply in Sofia (Sofiyska voda)
University Paris Dauphine
1. An ex officio investigation into the water utility sector of Sofia led the Bulgarian competition authority, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC), to impose a considerable fine on Sofiyska voda AD for abusive calculation of penalty charges in violation of national competition (...)

The Chinese NDRC announces the suspension of an investigation on abuse of dominance against a US wireless technology developer after receiving detailed commitments (Inter Digital Communications)
AnJie Law (Beijing)
Excessive pricing and standard-essential patents* On May 22 2014, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced the suspension of the investigation against Inter Digital Communications (IDC), a US wireless technology developer, as the company had submitted detailed (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority sanctions as abusive the uniform prices that a monopolistic supplier of heating energy used to charge on its downstream competitors in the heat-measurement sector of Sofia (Toplofikatsia Sofia)
University Paris Dauphine
1. Further to a rather uncommon signal by the Supreme Administrative Public Prosecutor’s Office in July 2013, the Bulgarian competition authority commenced, on its own motion, proceedings against several undertakings active in Sofia’s heating utility sector. The proceedings included on-site (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau does not consider life-cycle management strategies to be inherently anti-competitive (Alcon)
Canadian Competition Tribunal
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Toronto)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Ottawa)
Introduction The Competition Bureau (the Bureau), Canada’s competition watchdog, announced in May 2014 that it was dropping its investigation into the life cycle management strategy used by Alcon Canada Inc. (Alcon) in connection with its Patanol and Pataday products. The Bureau commenced an (...)

The Lazio Administrative Court upholds a fine of €103.8 million for abuse of dominant position in the telecom sector (Telecom Italia)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 May 2014, the Lazio Administrative Court (LAC) handed down its judgment upholding the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) of 9 May 2013, which had imposed a fine of approximately €103.8 million on Telecom Italia for abuse of a dominant position on the Italian (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates antitrust proceedings concerning use of most favored nation clauses in the online hotel reservations space (Booking.com / Expedia)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Italian competition authority investigates online hotel bookings* On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“Agcm”) initiated proceedings (decision only available in Italian) against Booking.com and Expedia in the online hotel reservations space. This is yet another case in the wake of (...)

The Russian Competition Authority issues a warning against a cellular operator prohibiting an abuse of dominance (MTS)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS issued a warning to “MTS” OJSC prohibiting abuses of market dominance* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) investigated a case upon elements of violating the antimonopoly law by “MTS” OJSC. The cellular operator prevented porting the numbers of the Federation Council of the Federal (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau supports the Government’s intention to address unjustified cross-border price discrimination to reduce the gap between consumer prices in Canada and the United States
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New CD Howe Report on Canada/US Price Gap: Tariff and Supply Management Issues (Not Retailer Market Power)* Earlier on 6 May 2014, the C.D. Howe Institute issued a new report on the Canada/U.S. retail price gap issue entitled Sticker Shock: The Causes of the Canada-US Price Differential (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority institutes proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against supermarket chain for exploitative conduct (Coles Supermarkets)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC takes action against Coles for alleged unconscionable conduct towards its suppliers* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd and Grocery Holdings Pty Ltd (together, (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court upholds the decision of the Russian Competition Authority having judged that an undertaking specialized in milk products has created discriminatory conditions for its suppliers (Ashan)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court: “Ashan” created discriminatory conditions for suppliers of milk and milk products* On 6th May 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court confirmed legitimacy of the decision and determination of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) with regard to “Ashan” Ltd. In 2013, the (...)

Mergers

The Danish Competition Council conditionally approves a takeover on the market for audit and tax services (EY / KPMG)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Merger in the audit industry approved with commitments* The Danish Competition Council (DCC) has approved EY’s takeover of KPMG in Denmark, subject to commitments. The purpose of the commitments is to support the reestablishment of KPMG International’s presence in Denmark so that KPMG (...)

The Danish Competition Authority abolishes commitments, which no longer are necessary for competition in the wholesale market for electricity in Western Denmark (DONG Energy / NESA)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council Abolishes a Commitment from DONG Energy* On 28 May 2014 the Danish Competition Council abolished a commitment from a merger between Elsam (now DONG Energy) and Nesa in 2004. The commitment obliged DONG Energy to auction 600 MW electricity generation capacity (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines a company for delay in filing a merger notification (Tesco)
Platinum Partners
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Platinum Partners
On 27 May 2014, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) imposed a penalty of INR 30 million (approximately USD 0.5 million) on Tesco Overseas Investments Limited (“Tesco”) for delay in filing a merger notification. This is the highest penalty that the CCI has levied so far for a delay in (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears a proposed acquisition of joint control of a multi-category retailer who operates two stores in Dublin city centre (Fitzwilliam Finance / Arnotts)
Irish Competition Authority
Competition Authority Clears Acquisition of Arnotts* The Competition Authority has today cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control of Arnotts Holdings Limited by Fitzwilliam Finance Partners Limited/Wittington Investments, Limited and investment funds managed by affiliates of Apollo (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Chinese MOFCOM sign a memorandum of understanding allowing the exchange of information between them subject to confidentiality and privacy requirements in each jurisdiction
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australia and China to increase cooperation on mergers regulation* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) have signed a memorandum of understanding. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the agreement paves the way for (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission does not oppose proposed acquisition of fuel division after accepting an undertaking to sell four retail fuel sites (Caltex / Scotts)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC will not oppose proposed acquisition of the fuel division of the Scotts Group by Caltex following divestiture remedy* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Caltex Australia Limited of the fuel division of the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines two tour operators for gun jumping (Thomas Cook and Sterling)
Platinum Partners
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Platinum Partners
On 21 May 2014, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) imposed a penalty of INR 1 million (approximately USD 0.16 million) on Thomas Cook (India) Limited (“TCIL”), Thomas Cook Insurance Services (India) Limited (“TCISIL”) and Sterling Holidays Resorts (India) Limited (“Sterling”), for (...)

The US FTC approves the 2013 Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notification program, which provides the enforcing agencies with information about large mergers and acquisitions before they occur
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Some Interesting Numbers Regarding Merger Review: The Hart-Scott-Rodino Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013* The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the “HSR Act”) requires that proposed acquisitions of voting securities, assets or non-corporate interests meeting certain (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority allows acquisition by a state-owned company of a national operator in control of the natural gas transmission system (Amber Grid / JSC EPSO-G)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition Council clears acquisition of SC Amber Grid shares by JSC EPSO-G* On 19 May, the Competition Council (the KT) cleared acquisition of 38.9 per cent of SC Amber Grid shares by JSC EPSO-G (all the company’s shares together with already owned ones will amount to 56.6 per cent). Hence, (...)

The Latvian Competition Council concludes a sector inquiry into the market of fuel franchise agreements ( Statoil / Neste / Lukoil)
Competition Council of Latvia
The Competition Council Assessed an Influence of Franchise Agreements to the Competition into the Fuel Market* The Competition Council (CC) of Latvia concluded a sector inquiry into the market of fuel franchise agreements. The aim of the sector inquiry was to obtain the information on (...)

The Irish Parliament Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation debates on amendments proposed with a view to adopting the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill 2014
McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
If it Ain’t Broke, Fix it: Ireland’s Competition Law, Version 2014* It took five years to draft. But now everything’s go!-go!-go! First published late spring 2014, Ireland’s newest competition law reform could be adopted by July. And though planning was long and time for debate is now short, last (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits proposed merger between district clinics and local clinical centre (Esslingen clinics)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt prohibits merger between hospitals in Esslingen* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited plans of the administrative district of Esslingen and the town of Esslingen to merge the Esslingen district clinics (Kreiskliniken Esslingen) with the Esslingen clinical centre (Klinikum (...)

The Italian Administrative Court of first instance orders the recommencement of the awarding of a public selection procedure for a breach of disclosure duty in the telecommunications sector (Telecom Italia, Fastweb, Vitrociset, Consip)
University of London - School of Economics Birkbeck College
On the 13th of May 2014, the Italian Administrative Court of first instance (the “Court”) held a judgment against a Joint-venture that is formed between Fastweb S.p.A. (“Fastweb”) and Vitrociset S.p.A. (“Vitrociset”) for a breach of disclosure duties relating to technical specifications. (...)

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority approves proposed acquisition in the consulting service business (Ramboll / Pöyry)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
FCCA approves Ramboll and Pöyry corporate deal* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCAA) on 13 May 2014 gave its approval to a corporate deal in which the planning and consulting company Ramboll Finland acquires some of the activities of Pöyry Oyj. The corporate deal applies to the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council imposes fines for implementing non-notified mergers and requires the undoing of the takeover on the market for petrol stations (Lukoil Baltija / Baltic Petroleum)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition Council fines Lukoil 11 817 700 LTL for implementing non-notified mergers* On 12 May, the Competition Council (the KT) fined UAB Lukoil Baltija 11 817 700 LTL ( ̴ 3 422 642 EUR) for implementing non-notified mergers and obligated the company to eliminate the breach. Having (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM reviews a merger in the communication sector, before it is called off because of the length of the merger control review process (Publicis / Omnicom)
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
Advertising giants Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe called off their US$35 billion merger on May 8, 2014, terminating a transaction that would have created the largest advertising company in the world. Publicis chairman, Maurice Lévy, and Omnicom CEO, John Wren, said in a joint statement, “The (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger between the two top-tier suppliers of S-PVC upon submission of significant remedies (INEOS / Solvay / JV)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"INEOS / Solvay / JV: Yet another P(ractically) V(ery) C(omplex) merger"* In a nutshell : Natural experiments are rare in merger assessment. However, previous mergers in the PVC industry made it possible in this case to analyse the effects of consolidation on competition and prices. (...)

The European Commission approves a joint venture in the PVC production sector on the basis of a divestiture (INEOS / Solvay)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 May 2014, the European Commission conditionally cleared the joint venture combining the European chlorvinyls businesses of INEOS of Switzerland and Solvay of Belgium. During an in-depth review of the deal, the Commission expressed concerns regarding two markets: the North West European (...)

The US Department of Justice prohibits a merger between the two leading providers of ratings and reviews platforms that resulted in the elimination of meaningful competition in that sector, despite the fact that the transaction was non reportable (Bazaarvoice / PowerReviews)
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (New York)
If you thought not having to report your proposed acquisition to the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission meant never worrying about antitrust issues, think again. The DOJ’s recent pursuit of Bazaarvoice, Inc. in connection with its acquisition of PowerReviews, Inc. (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority clears an acquisition proposed by leading convenience retailer of a company owning retail petrol station sites in South Australia (BP / Peregrine)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC will not oppose Peregrine’s proposed acquisition of BP petrol station sites in SA* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Peregrine Corporation (Peregrine) of BP Australia’s (BP) company- owned and operated retail petrol station sites (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority finds that the proposed acquisition may lead to restrictions for other companies on the use of the fiber-optic cable network (KPN / Reggefiber)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Further investigation needed into planned acquisition of Reggefiber by KPN* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will launch a more detailed investigation into the planned acquisition of Dutch fiber-optic company Reggefiber by Dutch telecom provider KPN. In 2008, ACM (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission clears acquisition in the insurance sector (Lumley / IAG)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission IAG cleared to buy Lumley* The Commerce Commission has granted clearance to IAG (NZ) Holdings Limited to acquire Lumley General Insurance (N.Z.) Limited. The proposed acquisition forms part of a wider acquisition by IAG’s parent, (...)

State Aid

The European Commission decides that the grant of capital injections to a company facing difficulties in the meaning of the Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines was not covered by regional aid exemptions stipulated by Article 107(3)(a) (Elan)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Capital Injection that Turns out to be Incompatible State Aid* Main points Public authorities and the entities they control need to ensure that injection of public money in an undertaking must satisfy the market economy investor principle, otherwise it will be considered to be State aid. (...)

The EU Commission approves a financial aid for the construction of a multiarena in Copenhagen after finding proof that the measure was both necessary and proportionate to realise the project, as well as sufficiently open to competition (Elitefacilitetsudvalget)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Transparency Is also Needed at the European Commission Level* Main points As more State aid measures in the future will be granted on the basis of the General Block Exemption Regulation, Member States will have to make the aid they grant more (...)

The EU Court of Justice finds failure to fulfil treaty obligations, since the member state did not recover the aid declared unlawful and incompatible with the internal market in a timely and effective manner (Commission / Spain)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog The Cost of not Recovering Incompatible Aid* Main points The Commission is not obliged to quantify precisely the amount of aid that has to be recovered. The Member State that fails to recover incompatible aid or fails to recover all of it risks (...)

The German Government releases a ministerial draft containing grandfathering clauses and providing for a special equalisation scheme for energy intensive companies
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
EEG 2.0: Ministerial Draft on Special Equalisation Scheme for EEG Surcharge Regime for Energy-intensive Companies* A ministerial draft (Referentenentwurf) for the special equalisation scheme for energy intensive companies has been released. The special equalization scheme (besondere (...)

Procedures

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets makes recommendations for improving competition in the banking sector
European Commission
The Netherlands: The Authority for Consumers and Markets makes Recommendations for improving Competition in Banking Sector* In June 2014, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published nine recommendations to lower entry barriers and improve competition in the Dutch retail banking (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy examine a report on the desirability of introducing criminal sanctions for cartel activities
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Report on the Criminalisation of Cartels was Presented to Stakeholders* Yesterday, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE) and the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) organised at the House of the Estates an expert seminar presenting the report on extending personal (...)

A US Court of Appeals affirms on statute of limitations grounds the district court’s dismissal of the Sherman Act and Clayton Act claims related to an allegation of anti-competitive price increase on the market for petroleum wax-based oxidates (Z Technologies / Lubrizol)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Beyond Truth, and Toward Repose: Price Increases Following “Merger to Monopoly” Do Not Rekindle Statute of Limitations* Z Technologies Corp. v. Lubrizol Corp., No. 2:12-cv-12206 (6th Cir., May 23, 2014). In February, 2007, Lubrizol Corporation made a “merger to monopoly” acquisition of the assets (...)

The UK’s High Court strickes out claim for restitution at common law (Lindum)
The University of Manchester
The case arise out the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) decision, dated 21 September 2009 (the Decision), in which the OFT imposed an excessive monetary penalty on Lindum at al. The Decision was open to a statutory appeal. However, the parties did not appeal and the deadline has lapsed. The parties (...)

The English High Court holds that a non-appealing addressee of a penalty decision by the OFT that is successfully challenged by another addressee cannot seek common law restitution (Lindum Construction & Others/OFT)
The University of Manchester
When the Office of Fair Trading (whose functions have, since the dispute in this case arose, been transferred to the new Competition and Markets Authority) issues a penalty decision, the addressees can choose to appeal that decision within two months . In some situations, some of the addressees (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority holds that Competition Act does not apply to the decision of the Parliament (Banca de Economii)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 16 May 2014, the Moldovan competition authority (CC) , completed an examination of the complaint submitted by six private banks concerning the decision of the Parliament to transfer the banking operations of all state institutions and state-owned undertakings to the state-owned bank Banca (...)

The EU General Court dismisses an action for annulment on a claim of excessive length of the proceedings, since the applicant didn’t show any negative consequences impeding the right to fair trial (Reagens)
EFTA Surveillance Authority
Case T-30/10 Reagens SpA v Commission: unsubstantiated pleas and length of proceedings* The General Court’s judgment in Case T-30/10 Reagens SpA v Commission EU:T:2014:253 (alternative link here) doesn’t really break new ground. But it does remind applicants of a few basic truths. In some ways (...)

The European Commission publishes its 2013 report on competition policy focusing on competitiveness
European Commission
European Commission publishes its 2013 Report on Competition Policy focusing on competitiveness* On 6 May 2014, the European Commission published its 2013 Report on Competition Policy, which provides an account of the key policy developments, competition enforcement and advocacy initiatives (...)

Regulatory

The South African Competition Commission outlines and publishes guidelines and statement of issues for market inquiries in the health care sector
Nortons Incorporated
Commission details plans for private healthcare sector inquiry* Further details revealed by Inquiry Panel On Friday, 30 May 2014, subsequent to outlining the time table of the project, the South African Competition Commission released important frameworks for its sectoral inquiry into the (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission clears acquisition of management rights for the final block of 5MHz radio spectrum in the 700MHz range (Telecom / Crown)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Telecom granted clearance to acquire previously unsold radio spectrum block* The Commerce Commission has today granted a clearance to Telecom New Zealand Limited (Telecom) that will enable it to acquire the management rights for the (...)

The Irish Competition Authority secures High Court undertakings required from domestic medical association in order to amend the contract for treatment of public patients (General Medical Service)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Antitrust & Associations: Collective Refusals to Supply – What’s the Deal* Well summer is here and I have to admit that my blog output has slowed a bit (and likely will through the summer). Nevertheless, on my daily media and competition authorities sweep earlier I read what I thought was a (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority reports breaches of the Structural Separation Undertaking containing commitments related to vertical integration in the telecom sector (Telstra)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC reports on breaches of Telstra’s SSU* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s annual report on Telstra’s compliance with its Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU) was tabled in Parliament today. The report outlines a number of occasions during the 2012-13 financial year where (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority carries out an exploratory study into possible risks to competition in the business market for text messaging services
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM sees points for attention in the business text messaging market* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has carried out an exploratory study into possible risks to competition in the business market for text messaging services. Given the conclusions of the study, ACM (...)

The Chinese NDRC and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology jointly issue a notice announcing liberalizing pricing of the telecommunication services
AnJie Law (Beijing)
China Deregulates Pricing in Telecommunication Sector* China has seen another far-reaching step towards deregulating the strictly regulated telecommunication sector. On May 9, 2014, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the P.R.C. (MIIT) and the National Development and Reform (...)

The German Competition Authority concludes an agreement with the utility supplier concerning the extension of the measures to lower the water prices for three more years until 2018 (BWB)
German Competition Authority
Measures to lower water prices in Berlin extended for three more years until 2018* Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB) is to extend measures to lower its water prices as ordered by the Bundeskartellamt for three more years until 2018. This is the result of a settlement between the company and the (...)

Public sector

The Swedish Administrative Court requires the National Competition Authority to comment on a pending case giving its interpretation for the concept of publicly controlled body (Systembolaget)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority: Systembolaget is covered by the procurement rules* The Swedish Competition Authority has been demanded by the Administrative Court in Stockholm to comment on a pending case before the Court. The Swedish Competition Authority finds that Systembolaget is a (...)

The EU General Court issues a convoluted decision regarding accumulation of claims and their degree of specificity in public procurement litigation (European Dynamics / ECB)
European Procurement Law Group
A new European Dynamics challenge rejected: let’s focus on admissibility of claims (T-553/11)* In its Judgment of 23 May 2014 in case T-553/11 European Dynamics Luxembourg v ECB, the General Court (GC) has ruled on yet another challenge filed by European Dynamics (ED) against procurement (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority goes to court claiming procurement fines from a municipality for hiring consultants without previous advertising (Herrljunga)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Herrljunga required to pay procurement fines* Herrljunga municipality has breached procurement rules by continuing to hire employment agency staff for several years without advertising the contracts. The Swedish Competition Authority is now going to court claiming procurement fines of SEK (...)

The Advocate General of the CJEU addresses the matter whether future lease contracts are covered by the EU public procurement secondary law (Impresa Pizzarotti)
European Procurement Law Group
Are future (lease) contracts covered by the EU public procurement directives (C-213/13)* In his Opinion of 15 May 2014 in case C-213/13 Impresa Pizzarotti (not available in English, so the following discussion is based on my reading of the Spanish version), Advocate General Nils Wahl has (...)

The EU Court of Justice establishes that a horizontal in-house acquisition of goods fell within the scope of the procurement directive in force at the relevant time (Datenlotsen Informationssysteme)
European Procurement Law Group
Has Directive 2014/24 come too late for horizontal in-house provision? (C-15/13)* In its recent Judgment in case C-15/13 of 8 May 2014 Datenlotsen Informationssysteme, the CJEU has addressed a so-called ’horizontal’ in-house provision of goods and rejected the proposal of AG Mengozzi to exclude (...)

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