September 2013

Anticompetitive practices

The Chinese NDRC issues rules on internal process involving the imposition of administrative penalties against price monopolies
University of Political Science & Law of China
I. Introduction On September 30, 2013, China’s top price regulator and enforcer in charge of curbing price monopolies, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), issued the Rules on Deliberation and Review Process in Price-Related Administrative Penalty Cases (“Rules”). The Rules are (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission releases discussion paper in cartel immunity policy review
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC releases discussion paper in cartel immunity policy review* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a public discussion paper inviting comment upon several key issues arising from its review of the ACCC Immunity Policy for Cartel Conduct. Given the importance of (...)

The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission investigates and punishes pricing conduct in the tourism industry
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
On 29 September 2013, the NDRC announced that it had conducted a nationwide investigation into pricing conduct in the tourism industry this year. The NDRC, together with its local authorities in Hainan, Yunnan, and other popular tourist destinations investigated price alliances established (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority finds that optimum price system of the multinational producer of hygiene, health and home care products does not amount to resale price maintenance, but its non-competition clauses do not benefit from block exemption (Reckitt Benckiser)
University of Sussex
This study analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that optimum price system of the multinational producer of hygiene, health and home care products, Reckitt Benckiser, did not amount to resale price maintenance, but its non-competition clauses (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority publishes a report on parcel deliveries to consumers
European Commission (Brussels)
Denmark: Expensive to send small Consignments in Denmark* The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) published a report on parcel deliveries to consumers on 27 September 2013. Several providers offer competing services in the Danish market and competition has intensified in recent (...)

The Australian Federal Court establishes that the defendant has been directly knowingly involved in the anticompetitive arrangements and imposes criminal sanctions (Chaste Corporation)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Peter Foster sentenced for contempt of court* The Federal Court has sentenced Peter Foster to three years imprisonment, with 18 months to be served and 18 months suspended, for contempt of court. Justice Logan also placed conditions on Mr Foster’s involvement in the weight loss, cosmetic or (...)

The Advocate General Wathelet proposes to the EU Court of Justice to annul a judgement of the EU General Court in order to force it to exercice its full jurisdiction to review fines imposed by the Commission (Telefónica)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The level of fines imposed by the European Commission in competition cases has attracted controversy for more than ten years. The often deferential approach of the European courts to hearing appeals has also been criticised, but in many cases the courts have largely left untouched the (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority detects bid rigging practices in the public procurement of a state university (Cartdidact, Lexon Prim)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 26 September 2013 the Moldovan competition authority (CC) established that two undertakings Cartdidact SRL and Lexon Prim SRL engaged in bid rigging practices in order to share the relevant market in the context of the public procurement process carried out by the State University of (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority investigates the actions of the Customs Service concerning attribution of tariff positions to certain pharmaceutical products (Serviciul Vamal al Republicii Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 26 September 2013 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) closed its investigation into the alleged anti-competitive actions of the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova concerning the determination of the tariff positions for certain imported pharmaceuticals. The CC’s investigation (...)

The DG Competition states that restrictions of competition by object constitute serious, but not always manifest violations of law
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
The Unintended Consequences of the Case Law on Restrictions by Object* On second thoughts, the recent bad case law on the notion of “restriction by object” may incidentally, and unexpectedly, fetter the margins of the Commission, and in particular its ability to handle all cases under the obese (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority declares that the deal over closing down coal power plants is harmful for the consumer
University of Groningen
Sustainable Competition law; Competition Law Kills Coal Closure Plan, Or Does It?* This post concerns a bit of a Dutch thing, namely the ‘position’ of the Dutch National Competition Authority ACM on an agreement by electricity producers active on the Dutch market, but it is interesting more (...)

The EU Court of Justice acknowledges that two companies can independently from each other exercise decisive influence over their joint venture (EI du Pont de Nemours)
Blackstone Chambers
A family affair: parental liability for joint ventures* It is trite law that a parent company will be liable for antitrust infringements committed by a subsidiary where the parent exercises “decisive influence” over the conduct of the subsidiary. Earlier this year the Court of Justice of the (...)

The US DoJ and FTC heads discuss antitrust enforcement priorities
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
U.S. Agency Heads Discuss Antitrust Enforcement Priorities* Two of the most significant conferences on the antitrust calendar were held last week. Georgetown Law Center featured its Seventh Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium on September 25, and Fordham Law School’s 40th annual (...)

The EU Court of Justice acknowledges that two companies can independently from each other exercise decisive influence over their joint venture (Dow Chemical)
Blackstone Chambers
A family affair: parental liability for joint ventures* It is trite law that a parent company will be liable for antitrust infringements committed by a subsidiary where the parent exercises “decisive influence” over the conduct of the subsidiary. Earlier this year the Court of Justice of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a parent company can be held liable and fined for an antitrust infringement committed by its 50:50 joint venture (Dow Chemical Company)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
50:50 joint ventures – Possibility of parental liability for EU antitrust infringements confirmed* On 26 September 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued two important judgments (Case C-172/12 P, El du Pont de Nemours and Others v Commission and Case C-179/12 P, Dow (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a parent company can be held liable and fined for an antitrust infringement committed by its 50:50 joint venture (El du Pont de Nemours)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
50:50 joint ventures – Possibility of parental liability for EU antitrust infringements confirmed* On 26 September 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued two important judgments (Case C-172/12 P, El du Pont de Nemours and Others v Commission and Case C-179/12 P, Dow (...)

The Qinghai Development and Reform Commission investigates price fixing of vegetables (Garlic Cartel)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
During a campaign to rectify market conduct in the Xining agricultural wholesale and retail market, the Qinghai Development and Reform Commission (Qinghai DRC) found that more than 20 businesses had formed a financing joint venture to control the price of garlic from Zhongmu, Henan Province, (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau publishes revised sets of the Frequently Asked Questions related to its Immunity and Leniency Programs
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Competition Bureau Issues New Immunity and Leniency Program FAQs* The Competition Bureau has issued revised Immunity Program FAQs and Leniency Program FAQs (see: Competition Bureau Publishes Revised Immunity and Leniency FAQs). In making the announcement, relating to the first update to its (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines container transport companies and professional association for anticompetitive agreements (ASEMTRACON)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia fines Container Transport Companies and Professional Association* On 24 September 2013, the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) Council found that the container transport industry association ASEMTRACON as well as several undertakings active (...)

The Chilean Supreme Court decreases fines imposed by the Competition Tribunal in international cartel on the market for refrigerators compressors (Tecumseh)
Chilean Competition Tribunal (Santiago)
On September 24th, 2013, the Chilean Supreme Court issued its judgment on Tecumseh. The Competition Tribunal (“TDLC”) had ruled the case on June 14th, 2012 (sentence 122/2012), condemning Whirpool S.A. for colluding with other firms during 2005-2008, with the aim of fixing prices on the market of (...)

The French Civil Supreme Court misinterprets the Pierre Fabre ECJ jurisprudence and quashes a distribution agreement provision on the basis of Article 101 TFEU (Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
In a decision issued on September 24, 2013, the French Court of Cassation decided a case about vertical restraints involving Pierre Fabre dermo-cosmétique (PFDC) and three of its distributors: Caribéenne de diététique et santé (CDS), Compagnie de diététique du marin (CDM) and Martinique alimentation (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains a significant reduction in the main interbank fees (MasterCard & Visa Cards)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence has obtained a significant reduction in the main interbank fees charged by Mastercard and Visa respectively. With these decisions, the Autorité de la concurrence has completed the (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains significant reduction of main multilateral interchange fees on domestic card transactions (MasterCard and Visa)
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la concurrence obtains significant Reduction of main Multilateral Interchange Fees charged by MasterCard and Visa on Domestic Card Transactions* On 20 September 2013, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) accepted Visa and MasterCard’s binding commitments to reduce (...)

The UK OFT issues statement of objections to sports bra supplier and three department stores for alleged resale price maintenance (DB Apparel, John Lewis, Debenhams Retail and House of Fraser)
European Commission (Brussels)
United Kingdom: The Office of Fair Trading issues Statement of Objections to Sports Bra Supplier and Three UK Department Stores* On 20 September 2013, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a Statement of Objections to a manufacturer of sports bras and three UK department stores alleging (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission opposes fee arrangements by ophthalmologists
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC opposes fee arrangements by ophthalmologists* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided not to allow members of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) to reach agreements within shared practices as to the fees to be charged for ophthalmic services. There (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California dismisses plaintiff’s antitrust claims and ascertains that allegations of harm to competition caused by multiple defendants can’t be aggregated (Orchard Supply Hardware/Home Depot, METCo & Makita)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Allegations of Harm to Competition Caused by Multiple Defendants Can’t be Aggregated* Earlier this year, I covered the case of Orchard Supply Hardware LLC v. Home Depot USA, Inc. . On September 19, 2013, the court (the Northern District of California) issued its decision on defendants’ motion (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority investigates heating cost allocation companies for alleged coordinated behaviour relating to prices (Toplofikacia Sofia, Techem Services, Nelbo, Brunata and Ista Bulgaria)
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission for the Protection of Competition investigates Heating Cost Allocation Companies* On 18 September 2013, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) opened an ex officio investigation pursuant to Article 15 of the Law on Protection of Competition (LPC) and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines several container carrier associations in port of Valencia for market sharing (Container Carrier Associations)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de la Competencia fines several Container Carrier Associations in Port of Valencia* On 18 September 2013, the Comisión Nacional de Competencia (CNC) Council, decided on the case brought by the CNC Investigations Division on 14 June 2011 (S/0314/10) against several (...)

The Botswana Competition Commission refuses to confirm the settlement on the basis of lack of any evidence about the respondent’s involvement in the alleged bid rigging food cartel (Ya Raheem)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Johannesburg)
Due process arguments come to the fore as the Botswana Competition Authority gears itself for enforcement* In September and October, the Botswana Competition Commission (Commission) took its first two rulings on cartel enforcement. Both rulings have a keen (if not almost exhaustive) focus on (...)

The General Court of the European Union recalls the principle of the accessory character of the liability of parent companies for the anticompetitive actions of their subsidiaries (Roca Sanitario, Laufen Austria, Roca and Keramag Keramische)
Dunaud Clarenc Combles & Associés
,
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
In the context of appeals lodged against the decision of the European Commission (the Commission) in the area of bathroom fittings, the General Court of the European Union (the General Court) took the occasion to recall the principle of the accessory character of the liability of parent (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Court dismisses mere price parallelism as a form of concerted practice in the absence of compelling evidence of such (Travel Agencies)
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (the “SAC”) held that price parallelism in and of itself – absent evidence of coordination – did not constitute an anticompetitive concerted practice. 1. The alleged infringement In a decision of March 2012, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of (...)

The German Competition Authority receives information about the decision of the TV-broadcasting groups not to pursue their plans to build an online video platform (Germany’s Gold)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Plans for ARD/ZDF online platform "Germany’s Gold" abandoned* Bonn, 16 September 2013: "Germany’s Gold", the online platform that the ARD and ZDF broadcasting groups were planning to set up via commercial subsidiaries together with eleven other production and licensing companies, will not (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines lift manufacturers close to €5 million for unfair competition (ASCENSORES-2)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On 17 September 2013, the Spanish Competition Commission (“CNC”) imposed a fine of €4,867,317 on four lift manufacturers for unfair trading practices. The CNC initiated its investigation following two different complaints, one by a property owners’ association and one, seven months later, by (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority exempts an agreement between the national telecommunication company and the distributor of prepaid mobile services containing resale price maintenance clauses (Telecom Serbia - DTM Investments)
Serbian european integration office
The Serbian Antitrust Authority (AA) passed the decision on 13 September 2013 (DTM decision) to individually exempt an agreement on general distribution of prepaid mobile communication services concluded between the “Telecom Serbia” (TS) and the “DTM Investments” (DTM) from prohibition of (...)

The Australian Federal Court decides that the arrangement to buy large volumes of fly-ash was in violation of section 45 which outlaws anticompetitive agreements (Cement Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Federal Court makes interim declarations of anticompetitive agreements* The Federal Court has made interim declarations in the matter of ACCC v Cement Australia Pty Ltd & Ors, which involved numerous alleged breaches of the competition provisions of the then Trade Practices Act 1974 (the (...)

The Danish City Court passes sentence upon the owner of a school for fixing prices on driving lessons
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Price fixing between 3 Danish driving schools* On September 11, 2013, the Danish City Court in Næstved passed sentence upon the owner of a driving school for infringing section 6 of the Danish Competition Act by fixing prices on driving lessons in corporation with the owners of two other (...)

A US District Court indicts an executive officer who is accused of agreeing to coordinate bids and fix prices of automotive parts (US / Shingo Okuda, G.S. Electech)
Compliance Systems Legal Group
The Auto Parts Antitrust Case: Is This What Success Looks Like?* Wow, what a success! The Antitrust Division recently announced that its investigations in the auto parts market uncovered “separate conspiracies to fix the prices of more than 30 different products sold to US car manufacturers ….” (...)

The Canadian Competition Tribunal holds that ’merchants rules’ adopted by two leading credit card network providers do not constitute resale price maintenance (MasterCard and Visa)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Priceless: Competition case against Visa and MasterCard dismissed* The Competition Tribunal recently held that Visa and MasterCard’s rules do not constitute resale price maintenance, because their product, credit card network services, is not resold by their customers (known as “acquirers”). The (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit questions the FCC on ’Net Neutrality’ suggesting antitrust framework (Verizon)
Techfreedom
,
International Center for Law & Economics
One of the most-anticipated cases of the year heard oral argument on September 9. Verizon appealed the FCC’s Open Internet Order (the agency’s Net Neutrality rules) to the D.C. Circuit. The case raises a number of interesting questions about competition policy, specifically, the interplay (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York establishes collusion to eliminate retail price competition for e-books and imposes restrictions on deals with publishers for the next five years (Apple)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. District Court rules Apple colluded on E-Book Prices* On 10 July 2013 the District Court in Manhattan ruled in United States v. Apple Inc., et al that Apple conspired with five major publishers to raise prices on e-books. The publishers settled and denied any wrongdoing. However, the case (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore issues its decision finding that the worldwide MIF system implemented by multinational financial services company is not anticompetitive under Singapore competition law (Visa International)
BHP Billiton (Singapore)
On 18 September 2013, the Competition Commission of Singapore (the “CCS”) published its decision of 3 September 2013 relating to its assessment under Section 34 of the Competition Act, Chapter 50B of Singapore (the “Act”) of the Multilateral Interchange Fee (“MIF”) system (the “Decision”), as (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fine for resale price maintenance in the milling industry (Vorarlberger Mühlen)
European Commission (Brussels)
Austria: The Cartel Court imposes Fine in Milling Industry* On 3 September 2013, the Cartel Court imposed a € 58 500 fine on Vorarlberger Mühlen- und Mischfutter GmbH (Vorarlberger Mühlen) for Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) between the latter and a number of retailers (Court reference number 29 (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court supports findings by the Office for Protection of Competition as regards relevant market definition in predatory pricing case (Student Agency)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
On 30 September 2013, the Supreme Administrative Court cancelled the judgment of Regional Court in Brno in the case regarding alleged predatory pricing by Student Agency (a leading bus transport company) and remanded the case back to it. The Regional Court in Brno previously quashed the (...)

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court cancells the judgment of the Regional Court in a predatory pricing case and provides guidance regarding the use of economic analysis (Student Agency)
Kinstellar (Prague)
Subject matter of the case On 3 November 2010 Student Agency, s.r.o. (“Student Agency”), a transport services and travel services provider was found guilty by the Office for Protection of Competition (the “Office”) for an abuse of its dominant position on the market for public passenger bus (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal upholds the Belgian Competition Council’s decision to fine a French media distributor for operating an abusive rebate scheme (Presstalis)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis
In a judgment of 27 September 2013, the Brussels Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Belgian Competition Council imposing a fine of € 245,530 on Presstalis for operating an abusive rebate scheme. Presstalis, previously known as Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne, is a French (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority investigates predatory pricing on the mobile telecommunications market (Orange-Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
In 2011 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) received a complaint lodged by the incumbent telecom operator Moldtelecom SA alleging the existence of an abuse of dominant position on the mobile telecommunications market committed by IS Orange-Moldova SA. The applicant submitted that (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority investigates the pricing of SMS/MMS services on the telecommunications market (Orange-Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 12 July 2011 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) received a complaint lodged by the telecom operator IM Moldcell SA alleging the existence of an abuse of dominant position on the mobile telecommunications market committed by IS Orange-Moldova SA. The applicant submitted that (...)

A U.S. Court of Appeal dismisses claims of monopolization against leading software company based on an alleged refusal to deal (Microsoft)
Cornell University
In the antitrust equivalent of Jarndyce v Jarndyce from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit dismissed Novell’s appeal of Novell of the District Court’s decision to enter judgment as a matter of law for the defendant in Novell’s long-standing case (...)

The EU Court of Justice maintains the validity of the Commission decision not to investigate the complaint due to the low likelihood of establishing a dominant position of printer manufacturers on ink cartridge aftermarket (EFIM/Commission)
University of Amsterdam
The EFIM-case: no dominant position of printer manufacturers on ink cartridge aftermarket* Ink in cartridges for printers is often called ‘black gold’, or qualified as the ‘most expensive liquid in the world’. Manufacturers of printers sell their ink cartridges at (relatively) high prices, whereas (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau chooses not to appeal the decision of the Competition Tribunal, but to focus on identifying alternate means of addressing the competition issues in the supply of credit card services (VISA, MasterCard)
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Credit Cards in Canada: What Role for Competition Law?* 1. Introduction The growing popularity of credit and other payment cards among consumers has been accompanied by an increase in the regulatory and legal scrutiny of the terms governing the availability and use of these cards. One focus (...)

A US District Court dismisses tying claim related to the market for distribution of hotel content since the tying product and the tied product were not separate (Pro Search Plus / VFML Leonardo)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
De Facto Exclusive Dealing: What a Difference a Day Makes* In Competition Law360, September 4, 2013, we reported on the dismissal of a complaint which alleged, inter alia, exclusive-dealing claims in a market described as the management and distribution of “photographs in rich media content for (...)

The U.S. Court of Western District of Washington makes determinations of the RAND licensing terms for a standard essential patent (Microsoft / Motorola)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington makes determinations of RAND licensing terms* On 25 April 2013 Judge Robart issued the non-confidential version of his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in the Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola Inc. case. This is the first time that a (...)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirms the district court’s denial of class certification and the dismissal of complaint with prejudice (Sommers/Apple)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
If Your Allegations Don’t Establish a Price Effect, You May Lack Antitrust Standing* In Somers v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 11-16896 (9th Cir. Sept. 3, 2013), the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a putative class action against Apple, Inc., alleging antitrust violations in (...)

Mergers

The Chinese MOFCOM states that mergers in the Shanghai free-trade zone are still subject to anti-monopoly review
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
Mr Yun Zonghua, Director of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of MOFCOM, stated that the newly opened Shanghai Free-Trade Zone involves 5 main areas and over 90 policy measures. The 5 main areas are to: (1) accelerate the transformation of government functions from (...)

The Portuguese Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court annuls decision imposing a fine on a non-notified merger due to shortcomings related to rights of defence (ANF / Farminveste)
Abreu Advogados
Following the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) decision dated 28 December 2012 imposing a total EUR 149,278.79 fine on the National Pharmacy Association (Associação Nacional de Farmácias - ANF) and two of its subsidiaries, Farminveste 3 – Gestão de Participações, S.G.P.S., Lda. (Farminveste (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission releases new guidelines for merger review
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC publishes updated informal merger review process guidelines* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released the ACCC’s Informal Merger Review Process Guidelines 2013. This follows a consultation process on a draft of the Guidelines with key stakeholders in July, including (...)

The Danish Competition Council approves merger in the retail sector for furniture (Jysk / IDdesign)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Competition Council approves JYSK’s acquisition of IDEmøbler and ILVA* On September 25th 2013 the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) ap-proved JYSK’s acquisition of IDdesign A/S, the owner of the two retail chains IDEmøbler and ILVA. JYSK Holding A/S, which is owned by Lars Larsen, owns the (...)

The US FTC challenges an acquisition in the market for audience measurement services (Nielsen / Arbitron)
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (Washington)
,
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (Washington)
Background On December 18, 2012, Nielsen announced a $1.26 billion deal to acquire Arbitron. Both firms offer a variety of audience measurement services, which help advertisers and media companies estimate how many people tune-in to particular media content and the demographics of those (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council rules on the issue whether credit agreements lead to concentrations (Swedbank, Alita)
Valiunas Ellex (Vilnius)
During the last couple of years a new trend of cases pertaining to the Lithuanian merger control regime has emerged. Those cases concern credit agreements concluded between financial institutions (creditors) and private businesses (borrowers) and claims by the latter, their shareholders or (...)

The Netherlands ACM clears the creation of a joint-venture for proton therapy between medical centers (HollandPTC)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears creation of proton-therapy joint venture The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) has cleared the creation of ‘HollandPTC,’ a joint venture for proton therapy between TDH Services (part of Delft University of Technology), Erasmus Holding and Leiden University Medical (...)

The Irish Competition Authority publishes draft revised merger guidelines
Queen’s University Belfast
On September 13, 2013 the Irish Competition Authority published a draft set of Revised Merger Guidelines while simultaneously launching a public consultation on the revision of the existing Guidelines. The consultation process ends on 25 October 2013, and the Competition Authority will (...)

The Netherlands ACM clears planned collaboration between two Dutch publishing companies (Lannoo Meulenhoff / WPG Uitgevers)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Two Dutch publishing firms are allowed to rent out ebooks together* The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) has cleared the planned collaboration between two Dutch publishing companies, Lannoo Meulenhoff and WPG Uitgevers, to offer ebooks rentals to consumers together. The (...)

The Australian Government proposes reform of the national competition regime including an extension of the unfair terms protection to small business and a review of the formal merger assessment process
King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney)
,
Westpac
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). Coalition to uproot competition laws?* With the votes counted and Tony Abbott safely claiming a Coalition victory on 7 September 2013, it’s not only the government that is getting a makeover. As (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority clears a merger by an acquisition of sole control in the pensions and insurance sector (Pensionsservice / Pensionsförsäkring)
Vinge (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority (“the SCA”) received notification of a proposed concentration, by which KPA Pensionsservice AB (“KPA”) acquired sole control of SPP Liv Pensionstjänst AB (“SPP”). In the same notification, KPA Pensionsförsäkring AB notified the acquisition of sole control of a life (...)

The Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf halts a Federal Cartel Office decision to unwind a 17 year old joint venture pending the outcome of an appeal against the decision (Chemie-Vertrieb)
Simmons & Simmons (Dusseldorf)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Dusseldorf)
A German appeal court has halted a Federal Cartel Office (FCO) decision to unwind a 17 year old joint venture until the outcome of an appeal against the decision is known. In its interim decision, the court took the opportunity to: set out the requirements under German law for the FCO to find (...)

State Aid

The European Commission re-examines a previously compatible State aid scheme in the light of the 2005 and 2012 SGEI packages (ESB of Ireland)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Sale of Public Assets, SGEI and Electricity Levies* Main points Revenue from levies on electricity users is most likely to constitute State resources. Public service obligations can be transferred from one electricity-generating company to another. Compensation for public service obligations (...)

The EU General Court rules that a measure designed to offset a structural disadvantage is still State aid (BT Pension Scheme)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. The Offsetting of a Structural Disadvantage Is still State Aid* Introduction Normally it is conceptually and technically fairly easy to determine whether an undertaking benefits from a public measure. However, this task becomes considerably more (...)

The EU General Court clarifies the nature of SGEI and affirms that it is necessary to identify the presence of market failures justifying the grant of compensation (Colt Télécommunications France)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. New Case Law on Incentive Effect, “Private Borrower”, Advantage, Compensation, SGEI and Market Failure* Introduction The posting reviews three recent rulings of the General Court. They are significant because they introduce substantial nuances in (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission decision on the incompatibility of a state aid granted for the acquisition of a new power plant (Fri-El Acerra)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. New Case Law on Incentive Effect, “Private Borrower”, Advantage, Compensation, SGEI and Market Failure* Introduction The posting reviews three recent rulings of the General Court. They are significant because they introduce substantial nuances in (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission decision rejecting the accuracy of the economic calculations concerning the rate of interest that a hypothetical private investor would have paid in a similar situation (Poste Italiane)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. New Case Law on Incentive Effect, “Private Borrower”, Advantage, Compensation, SGEI and Market Failure* Introduction The posting reviews three recent rulings of the General Court. They are significant because they introduce substantial nuances in (...)

The EU General Court reinforces the doctrine of inseparability in relation to compensation for public service obligations assigned to environmental organizations (Germany/Commission)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. The Emerging Doctrine of Inseparability and Compensation for Public Service Obligations [T-347/09, Germany v Commission]* Introduction In the landmark judgment in Leipzig Halle, the General Court stated that infrastructure which is inseparable (...)

Procedures

A US District Court determines the RAND licensing rate per Wi-Fi chip while considering related issues such as hold-up, royalty stacking and reverse hold-up (Innovatio)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
The second judicial determination of F/RAND rates* On 27 September 2013 the second judicial determination – after Judge Robart’s ruling in Microsoft v Motorola – on F/RAND royalty rates was handed down by Judge Holderman. Innovatio IP Ventures LLC owns several patents essential to the 802.11 (...)

The English High Court rules that competition law cannot provide a defence to a borrower in an action by a bank to enforce its rights under a facility agreement (Deutsche Bank / Unitech Global)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
In a significant judgment that could have had “vast” consequences for financial transactions worldwide based on LIBOR, an English High Court Judge has refused to allow defences based on the competition rules to be introduced into the pleadings in an action brought by a LIBOR panel bank to enforce (...)

The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa establishes that complaints concerning a price cartel made by private persons may trigger a new course of action to be initiated by the Competition Commission and finds that the requirements for valid initiation and referral have been satisfied in the present case (Yara)
Nortons Incorporated
South Africa- Supreme Court of Appeal upholds Competition Commission appeal relating to investigatory powers* The Supreme Court of Appeal (the “SCA”) upheld an appeal against a judgment of the Competition Appeal Court invalidating a complaint referred to the Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) (...)

The Italian Supreme Court rules on several topics of antitrust private enforcement (Agenzia del Territorio)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
In September 2013, the Italian Supreme Court (‘Court’) issued ten rulings on as many damages actions that several service providers brought against Agenzia del Territorio (the Italian territorial agency; the ‘Agency’). The plaintiffs claimed that the Agency, which was the public sector body (...)

The UK Financial Conduct Authority launches a market study into cash savings and confirmed that the wholesale markets and pensions are also in its sights
Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 09 September 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority announced that it was launching a market study into cash savings. The study is an early indicator of the type of issues that the FCA will tackle under its new competition remit, where it suspects that ineffective competition is leading to (...)

The EU General Court fully confirms the legality of the Commission’s inspection decisions under the Regulation No 1/2003 and dismisses the appeals on all grounds (Deutsche Bahn)
FratiniVergano
I. Facts Deutsche Bahn AG (hereafter “the rail company” and "the applicant") is an international company operating in the field of national and international transport of goods and passengers as well as logistics and services in the rail sector. DB Mobility Logistics AG, DB Energie GmbH, DB (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit opens new window for removal of State court cases to federal court (Roth / CHA Hollywood Medical Center)
Jones Day (Los Angeles)
A defendant generally may remove a civil action from state court to federal district court if the district court would have had jurisdiction had the action been originally filed in that court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). For years it seemed that a defendant had only two windows of time in which to (...)

Regulatory

The Federal Government of Nigeria launches the privatisation of the energy sector issuing the necessary licenses and shareholder certificates for 18 private successor companies (PHCN / NEPA)
EPICLEGAL
The Privatization of the Electricity Sector in Nigeria* The full implementation of the Electric Power Sector Reform has been a key priority for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria. As noted in the Roadmap for Power Sector Reform, for over two decades, the stalled (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority investigates the actions of the municipal administration concerning allocation of business premises (Chişinău Municipal Council)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 26 September 2013 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) has concluded an investigation into the alleged anti-competitive actions of the Chişinău Municipal Council (CMC) – a legislative body of the municipal administration of Moldova’s capital city. The CC’s investigation was prompted by a (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority proposes measures to enhance competition in hospital services market
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission on Protection of Competition proposes Measures to enhance Competition in Hospital Services Market* On 18 September 2013, the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an ex officio opinion on the compliance with the competition rules of the legal (...)

The OECD supports the recommendations advanced by the Irish Competition Authority for more competition in legal services
Irish Competition Authority
OECD backs Competition Authority recommendations for more competition in legal services* The 2013 OECD economic report for Ireland has backed recommendations made by the Competition Authority to increase competition in legal services. In the report, published on the 12 September 2013, one of (...)

Public sector

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a report on the application of its guide on public procurement and competition to public health care provision-related procurement in Spain
European Procurement Law Group
Spanish competition watchdog CNMC issues report on health care outsourcing procurement* The Spanish Competition Authority has recently published a report on the application of its Guide on Public Procurement and Competition to public health care provision-related procurement in Spain (only (...)

The AG Villalón of the CJEU finds that a tariff calculation formula that automatically multiplies the rate payable for the certification activities according to the number of tenders is precluded by EU law (SOA Nazionale Costruttori)
European Procurement Law Group
AG Cruz Villalon opposes Italian minimum #tariffs for #public procurement #certification (C-327/12)* In his Opinion of 5 September 2013 in case C-327/12 Soa Nazionale Costruttori (not available in English), AG Cruz Villalon analyses the compatibility with EU free movement (ie freedom of (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues