Financial services

Anticompetitive practices

Financial services and competition law: An overview of EU and national case law
King’s College (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
1. Financial crisis We are writing this foreword during a period of virtually unprecedented economic disarray. At the time of drafting, a deal has just been hammered out to protect Greece from default on its sovereign debt, but uncertainty still remains as to whether other Eurozone countries - (...)

Financial services and competition law: An overview of EU and national case law
Clifford Chance (London)
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Accenture (Dublin)
I. Introduction As we begin to emerge from the global financial crisis, it is worth reflecting on the legacy of governmental and regulatory intervention within the European Union. In particular, the scale of State support has been enormous. Between 1 October 2008 and 1 October 2013, the (...)

The US Department of Justice settles HSR Act violation case with record fine (ValueAct)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
Hedge Fund Settles HSR Act Violation, Setting Record $11 Million Fine* On July 12, 2016, two ValueAct funds and their common general partner (collectively, “ValueAct”) agreed to pay an $11 million penalty and adopt extensive compliance procedures to settle alleged violations of the (...)

The Danish Competition Council approved a merger between mortgage lenders, subject to remedies which included a decrease in the duration of the merged entity’s agreements with distributing banks, the regulation of profit and measures to increase transparency in the market (Nykredit / Totalkredit)
Kromann Reumert
The operation Nykredit Holding A/S was primarily a mortgage lender. However, it also had a number of subsidiaries that provided services within a range of sectors: banking; the insurance business; and real estate broking. The annual turnover of Nykredit in 2002 was DKK 30.4 billion (para. (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore extends the scope of the “by object” category of anti-competitive agreements again and fines firms for pressurising competitor to withdraw rebates offered to customers (Avallis)
National University of Singapore
On 17 March 2016, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) issued an Infringement Decision against 10 undertakings for violating the section 34 prohibition against anti-competitive agreements (the Singapore analogue of Article 101EC). The undertakings (a group of Financial Advisers that (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two trade associations and several local cooperative banks for fixing mortgage interest rates (Mortgage interest rates agreement)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently closed an antitrust investigation in the ‘Mortgage interest rates agreement’ case by finding guilty two cooperative trade associations and 14 small cooperative banks for carrying out two price-fixing agreements in the province of Bolzano (the (...)

The EU Commission opens a preliminary investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfer market (Western Union)
Constantine Cannon (London)
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Constantine Cannon (London)
EU telegraphs it is probing whether Western Union colluded to drive rivals out of money-transfer market*The European Commission has reportedly launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into possible collusion by Western Union in the money remittance market.According to sources, the (...)

The EU Commission opens a preliminary antitrust investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfert market (Western Union)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
In February 2016, it was reported that the European Commission is undertaking a preliminary antitrust investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfer market, continuing the trend of the Commission focussing on the financial sector in recent years. Focus of the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation for a possible anticompetitive agreement in relation to the SEDA multilateral inter-bank agreement (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)
University of London - School of Economics Birkbeck College
On the 21th of January 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority” or “Italian Authority”) opened an investigation against the Italian banks’ association, Associazione Bancaria Italiana (“ABI”) for a possible anticompetitive agreement under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of (...)

The UK Financial Conduct Authority publishes its final guidance and policy statement in relation to its approach to enforcement of competition law
Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
Introduction On 15 July, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its final guidance and policy statement in relation to its approach to enforcement of competition law. The FCA has softened its stance in some respects, following criticism of its proposed approach in a public (...)

The French Competition Authority extends the commitments made in the case of inter-bank fees associated with card payments (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
French Competition Authority
Extension of the commitments made by the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB Bank Cards Group) to the Autorité de la concurrence regarding the level of inter-bank payment fees until the European regulation comes into force.* In 2011, within the context of the examination by the Autorité de la (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority accepts the commitments offered by two companies operating in the market of card payment services and closes the cartel proceeding (MasterCard / OTP)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The case of MasterCard and OTP is closed by the acceptance of commitments* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) accepted the commitments offered by MasterCard Europe Sprl (MasterCard) and OTP Bank Nyrt. (OTP), through the implementation of which the undertakings (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sends statement of objections to 15 banking institutions for allegedly exchanging sensitive data regarding the supply of retail-banking loan products (Barclays)
Abreu Advogados (Lisbon)
The Portuguese Competition Authority confirmed having sent a Statement of Objections to 15 banks for suspected participation in a concerted practice. According to the last press release issued by the Portuguese Competition Authority on June 5, 2015, the Statement of Objections was issued on May (...)

The US Department of Justice receives five parent-level guilty pleas for conspiring to manipulate foreign-currency markets from financial institutions (Citicorp / JPMorgan Chase / Barclays / RBS / UBS)
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur (Columbus)
World’s top banks plead guilty to gaming foreign-currency markets* Scandal roiled the banking industry Wednesday as four of the world’s largest banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland — pleaded guilty to federal antitrust violations for conspiring to manipulate (...)

The UK Competition and Market Authority decides to close its investigations following approval of European interchange fees regulation (MasterCard / Visa)
Constantine Cannon (London)
UK Competition and Market Authority Shuts Down MasterCard and Visa Probes Following Approval of European Interchange Fees Regulation* The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced on Wednesday that it is closing its investigations into MasterCard’s and Visa’s multilateral interchange (...)

The Financial Conduct Authority of United Kingdom is empowered to promote effective competition in the interest of consumers in the markets for regulated financial services
DLA Piper
Summary From 1 April 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") is empowered under the Competition Act 1998 ("CA98") to promote effective competition in the interest of consumers in the markets for regulated financial services. This change allows the FCA to be a concurrent enforcer of (...)

The EU Commission fines a broker for facilitating Yen Libor cartels by serving as communication channel and disseminating misleading information about expected rates (ICAP)
Constantine Cannon (London)
European Commission Fines London-Based Broker ICAP 14.9 Million Euros For Facilitating Yen Libor Cartels* The European Commission (“EC”) has fined London-based ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, for facilitating bank cartels in the market for Yen-denominated interest rate (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens ex officio proceedings in order to review whether several companies have breached the Federal Law of Economic Competition in the credit reporting market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico city)
NOTICE by which the Federal Economic Competition Commission informs of the beginning of the ex officio investigation under file number IO-001-2015, on the possible commission of conducts contrary to the Federal Law of Economic Competition* At the margin a seal of the National Coat of Arms, (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York allows alleged manipulation of foreign exchange rates claim to go forward, distinguising the case from the LIBOR ones (FX Benchmark rates)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Motion to Dismiss Denied in FX Rigging Case* A federal judge in New York on Wednesday allowed a consolidated class action by U.S.-based investors concerning the rigging of the foreign exchange (FX) market to move forward. In denying a motion to dismiss, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms that two banking companies have concluded an anticompetitive agreement (Bank PSA Finance RUS / Rusfinance Bank)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court: obligations of “Rusfinance Bank” under the framework of cooperation with “Bank PSA Finance RUS” are anticompetitive* On 9 December 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the claim of “Bank PSA Finance RUS” Ltd. to invalidate FAS decision on an antimonopoly case against “Bank PSA (...)

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales provides guidance on application of limitation periods in damages actions (Arcadia)
St John’s Chambers
United Kingdom: High Court provides guidance on application of limitation periods in damages actions* The High Court has recently provided guidance on the application of limitation periods in competition damages actions. In Arcadia v Visa, it ruled that a substantial part of the claimant’s (...)

The EU Court of Justice interprets restriction of competition by object (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
London School of Economics
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Garrigues (Brussels)
September 11 2014 was a big day for antitrust at the European Court of Justice. The Court delivered two important Judgments in the Mastercard and Cartes Bancaires cases, and heard oral arguments in Huawei/ZTE. We’ll comment on the latter in due course, and will be devoting our next posts to (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a judgment of the General Court which in accordance with the European Commission held that certain pricing measures adopted restricted competition ‘by object’ (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
Altius (Brussels)
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Glimstedt & Partners
The Court of Justice of the European Union (“Court of Justice”) sets aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union (General Court) by which it confirmed the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision finding an anticompetitive practice in the Groupement des cartes bancaires v (...)

The EU Court of Justice quashes the General Court judgment for failing to correctly apply the notion of restriction by object (Cartes Bancaires)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
Introduction On 11 September 2014, the Court of Justice (ECJ) rendered its judgment in the Cartes Bancaires case . The ECJ quashed the General Court (GC) judgment for failing to correctly apply the notion of restriction by object. The Cartes Bancaires contains two key messages: first, the (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on restrictions by object in a case regarding payment card rules (Groupement des cartes bancaires)
DLA Piper
Article 101 (1) TFEU prohibits agreements, vertical or horizontal, "which have as their object or effect the restriction or distortion of competition." Competition lawyers in the European Union are brought up on the idea that there are two types of competition law offences under Article 101 (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the ruling of the General Court on multilateral interchange fees (MasterCard)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
On September 11, 2014 the Court of Justice handed down its judgment in the multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) case dismissing MasterCard’s final appeal against the European Commission’s decision that ordered MasterCard to withdraw its MIFs. Interchange fees are balancing payments made by the (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides further clarity on when an agreement has the object of restricting competition (Groupement des cartes bancaires)
St John’s Chambers
Restrictions by object: duck and elephant hunting with the Court of Justice* Inductive reasoning is sometimes explained by using either the ‘duck test’ (“if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”) or the ‘elephant test’ (“it is difficult to (...)

The EU Court of Justice invites to rethink the approach to pay for delay settlements in its recent case law (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
University of East Anglia - CCP
European Pharmaceutical Antitrust after Groupment des Cartes Bancaires – Time to Rethink the Approach to Pay For Delay Settlements?* Over the last year the European Commission has stepped up its enforcement efforts against pay for delay settlements. In June 2013 they imposed a fine for the (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the object-effect dichotomy and deals with two-sided markets (Cartes Bancaires - MasterCard)
University of Groningen
It Takes Two to Tango: Two-Sided Markets and the Appeals in Cartes Bancaires and MasterCard* The Court has recently decided on the appeals in two seminal cases: MasterCard MIF (MasterCard) and Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB). Both cases result from Commission decisions that found Article (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the final appeal in a case regarding inter-bank card fees (MasterCard)
Constantine Cannon (London)
On 11 September 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) dismissed MasterCard’s final appeal against an antitrust infringement decision of 2007. This judgment finally put an end to a seven-year long legal battle over inter-bank card fees and may have a profound impact on banks, (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council reopens investigation into agreements within cash handling market (G4S / DNB / SEB / Swedbank)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition Council reopens investigation into agreements within cash handling market* On April 22, the Competition Council (the KT) reopened the investigation into agreements within cash handling market. It was suspected that the mentioned agreements had failed to comply with the requirements (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court annuls the fines imposed on the banks by the Competition Council, though confirms the restrictive character of the cash handling agreements (G4S)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
G4S agreements with banks restricted competition* The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (the Court) confirmed that the agreements concluded between UAB G4S Lietuva (G4S) and the banks, namely, AB SEB bank (SEB), Swedbank, AB (Swedbank) and AB DNB bank (DNB), restricted competition (...)

The German Competition Authority receives commitments to abandon an agreement on standard charges payable by retailers for use of the electronic cash card payment system (Girocard)
German Competition Authority
Standard charges for retailers in electronic cash card payment system abandoned* The leading banking associations in Germany are to abandon their agreement on standard charges payable by retailers for use of the electronic cash card payment system. The associations have undertaken a commitment (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission confirms its investigation into possible manipulation of currency rates and possible influencing of benchmarks in foreign exchange markets (FOREX)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Commerce Commission confirms forex investigation* The Commerce Commission has confirmed that it has an investigation into possible manipulation of currency rates and possible influencing of benchmarks in foreign exchange (forex) (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority issues a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to make and give effect to a code of practice for traders of financial derivatives (CFD Forum)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to authorise best practice standards in the provision of contracts for difference* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to enable current and future members of the Australian CFD Forum to make and (...)

The Russian Competition Authority suspects again the implementation of a cartel on the auto loan market (Bank PSA Finance RUS / Rusfinance Bank)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS exposed new signs of violations on the auto loan market* On 4th February 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) initiated a case against “Bank PSA Finance RUS” Ltd. and “Rusfinance Bank” Ltd. upon signs of violating Part 4 Article 11 of the Federal Law “On Protection of (...)

The EU General Advocate Mengozzi proposes the Court of Justice to uphold the Commission’s decision prohibiting multilateral interchange fees (Mastercard)
Clifford Chance (Madrid)
Background information In its Decision of 19 December 2007 the Commission prohibited Mastercard’s multilateral interchange fees (MIF) that apply to cross-border payments with MasterCard and Maestro-branded consumer credit and debit cards between Member States of the European Economic Area (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission releases data on interchange and credit card settlements
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Commerce Commission releases data on interchange and credit card settlements* The Commission today released its ‘Evaluation of the 2009 interchange and credit card settlements’. This paper outlines the agreement the Commission reached (...)

A US District Court approves the proposed class action settlement of the antitrust suit over swipe fees (Visa / MasterCard)
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP (Los Angeles)
Swipe Fee Settlement Yields More Litigation* Although the parties reached a $7.25 billion class action settlement of the antitrust suit brought by merchants against Visa and MasterCard over swipe fees, the case is far from over. The protracted legal battle centers on allegations by (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission appeals against recent decision dismissing cartel allegations as regards fixing of home loan fees (ANZ)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC appeals ANZ Bank decision* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has appealed against the recent decision by Justice Dowsett in the Federal Court dismissing the ACCC’s allegations that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) had breached the price fixing (...)

The EU Commission fines banks € 1.71 billion for participating in cartels in the interest rate derivatives industry (Barclays /Deutsche Bank / RBS / Société Générale)
European Commission
European Commission fines Banks € 1 710 000 000 for Participation in Cartels in the Financial Derivatives Industry* On 4 December 2013, the Commission has fined 8 banks a total of € 1 712 468 000 for participating in cartels in markets for financial derivatives covering the EEA. Four of them (...)

The Polish Court of Competition and Consumer Protection confirms the Competition authority’s decision on multilateral interchange fees (Visa and MasterCard)
European Commission
Poland: The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection confirms UOKiK’s Decision on Multilateral Interchange Fees* On 21 November 2013, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection (SOKiK) confirmed the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (...)

The Hungarian Competition imposes fines on 11 financial institutions due to their concerted practice aimed at limiting the full prepayment of foreign currency loans (Budapest Bank)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
9,5 billion HUF fine in the "full prepayment loan banking case"* The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH, the Hungarian Competition Authority) in its decision delivered on 19 November 2013 imposed a fine of 9.488.200.000 (cca 31,6 million Euro) on 11 financial institutions due to their concerted (...)

The Australian Federal Court dismisses allegations of price fixing on the market for loan arrangement services finding that the parties were not in competition with each other (ANZ)
King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney)
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). ANZ gets home on defending price fixing claims* A longstanding dispute between the ANZ and the ACCC has finally been resolved, with the Federal Court dismissing the allegations of the ACCC in a (...)

The Australian Federal Court dismisses the proceedings alleging the violation of the price fixing prohibition in the loan arrangement services market (ANZ)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ANZ found not to have breached price fixing provisions* The Federal Court has today dismissed proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleging that Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) had breached the price fixing provisions of the Trade (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposes to allow coordination among credit card issuers and payment processing networks for the removal of signatures as a method of authentication (Visa, MasterCard & American Express)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to allow coordination in relation to the use of PINs* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing to allow Visa and MasterCard, together with American Express and participating financial institutions, to coordinate in relation to the (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains a significant reduction in the main interbank fees (MasterCard & Visa Cards)
French Competition Authority
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
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 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 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 Romanian Competition Council issues a report on inquiry into multilateral interchange fees in payment cards sector
European Commission
Romania: Report on Inquiry into Multilateral Interchange Fees in Payment Cards Sector* On 22 February 2011, the Romanian Competition Council (RCC) opened an inquiry into the card payment services sector. The findings of this inquiry were presented in a final Report published on 30 May 2013. (...)

The German Competition Authority takes a critical view of the agreement on the German banking sector as regards the existing electronic cash card payment system (ELV)
German Competition Authority
Electronic cash card payment system of German banking sector raises competition concerns* The Bundeskartellamt takes a critical view of the agreement of the German banking sector on the existing electronic cash card payment system. Today the authority communicated its (preliminary) concerns to (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court holds that banks cannot concert to drive a competitor out of the market: an end to the bank cartel case saga? (VUB Bank)
Kinstellar (Bratislava)
This article follows up on our previous articles (Art. N° 37004, Art. N° 38345 and Art. N° 51110) concerning a cartel of three Slovak banks. In May 2011, the Supreme Court in the case of CSOB bank controversially confirmed the decision of lower courts quashing the decision by the Slovak National (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court upholds competition authority’s decision in banking cartel case (Slovenská sporiteľňa, Všeobecná úverová banka)
European Commission
Slovakia: The Supreme Court upholds Authority’s Decision in Banking Cartel Case* On 21 and 22 May 2013, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (Supreme Court) upheld a decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the Office) in a case concerning a banking cartel, vis-à-vis two (...)

The Turkish Competition Board imposes highest fine ever against twelve banks for collusion in the cash deposit, credit and credit card services markets (Akbank, Turkiye Garanti Bankasi, Garanti Odeme Sistemleri...)
GlaxoSmithKline (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Board (the "TCB") recently concluded an investigation against 12 major banks operating in Turkey and imposed a total fine of TL 1.1 billion (approximately EUR 475 million). This is the highest fine ever imposed by the TCB. The investigation was initiated following (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the interpretation of Article 101 TFEU and finds that undertakings cannot justify restrictions of competition relying on the claim that a competitor operates illegally on the relevant market (Akcenta)
ClientEarth (Bruxelles)
Vigilantes on the market: Can undertakings restrict competition to ‘help out’ public authorities?* In an interesting case decided today the CJEU held that a number of Slovak banks could not exclude a competitor even if that competitor was allegedly operating illegally on the Slovak market. It’s (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules in favor of the Slovakian NCA and rules that an agreement intended to exclude a competitor is contrary to the competition rules even if the competitor is operating unlawfully on the market (Akcenta)
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
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Factual background On 9 June 2009, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the "AMO"), a first-level authority, found that three major banks – Slovenská sporiteľna, a.s. (the "SLSP"), Československá obchodná banka a.s. (the "CSOB") and Všeobecná úverová banka a.s. (the "VUB")(jointly refered (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council imposes fines on cash handling services provider and three banks for restricting competition in cash handling and cash in transit services (G4S Lietuva, DNB bank, SEB bank and Swedbank)
European Commission
Lithuania: The Competition Council imposes Fines on Cash Handling Services Provider and three Banks for Restricting Competition in Cash Handling and Cash in Transit Services* On 20 December 2012, the Lithuanian Competition Council (CC) imposed fines exceeding LTL 57 000 000 (approximately € 16 (...)

The EU General Court issues judgment on tariff arrangement within payment card cartel (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 29 November 2012, the General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgment on the appeal by Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (“GCB”) against a Commission decision finding that GCB restricted competition with certain fees and tariffs which hindered the issuance of payment cards in France at (...)

A US Court of Appeals affirms a grant of summary judgment for defendants in an antitrust suit involving alleged price-fixing of ATM fees (ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation)
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
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Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
Brick By Illinois Brick: Ninth Circuit Builds High Wall For Indirect Purchaser Suits* The Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed a grant of summary judgment for defendants in an antitrust suit involving alleged price-fixing of ATM fees, holding that the plaintiffs were indirect purchasers within (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments from 11 banks to abolish interbank fees applied to direct debits, interbank orders and other non-cash payments (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, LCL)
European Commission
France: French Banks’ Commitments to suppress inter-bank Fees applied to direct Debits, interbank Orders and other non-cash Payments made binding by the Autorité* On 5 July 2012, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) accepted commitments from 11 banks, including the national central bank (...)

The French NCA issues a decision making compulsory the commitments of several French banks in order to abolish progressively the main interbank fees on direct debits, interbank payment orders and other non-cash means of payment (BNP Paribas, Banque de France, CIC, Société Générale)
White & Case (Paris)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
Following a commitment procedure, the French NCA issued a decision on 5 July 2012 making compulsory the commitments submitted by several French banks (Banque de France, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Crédit du Nord, LCL, BPCE, HSBC, Banque Postale, Crédit Mutuel, CIC) and their representative (...)

The EU General Court rules on multilateral interchange fees going through the intricacies of art. 101(3) (MasterCard)
Garrigues (Brussels)
Case T-111/08, Mastercard. A priceless Art. 101(3) assessment* A while ago we wrote a post on The Slow Death of Article 101(3) TFEU, where we said that in recent European Commission, practice, only once the challenged agreement was not deemed to be a restriction by “object”, and that only in (...)

The EU General Court fully upholds the Commission’s decision on multilateral interchange fees (MasterCard)
European Commission
European Courts: Judgment in MasterCard Case upholds Commission’s Decision* In its judgment of 24 May 2012 in case T-111/08, the General Court (the Court) fully upheld the Commission’s decision prohibiting MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) that apply to cross-border transactions (...)

A US District Court finds that a number of meetings related to drafting and implementing arbitration clauses was probative of an antitrust conspiracy (Currency Conversion Fee)
Sheppard Mullin (New York)
New York Federal Court Holds That Meetings Related To Drafting Arbitration Clauses May Be Probative Of Antitrust Conspiracy Despite Decision Makers’ Lack Of Knowledge* In In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litig., 2012 WL 401113 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 8, 2012), Judge William H. Pauley III denied a (...)

The Italian administrative court of first instance annuls the decision of the Antitrust Authority which fined Mastercard and eight Italian licensee banks for an alleged violation of Art. 101 TFEU in the definition and application of domestic interchange fees (Mastercard)
Ashurst
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Pirelli
Background The judgement in comment (Judgement of TAR of Lazio n. 6171 of 11 July 2011) has annulled the final decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority ("IAA") of 3 November 2010 ("IAA Decision") which closed the proceeding against Mastercard and eight Italian banks ( the "Parties") and (...)

An Italian Administrative Court sets aside the Italian Competition Authority’s decision to fine a payment card network company, 8 Italian banks and financial institutions for infringing art. 101 TFEU (MasterCard – I720 Carte di credito)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Introduction On the 11th of July 2011 the Italian Regional Administrative Court of Latium (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale per il Lazio – hereafter “IRAC”) upheld the appeal of Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A. (hereafter MPS”) against the decision no. 21768 of the Italian Competition Authority (...)

The French Competition Authority makes commitments reducing the two main fees associated with payments and withdrawals binding (CB Bank Cards Group)
European Commission
France: The Autorité de la concurrence makes Commitments cutting MIFs on Payment Cards by 20% to 50% binding* On 7 July 2011, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) made commitments from the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (the Groupement), which includes over 130 banks, binding whereby (...)

The French Competition Authority makes mandatory commitments proposed by an economic interest group to reduce the inter-bank fees applicable to transactions by payment cards (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
White & Case (Paris)
On July 7, 2011, the French Competition Authority (hereinafter the “Authority”) issued a decision whereby it accepts settlement of an investigation and makes mandatory the commitments proposed by “Groupement des Cartes Bancaires”,an Economic Interest Group which brings together more than 130 banks (...)

The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic upholds the annulment judgment delivered by the Regional Court in Bratislava in a potential cartel case (Akcenta case)
Kinstellar (Prague)
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Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (the “Supreme Court“) has provided that the judgment delivered the Regional Court in Bratislava (the “Regional Court“) annulling the decision adopted by the Slovak Antimonopoly Office ( “SVK AMO“) dealing with an agreement restricting competition in the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes market-tested commitments proposed by the French CB bank card association in order to resolve antitrust concerns on multilateral interchange fees (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
European Commission
France: The Autorité de la Concurrence market-tests Commitments on MIFs, including on Debit and Credit Cards* Following a complaint made by two professional associations of merchants and retailers against ultilateral interchange fees (MIFs)used in the various payment systems in France, the (...)

The Turkish Competition Board imposes heavy fines on banking cartel (Akbank, Denizbank, Finans Bank, Turkiye Garanti Bankasi)
Erdem & Erdem
The Competition Board (the “Board”) conducted an investigation and decided that Akbank T.A.S. (“Akbank”), Denizbank A.S. (“Denizbank”), Finans Bank A.S. (“Finans Bank”), Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S. (“Garanti Bankasi”), Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. (“Halk Bank”), Turkiye Is Bankasi A.S. (“Is Bankasi”), (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority concludes its investigation in banking industry regarding “gentlemen’s agreement” between 8 banks and imposed an administrative fine of 33 million Euros on 8 banks for anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices
Hewlett Packard (Istanbul)
I. Background Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) concluded its investigation in banking industry regarding “gentlemen’s agreement” between 8 banks. The investigation has been launched in August 2009, and hearing before the Competition Board took place on March 1, 2011. The short version of the (...)

The Latvian Competition Council decides that the participation of commercial banks in the MIF for cash withdrawals and card payments was illegal under Article 11 Part 1.1 of the Competition Act (Aizkraukles banka and Others)
Competition Council of Latvia
Prohibited Agreement in Banking Sector* On 3 March 2011 the Competition Council (CC) decided that 22 Latvian commercial banks have infringed Article 11 Part 1.1 of the Competition Law by participating in the Multilateral agreement on the interchange fee for cash withdrawals at ATM, cash (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission closes monitoring of termination by commitments agreement in interchange fees for transactions by debit and credit cards case (SERVIRED, SISTEMA 4B and EURO 6000)
European Commission
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The European Commission makes legally binding commitments offered by global payments technology company to cut interbank fees for debit cards (Visa Europe)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Payment cards: Visa debit card fees go down* 1. Background Card payments represent about 35 % of all non cash payments in the EU 27. It is estimated that businesses pay tens of billions of euros (25 billion in 2005) in fees per year to accept cards. The Commission has a long history of (...)

The Indian Competition Commission issues its first decision ruling that the collective decision of banks and housing finance companies to levy prepayment charges did not constitute a cartel (Neeraj Malhotra/Deustche Post Bank Home Finance)
TT&A
On 2 December 2010, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) delivered its first decision under the Competition Act, 2002. By a majority of 4:2, the CCI decided that the collective decision of banks/housing finance companies (“HFCs”) to levy prepayment charges did not constitute a cartel. In (...)

An Italian Administrative Court annuls the Competition Authority’s decision to reject commitments offered by an undertaking in order to address competition concerns relating to the interchange fees (Master Card)
European Court of Justice
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NCTM - Studio Legale Associato (Milan)
I. Introduction On 16 November 2010, the Regional Administrative Tribunal of Latium (the “TAR Latium”) annulled a decision by which the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”), rejected the commitments proposed by MasterCard in a proceeding pursuant to Article 101 TFEU (the “Commitments”). (...)

The US DoJ and seven US States file an antitrust suit against three credit and charge card transaction networks, challenging rules that allegedly restrict price competition at the point of sale (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Visa, MasterCard Settle U.S./State Antitrust Suit, While American Express Vows to Fight* The Department of Justice and seven states have filed a civil antitrust suit against the three largest credit and charge card transaction networks in the United States, challenging rules that allegedly (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes two parallel investigations into joint fixing banking commissions for payment services by accepting commitments (Accordi Interbancari Riba-Rid-Bancomat)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Introduction By a commitments decision taken on 30 September 2010 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) closed two parallel investigations against the Italian Banking Association (ABI) and Consorzio Bancomat, respectively. The ICA found the set of commitments offered by the parties to be (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a statement of objections to two banks concerning alleged exchange of confidential information on price (Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays)
European Commission
United Kingdom: Office of Fair Trading (OFT) proceeds with Loan Pricing Case On 29 September 2010, the OFT issued a Statement of Objections to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays in respect of alleged disclosure of confidential and commercially sensitive future pricing information. (...)

The Regional Court in Bratislava annuls the Slovak Antimonopoly Office’s decisions concerning an agreement restricting competition in the banking sector (Akcenta case)
Kinstellar (Prague)
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Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
A summary of arguments adopted by the Regional Court in Bratislava (the “Court”) in annulling decisions taken by the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (the “SVK AMO”) concerning an agreement restricting competition in the banking sector. Factual background By its judgments No. 3S 57/2010 of 28 September (...)

A Slovakian Regional Court annuls Competition Authority’s decision which fined a banking cartel (Ceskoslovenska obchodna banka (CSOB), Slovenska sporitelna (SLSP) and (VUB) Vseobecna uverova banka)
European Commission
Slovakia: Regional Court in Bratislava annuls Authority’s decision in Banking Cartel Following the hearings at the Regional Court of Bratislava (RC BA) on 23 and 28 September 2010, three judgments were adopted in the case of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (AMO) vs. (...)

The French Competition Authority fines French banks for illegally agreeing on interbank fees for dematerialized checks (Banque de France, les Banques Populaires Participations, La Banque Postale, BNP-Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, Crédit du Nord, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, LCL, HSBC, Société Générale, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne)
EDHEC (Nice)
Summary 11 French banks were fined for agreeing on fixed fees to be paid by banks for each interbank check, thereby distorting competition on the bank market. Facts Before 2002, interbank checks were physically transported from a bank to another, entailing processing costs and implying an (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority prosecutes fourteen private pension funds for client sharing agreements contrary to Art. 101 TFEU (Aegon)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 7 September the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) held that fourteen private pension funds have infringed Article 101(1) TFEU by dividing their clients in violation of the sector specific regulation which prescribed a different procedure for the assignment of clients. The Romanian pension (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority finds no cartel on the market for banking services (Association of Banks in Bulgaria)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 3 June 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) finalized its investigation into the alleged existence of price coordination in the banking sector with the finding that the collected evidence did not allow to establish the existence of a cartel and that similarity in prices was (...)

The Polish Court of Appeals overrules judgment of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection in the interchange fees case (Visa Europe Limited)
European Commission
Poland: The Court of Appeals overrules Judgment of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection in the Interchange Fees Case In its decision of 22 April 2010, the Polish Court of Appeals shared the arguments advanced by the President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer (...)

The US DOJ opens an investigation into possible collusion among various hedge funds that trade euro contracts
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
According to published reports, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has opened an investigation into possible collusion among various hedge funds that trade euro contracts. The inquiry comes amid a sharp decline in the value of the euro, which has fallen approximately (...)

The Romanian Competition Council fines € 3.4 M an undertaking for providing inaccurate information during the course of an investigation on alleged anti-competitive agreement in the banking sector (Raiffeisen Bank - Société Générale)
Musat & Asociatii (Bucharest)
On April the 21st 2010 the Romanian Competition Council (the ‘Council’) issued a press release stating that it had fined Raiffeisen Bank SA (‘Raiffeisen’) for supplying inaccurate information during the course of an investigation, making it the second bank fined during the course of that (...)

The Slovakian Competition authority condemns the three biggest banks in Slovakia for having concluded an agreement restricting competition (VUB, SLSP and CSOB)
European Commission
Slovakia: Cartel in the Banking Sector On 17 December 2009, a decision of the Council of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter ‘the Office’) came into force, by which the Council confirmed the first instance decision of the Division of Agreements Restricting Competition. (...)

A Spanish Court reduces the fine imposed on a savings bank for lack of assessment on the anticompetitive effects caused by the exchange of information and other restrictions by effect (Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa)
European Court of Justice
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Garrigues
In its judgment of December 10, 2009 on the appeal brought by Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa (“BBK”) against the Decision of the Spanish National Competition Authority (hereinafter CNC) of October 18, 2007 in the Basque and Navarre Savings Banks,case, the “Audiencia Nacional” has halved the fine imposed by (...)

A US District Court finds sufficient ground for a claim on alleged illegal secret rebates, kickbacks and commissions, though it rejects the claim on collusive conduct on the market for sales of title insurance (California Title Insurance)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Strike Three: Plaintiffs Again Fail to Allege Facts of Collusion in Oligopoly Market* Rather than being "plus factors," allegations of interdependent industry structure simply demonstrate that the challenged conduct of defendant title insurers was as consistent with competition as with (...)

The European Court of Justice dismisses an appeal by four Austrian banks against a CFI judgment, in which it upheld a Commission decision that fined eight banks a total of € 124.26 M for their participation in a series of illicit agreements in the banking sector (Lombard club cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 24 September 2009, the ECJ dismissed in its entirety an appeal by four Austrian banks against a CFI judgment of December 2006, in which the CFI largely upheld a Commission decision of June 2002 that fined eight Austrian banks a total of € 124.26 million for their participation in a series of (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines that seven banks and two card compagnies banks on the basis of both Art. 101 EC and its national equivalent for setting multilateral interchange fees (Authority Visa, Mastercard and Hungarian banks)
King’s College (London)
On 24 September 2009, the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH, competition authority of Hungary) adopted an infringement decision establishing that card companies Visa Europe, Mastercard and several Hungarian banks infringed Hungarian competition law and Article 81 EC with their agreement on (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office fines banks and international card companies for a breach of Art. 101 TFEU in relation to setting domestic interchange fees (Allianz Bank a. o.)
lakatos, koves and partners
On 24 September 2009 in proceedings n° Vj-18/2008 launched against 23 Hungarian banks, as well as the international card companies MasterCard and Visa, the Hungarian Competition Office (the "HCO") fined seven Hungarian banks for setting the same domestic interchange fee for all banks and both (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority identifies unfair competition practices in the banking sector (Banca Naţională a Moldovei)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 4 September 2009 National Agency for Protection of Competition (Agenţia Naţională pentru Protecţia Concurenţei) (ANPC) adopted a decision of non-intervention regarding the unfair competition practices observed in the banking industry. In November 2008 the ANPC initiated an investigation (...)

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

The Finnish Competition Authority imposes commitments on the pricing of ATM withdrawals by three banks which own the dominant ATM operator (Norde Bank / OP Bank / Sampo Bank)
Roschier (Helsinki)
The Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) has on 18 June 2009 imposed binding commitments on Nordea Bank Finland Plc (“Nordea”), OP-Pohjola Group (“OP”) and Sampo Bank Plc (“Sampo”) (jointly “Banks”) concerning their pricing of ATM withdrawals. The Banks own Automatia Pankkiautomaatit Oy (“Automatia”), (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority imposes fine of € 10.2 M on banks for their involvement in an alleged cartel (Erste Group, Intesa Sanpaolo, KBC Groep)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 12 June 2009, the Slovak Competition Authority has imposed fines on three foreign-owned banks operating in Slovakia, Slovenska sporitelna, a.s. (Erste Group), Ceskoslovenska obchodna banka, a.s. (Intesa Sanpaolo) and Vseobecna uverova banka, a.s. (KBC Groep) for (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigation on common interbank charges and MAV payment services by accepting commitments (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a recent decision, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed an investigation into two anticompetitive agreements affecting the banking market for payment services by accepting and making binding a set of commitments presented by the parties upon the basis of Art. 14-ter of the Act (...)

The ECJ Advocate General Bot champions narrow reading of “actual impact on the market” criterion (Erste Group Bank)
Van Bael & Bellis
In his opinion delivered on 26 March 2009 in the Austrian Bankscase, Advocate General Bot recommended that the ECJ quash an earlier judgment of the CFI and lower the fines imposed on certain Austrian banks for their involvement in cartel practices. The Advocate General upheld the appellants’ (...)

The Italian competition authority fines four banks for operating as a cartel in the market of public compensation for workers on the basis of art. 81 EC (INAIL Affidamento Servizio di Cassa)
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) fined four major Italian banks (Unicredit Banca S.p.A., Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena) for participating in a cartel in the supply of cashiering services to INAIL, the Italian public entity (...)

A Polish Court overturns the NCA’s decision on interchange fee holding that the participation of 20 banks in an agreement fixing the fee level does not constitute an infringement of Art. 81.1 EC nor equivalent national provision (Visa - Mastercard)
Hogan Lovells (Warsaw)
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PKN Orlen
On 12 November 2008, the Polish Court for Competition and Consumer Protection (“the Court”) overturned the decision of the President of the Office for Competition and Consumers’ Protection (the “OCCP” or the “Office”) concerning interchange fees. The court stated that the participation of 20 Polish (...)

The UK OFT publishes the results of a market study on personal current accounts in the retail banking sector and claims hidden fees result in cross subsidisation (PCAs UK)
KOF Swiss Economic Institute - ETH Zurich
Introduction On 16 July 2008, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published the results of a market study that investigates personal current accounts (PCAs) in the UK retail banking. The OFT is concerned about the overall level and the structure of fees of PCAs. The fee structure results in (...)

The Hungarian Competition Council accepts commitments to modify the membership fees of the Budapest Stock Exchange and terminates a cartel investigation against trading companies (Budapesti Értéktõzsde Zrt.)
Ernst & Young
The background of the investigation The Competition Office initiated an investigation against the Budapest Stock Exchange ("BSE") and 11 trading companies, as it suspected an illegal horizontal coordination among the trading members of the BSE concerning (i) the amendment of BSE’s membership (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority accepts commitments from brokers in a cartel investigation (Budapest Stock Exchange)
Van Bael & Bellis
In two orders of 20 March and 21 May 2008, the Hungarian Competition Authority (the “GVH”) ended its investigation into an alleged price coordination by brokers at the Budapest Stock Exchange (the “BÉT”). The first order ended the investigation, due to the lack of evidence, into an alleged fixing (...)

A US District Court revives concern that some "club deals" could violate the antitrust laws (Bain Capital Partners)
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
Companies that have participated in or plan to participate in joint bidding practices in the context of corporate acquisitions (otherwise known as “club deals”) may risk some unwanted antitrust scrutiny from shareholders and others. A recent decision by the United States District Court for the (...)

The European Commission prohibits multilateral interchange fees for cross-border card payments in the EEA (MasterCard)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission prohibits MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees for cross-border card payments in the EEA"* On 19 December 2007 the Commission adopted a decision prohibiting MasterCard‘s multilateral interchange fees (MIF) for cross-border card payments with MasterCard and Maestro-branded (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission fines three savings banks for market sharing, information exchange and coordination agreements (Caja Vital, BBK, Kutxa, CAN)
Compass Lexecon (Madrid)
Last October, the National Competition Commission (CNC, hereafter) published its Decision to impose a € 24 million fine to the savings banks from the Basque country and Navarra for maintaining a collusive agreement consisting on market sharing, information exchange and the coordination of their (...)

The Spanish competition authority fines four saving banks for market sharing and coordination of commercial conditions (Caja Vital, BBK, Kutxa, CAN)
Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
Introduction On 18 October 2007 the Spanish competition authority, Comisión Nacional de Competencia (CNC), sanctioned four saving banks (cajas de ahorro) with a total fine of € 24 million for participating in a cartel involved in sharing markets and coordinating commercial conditions. The four (...)

The European Commission concludes that the French national interbank network association infringed Article 81 of the Treaty (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Decision against the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB)"* I. Overview In its decision of 17 October 2007, the Commission concluded that the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB) had infringed Article 81 of the Treaty. The Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB) (‘the Groupement‘) manages the (...)

The European Commission fines two card network operators for not admitting a bank as a member (Visa International, Visa Europe, Morgan Stanley)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission fines Visa International and Visa Europe for not admitting Morgan Stanley Bank as a member"* I. Overview On 3 October 2007 the Commission fined Visa International and Visa Europe (‘Visa‘) €10.2 million for refusing to admit Morgan Stanley Bank (a UK bank) as a member of Visa Europe (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court increases one of the fines imposed to banks by the NCA in the ATM agreement case from € 5 to 7 M (Europay Austria, "Bankomat-Vertrag")
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte
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Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
On 12 September 2007, the Austrian Supreme Cartel Court decided on the appeals lodged against the Cartel Court’s decision imposing a fine of EUR 5 million on Europay Austria. We reported on the Cartel Court’s decision in e-Competitions(Axel Reidlinger and Heinrich Kühnert,The Austrian Cartel (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds that the circular of the Italian Bank Association, interpreting rules on unilateral unfavourable changes of banking contractual conditions, violates Art. 81 EC (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)
Ashurst
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Banca d’Italia (Italian Central Bank)
Background ABI is a non-profit association to which nearly all Italian banks belong. In August 2006, the Italian Banking Law (Legislative Decree n° 385/1993) was amended by Law n° 248/2006. Art. 10 of Law n° 248/2006, which lays down provisions that banks have to respect when changing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds that the circular of a bank association, interpreting rules on unilateral unfavourable changes of banking contractual conditions, violates Art. 81 EC (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)
Ashurst
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Banca d’Italia (Italian Central Bank)
Background ABI is a non-profit association to which nearly all Italian banks belong. In August 2006, the Italian Banking Law (Legislative Decree n° 385/1993) was amended by Law n° 248/2006. Art. 10 of Law n° 248/2006, which lays down provisions that banks have to respect when changing (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority opens an investigation under Art. 81 EC for bid rigging in the banking sector (INAIL Affidamento Servizio di Cassa)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
On 28 May 2007 the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) commenced an investigation against Unicredit Banca (UB), Banca IntesaSanPaolo (IS), Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), all primary Italian banks. The AGCM alleges that these banks had been involved (...)

The Northern Irish Competition Commission published a market investigation on personal current account banking services (Which ? complaint)
Hogan Lovells
Overview On 15 May 2007, nine days in advance of its statutory deadline of 25 May 2007, the Competition Commission (the "CC") published its findings in its market investigation into personal current banking services in Northern Ireland. The market investigation was a result of a reference made (...)

The Danish Competition Authority condemns a cartel between seven local banks (Lokalbanksamarbejdet)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 28 March 2007, the Danish Competition Authority (“DCA”) issued a decision condemning a cartel between seven local Danish banks. Background Following a tip-off from a journalist, the DCA conducted dawn raids at seven local Danish banks in June 2006. The DCA found evidence that the banks had (...)

The UK Competition Commission consults on remedies on the personal current account banking services market (PCA Northern Ireland)
Nestlé (Vevey)
On 6 March 2007 the UK Competition Commission (“CC”) published for consultation a proposed final remedies package to remedy the competition issues provisionally identified by the CC in its review of the personal current account (“PCA”) banking services market in Northern Ireland. The CC is the (...)

The Slovenian Competition Authority declares null and void decisions of four major banks introducing a new ATM fee (Nova Ljubljanska banka, Banka Celje, Nova KBM, Abaka Vipa)
Fatur
This case started in May 2006, when the Slovenian Competition Authority on the basis of information from the media and its statutory duty started the proceedings on finding whether decisions of four major Slovenian banks on introduction of new ATM fee for withdrawing cash to their retail (...)

The Polish NCA holds that the joint setting of domestic interchange fee for payment cards is contrary to both Polish and EC competition law (Visa/MasterCard)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
Following a complaint from 2001, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter: the OCCP President) issued on December 29, 2006, a decision declaring the joint setting of domestic interchange fee rates separately in Visa and MasterCard four-party payment card (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes its highest fine ever for concerted and abusive practices in the debit card and payment system sector (Europay Austria...)
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte
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Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
On December 1st, 2006 the Austrian Cartel Court imposed its highest fine ever, of EUR 5 million, on Europay Austria Zahlungsverkehrssysteme GmbH (“Europay Austria”). Europay Austria was fined for violation of the Austrian law equivalents of Art 81 and Art 82 because of its participation in the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves the interchange fee setting scheme proposed by the Spanish payment card systems (Euro 6000, Servired, 4B System...)
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Compass Lexecon (Madrid)
Merchant associations pressed charges a year ago against the three Payment Card Systems which operate in Spain (EURO 6000, SERVIRED and 4B System), for their multilateral agreement setting interchange fees (Inter-System interchange fees). Interchange fees are fees paid by banks servicing (...)

The Slovenian Competition Authority declares null and void a decision of a bank association since it restricts competition on market for purchases payable by credit installments at the point of sale (Bank Association of Slovenia)
Fatur
This case started in May 2005, when the Slovenian Competition Authority on the basis of its statutory duty started the proceedings on finding whether the decision of the Bank Association of Slovenia (“BAS”) on introduction of new joint banking product - BankKredit, represents restrictive (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority imposes the Italian Banks Association to withdraw its interpretative circular relating to the new provisions on the unilateral changes of banking contractual conditions (ABI)
Studio Legale DDPV
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Luciani Annalisa Sudio Legale
On 14 September 2006, the Italian Antitrust Authority (the “Authority”) started an in depth investigation (the “Decision”) to ascertain whether the circular, distributed by the Italian Banks Association (“ABI”) on 7 August 2006, and dealing with the application of new rules on unilateral changes to (...)

The Czech Competition Authority annuls a decision having found 8 banks guilty of exchange of information (Stavebni sporitelny)
University Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris)
By decision n° R 18-23/2005 the President of the Office (hereinafter “the President”) annulled (for the second time) the Office’s first instance decision, which condemned six banking establishments for an infringement of competition by exchanging statistics about their operations in the area of (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court finds that the cooperation in the savings bank sector violates Art. 81.1 EC but fulfils for the most part the criteria of Art. 81.3 EC (Erste Bank)
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte
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Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
In a decision of 13 June 2006, the Austrian Cartel Court found that the cooperation agreements concluded between the majority of players in the Austrian savings banks sector violated Article 81(1) EC, but was for the most part exempt under Article 81(3) EC. In Austria, banking operations have (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading concludes that an agreement between banks to set a default interchange fee is restrictive of competition, contrary to both Art. 81 EC and national mirror competition provision (MasterCard UK)
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
On 6 September 2005, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) announced its Decision following a long running investigation of MasterCard UK Members Forum Limited (“MMF”) default interchange fee arrangements. The Decision itself was published on 13 October 2005. The OFT concluded that the parties had (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court requests an ECJ preliminary ruling regarding the application of Art. 81 EC to an exchange of information agreement between financial institutions in relation to clients solvency and compliance (Asnef-Equifax)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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Eli Lilly and Company (Madrid)
This Order has been adopted by the Tribunal Supremo (“TS”) in the appeal lodged against a judgment of the Audiencia Nacional (“AN”) which decided on the appeal against a decision adopted by the Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia (“TDC”) granting an individual exemption to an agreement on (...)

The Belgium competition authority launched an enquiry on the alleged discriminatory practices of a bank on the basis of both EC and national provisions (Banksys)
BDGS Associés (Paris)
The Belgian Minister of Economy has asked the “Corps des Rapporteurs” of the National Competition Council (“NCC”) to conduct an investigation concerning Banksys, a Belgian corporation, that it suspects of abuse of dominant position on the Belgian integrated electronic payment systems and services (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority imposes a fine on three banking institutions for coordination of their interest rates (Bank of Cyprus/Cyprus Popular Bank/Hellenic Bank)
International Transport Forum
On 22 June 2004 the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) put an end to its ex officio investigation of the commercial banks in Cyprus for the existence of a possible cartel, unanimously finding three banking institutions liable for restrictive enterprise agreements. A total (...)

A US Court of Appeals invalidates rules of two cards network service providers that prohibit member banks from issuing competitors’ cards (Visa USA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Washington)
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Stanford University
Background Visa and Mastercard are network services providers that are owned and supported by thousands of member banks, which act as both issuers [1] and acquirers [2] of Visa and Mastercard charge cards. (Network services (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd circuit rejects attempt by plaintiff to challenge under s. 1 of the Sherman Act conduct already subject to scrutiny by the SEC in a case involving alleged conspiracy among U.S. options exchanges (Stock Exchanges Options Trading)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
The Second Circuit recently rejected two attempts by plaintiffs to challenge, under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, conduct already subject to scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both decisions hold that conduct is impliedly immune from the antitrust laws if Congress has given the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issues decision limiting application of antitrust laws in securities (Friedman v. Salomon Smith Barney)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
The Second Circuit recently rejected two attempts by plaintiffs to challenge, under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, conduct already subject to scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both decisions hold that conduct is impliedly immune from the antitrust laws if Congress has given the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority doesn’t approve protocol signed by of the private health insurers united in a professional association (Solidarity Protocol)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Does Not Approve Health Insurers’ ’Solidarity Protocol’* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has not approved the so-called ’Solidarity Protocol’ of the private health insurers united in Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (ZN). According to NMa, these agreements restrain competition between (...)

The European Commission adopts an exemption decision on multilateral interchange fees clarifying the application of the competition rules to card payment systems (Visa International)
Hong Kong’s Competition Commission
"Clarifying the application of the competition rules to card payment systems: the Commission’s exemption decision on the Multilateral Interchange Fees of Visa International"* On 24 July 2002 the Commission adopted an exemption decision in its case concerning certain ‘multilateral interchange (...)

The European Commission fines eight Austrian banks for participating in a cartel (’Lombard Club’ cartel)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission fines eight Austrian banks for participating in the ‘Lombard Club’ cartel"* Introduction On 11 June 2002 the Commission concluded its first full-blown cartel inquiry into the banking sector by imposing fines totalling € 124,26 million on eight Austrian banks for their participation (...)

The European Commission fines five German banks for fixing the charges for the exchange of euro-zone currencies (Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank, BayerischeHypo und Vereinsbank, Vereins und Westbank, Deutsche Verkehrsbank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 6. Commission fines five German banks for fixing the charges for the exchange of euro-zone currencies"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk and Graphite electrodes, both (...)

The UK OFT grants exemption for agreement to set multilateral interchange fee in the arrangement for operation of a network (LINK International Network)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
I. Introduction On 16 October 2001, the UK Office of Fair Trading (« OFT ») concluded its investigation into certain agreements for the operation of the LINK network. The OFT found that, although the centrally set multilateral interchange fee for the operation of the LINK network appreciably (...)

The French Competition Authority fines major banks and credit establishments for implementing an anticompetitive agreement in the sector for property loans to private individuals (Crédit Agricole, Crédit Lyonnais, Société Générale)
French Competition Authority
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Several major banks and credit establishments penalised for having implemented an anticompetitive agreement in the sector for property loans to private individuals in 1993 and 1994* In a decision dated 19th (...)

The former Spanish second-tier Competition Authority rules that an agreement between two savings banks to coordinate the closing of their offices in several small villages was covered by the former “de minimis” exemption (Cajas Rurales Jalón y Zaragoza)
European Court of Justice
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Garrigues
In a Decision dated November 15, 1999, the former Spanish second-tier Competition Authority (“Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia”, hereinafter, the “TDC”) ruled that an agreement between two savings banks to coordinate the closing of their offices in several small villages was subject to an (...)

The European Court of Justice partly sets aside the Court of First Instance judgment in a case concerning the imports and exports of electricity in the Netherlands (Rendo v. Commission)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Judgment Of The Court Of 19 October 1995 In Case C-19/93 P, Rendo NV Et Al. V Commission"* On October 19, 1995 the Court partly set aside the judgment of the Court of First Instance of November 18, 1992 (Case T-16/91) and referred the case back to the Court of First Instance. In a proceeding (...)

The European Commission adopts a notice on the application of the EC competition rules to cross-border credit transfers
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Cross-border credit transfers"* In September the Commission adopted a notice on the application of the EC competition rules to cross-border credit transfers [OJ C 322 of 19.11.95]. In general, the Commission takes a positive view to cooperation agreements between banks that in particular (...)

Dominance

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

The US District Court for the Eastern district of New York reminds that potential defendants in certain Section 1 monopoly cases should be prepared to address a plaintiff’s “direct evidence” of harm to competition and may not be able to solely rely on its relative market share as a defense (American Express)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Court Rules Against American Express Based on Both Direct and Indirect Evidence of Harm to Competition* On February 19, 2015, the District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued its ruling on liability in United States v. American Express. Following a seven-week trial, the Court (...)

The England and Wales High Court grants interim injunction ordering defendant bank to continue providing financial services given threat of irreparable harm to claimants (Dahabshiil Transfer Services / Barclays Bank)
St John’s Chambers
United Kingdom: interim injunctions in competition litigation* Private competition litigation is continuing to develop in the United Kingdom. The courts and the Competition Appeal Tribunal are seeing an increase in the number and complexity of follow-on damages actions, often between foreign (...)

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 (...)

The EU Commission renders legally binding commitments concerning the use of RICs for data sourced competitors (Thomson Reuters)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission accepts commitments from Thomson Reuters* On 20 December 2012, the Commission issued a press release stating that it has made legally binding the commitments offered by Thomson Reuters to address the Commission’s concerns that Thomson Reuters might have abused its dominant (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority accepts behavioural commitments of a central securities depository and closes its investigation into the alleged abuse of dominant position (SC Depozitarul Central SA)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 11 December 2012 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) concluded its investigation into the alleged abuse of dominant position on the market for the services rendered by the central securities depository by accepting a series of behavioral committments related to the pricing of the (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina finds an abuse of a collective dominant position on the market of fast money transfer services (Western Union)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 6 November 2012 the Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (KV) found that four Western Union agents have abused their collective dominant position on the market for fast money transfer services by including the exclusivity clauses in their cooperation agreements with the banks (...)

The Chilean Competition Tribunal rejects exclusionary behaviour in the credit reference agency market (CCS II)
Chilean Competition Tribunal (Santiago)
On 9th August 2012, the Chilean Competition Tribunal (‘TDLC’) issued its judgment on the CCS II case (Sentence 124/2012). The TDLC rejected the complaint filed by the competition agency (‘FNE’) against the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (‘SCC‘), a trade association that is the exclusive producer and (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments offered by financial services company to abolish the licensing fees that banks pay for the use of US International Securities Identification Numbers (S&P)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission makes Standard & Poor’s commitments legally binding* On 15 November 2011 the European Commission announced it has decided to make the commitments offered last May 2011 by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”), to abolish the licensing fees that banks pay for the use of U.S. (...)

The European Commission makes legally binding commitments by a national numbering agency to abolish fees for use of US international securities identification numbers (Standard & Poor’s)
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
The Rick Perry Syndrome* “Oops“, the Commission did it again… On November 15, 2011, in the S&P case, the Commission again closed abuse of dominance proceedings with an Article 9 decision. As already explained, Article 9 decisions have become the conventional procedure in Article 102 TFEU (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority grants preliminary injunction against a leading banking group’s exclusive dealing (Bank of Brazil/ Interstate Federation of the Public Workers)
Itaú BBA (Sao Paulo)
The Brazilian Competition Authority – Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica(hereinafter CADE) – has granted a preliminary injunction on an administrative procedure initiated ex officioby CADE itself, following a complaint against Banco do Brasil presented by the Interstate Federation of the (...)

The European Commission publishes commitments offered by a leading financial company (Standard & Poor’s)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 16 May 2011, the Commission published commitments offered by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) to remedy concerns regarding the pricing of international securities identification numbers (“ISINs”). ISINs are a standardized form of identification of securities which are needed in order to buy or (...)

The EU General Court confirms fine on a leading payment card company for market foreclosure (Morgan Stanley/Visa)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 14 April 2011, the General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgment on Visa‘s appeal against a 2007 Commission decision relating to Visa‘s refusal to admit Morgan Stanley as a member of its payment card network (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2007, No. 10). In its judgment, the GC rejects (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court dismisses complainant’ standing to challenge commitments in antitrust cases (Zlaten Lev Capital)
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (the “SAC”) rejected complainants’ locus standi to challenge the commitments accepted by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the “CPC”) in antitrust cases. Complainants were considered to lack any cause for appeal because commitments (...)

The Hungarian Competition Council accepts commitments to remedy a suspected abuse of dominant position concerning the pricing of mortgages vis-à-vis "captured consumers"
Ernst & Young
The Hungarian Competition Council adopted a commitment decision terminating an investigation relating to the suspected abuse of dominant position by one of the leading banks in Hungary offering personal banking services, including housing loans (mortgages). The investigation was triggered by (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority finds abuse of a dominant position on the market of fast money transfer services (Western Union)
University of Belgrade
On January 12, 2010, the Serbian Competition Authority (Komisija za zastitu konkurencije) adopted a decision against companies EKI Transfers and Tenfore, both Western Union’s Serbian agents, for the abuse of a dominant position on the relevant market of fast money transfer services in Serbia. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments proposed by the historical postal operator (Poste Italiane - Aumento Commissione Bollettini C/C)
European Commission
Italy: The Antitrust Authority (ICA) accepts Commitments by Poste Italiane On 16 December 2009, the Italian Competition Authority accepted binding commitments proposed by Poste Italiane during an investigation into a possible abuse of dominant position in the collection and payment services (...)

The European Commission confirms sending statement of objections to a financial company alleging unfair pricing (Standard & Poor’s)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 19 November 2009, the Commission announced that on 16 November 2009 it had sent a Statement of Objections to Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) for an alleged violation of Article 82 EC. According to the Commission’s press release, S&P is the sole-appointed National Numbering Agency (“NNA”) (...)

The General Court confirms the Commission’s decision in an abuse of dominant position case in the banking sector (Clearstream)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG EAC
Clearstream: General Court confirms Commission Decision* On 9 September 2009 the Court of First Instance (now the General Court) dismissed the action for annulment brought by Clearstream Banking AG (also known as Clearstream Banking Frankfurt or CBF) and Clearstream International SA against (...)

The European Commission opens formal proceedings against a financial company regarding its use of securities identification numbers (Standard & Poor’s)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 12 January 2009, the Commission announced that it has opened formal proceedings into Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) licensing conditions regarding International Securities Identification Numbers (“ISINs”). ISINs are unique identifiers for securities issued throughout the world, and S&P is (...)

The Czech NCA clears a 25 % price increase by the dominant fuel card issuer based on a new quantitative rebate system (CCS)
Government of the Czech Republic
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European Court of Justice
On 18 February 2008, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition announced via a press release that it terminated its investigation of the increase of fees collected by CCS, the principal issuer of fuel cards in the Czech Republic, from the merchants which operate its point-of-sale (...)

A German Court implicitly applies the essential facilities doctrine in the sector of travel services credit card (Royal Bank of Scotland / Lufthansa)
White & Case (Hambourg)
In a decision dated 5 December 2007, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the Court) ordered Deutsche Lufthansa AG (Lufthansa) to grant the permit to Royal Bank of Scotland plc. (RBS) to list the turnover tax for the travel services supplied by Lufthansa inner-Germany on its credit card (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office terminates with commitments a case of alleged excessive price increase of the largest commercial bank (OTP Bank)
bpv Jadi Nemeth Attorneys
The reason the GVH has initiated proceedings against OTP Bank was because OTP Bank unilaterally raised its repayment fee, charged in case of early repayment of the total amount of the personal credit or the mortgage, by 600%. The case ended with commitments undertaken by OTP Bank. 1 (...)

A Belgian Court dismisses alleged anticompetitive agreement and abuse of dominant position on the electronic payment card market on the basis of both Art. 81/82 EC while using documents communicated by the EC Commission on the basis of Art. 15 Reg. 1/2003 ("Master Card - Visa Card")
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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UGGC Avocats (Brussels)
Background Electronic payment card schemes involve two basic operators : the “issuing bank”, which is a credit institution, and member of a card scheme, that has a contractual relationship with a cardholder for the provision and use of a card of that card scheme ; and the “acquiring bank”, which (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority accepts commitments and closes proceedings for breach of Art. 82 EC on electronic payment services and debit card terminals markets (Banksys)
Autorité de contrôle prudentiel
Background Following an investigation initiated by the Belgian Ministry of Economy in 2000 and two complaints lodged by small businesses associations in 2002, an enquiry was launched on 29 June 2004 by the Belgian Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence) about alleged anticompetitive (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading issues interim measures direction pending completion of investigation for alleged predatory pricing and exclusionary price discrimination of the London Metal Exchange (LME)
Sanoma
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued an interim measures direction to the London Metal Exchange (LME) under section 35 of the Competition Act 1998. This is the first time that the OFT has employed these powers. The interim measures direction prevents LME from extending the trading hours (...)

The European Commission finds that company active in securities clearing violated article 82 by refusing to supply certain clearing and settlement services to one of its customers and by applying discriminatory prices to that same customer (Clearstream)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG EAC
"The Clearstream decision: the application of Article 82 to securities clearing and settlement"* On 2 June 2004 the Commission adopted a decision finding that Clearstream Banking AG and its parent company Clearstream International SA violated Article 82 by refusing to supply certain clearing (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority extends its investigation into tariff charges for electronic debit card payment facilities (Interpay)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Extends its Investigation into Interpay* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) is extending its investigation into Interpay. The decision to do so was taken on the basis of a preliminary investigation by NMa and signals received from the market. The tariffs Interpay charges for its (...)

Mergers

The US Department of Justice fines an activist investor for a record $11 million for violations of the HSR Act (ValueAct)
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (New York)
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Office of Attorney General
On July 12, 2016, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that activist investor ValueAct Capital agreed to pay a record $11 million fine and also agreed to injunctive relief to settle allegations that ValueAct violated the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, 15 U.S.C. § (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger subject to divestment commitments and behavioural conditions in the payment services and terminals sector (Equens / Worldline)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 April 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) approved the acquisition by Worldline of Equens (and its subsidiary PaySquare) under the EU Merger Regulation, subject to divestment commitments and behavioural conditions. Worldline is the incumbent operator of payment services and (...)

The US FTC announces a consent settlement based on an application of the investment-only exemption to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act’s premerger notification requirements (Third Point)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On August 24, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a consent settlement based on an application of the investment-only exemption to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act’s premerger notification requirements. The settlement relates to the 2011 acquisitions of shares of Yahoo!, Inc. by Third (...)

The Competition Commission of India notices parties to furnish material information or face penalty (Sumitomo)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction A notice was filed by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited (“Sumitomo”) in relation to its acquisition of 2.77% in Reliance Capital Limited (“RCL”), through share subscription. Although the acquisition was for less than 25% and did not entail control, it required a filing with the (...)

The Competition Commission of India re-defines control and approves an acquisition (Caladium / Bandhan)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction Caladium Investment Pte. Ltd. (“Caladium”) is a company incorporated in Singapore and an affiliate of GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Bandhan Financial Services Limited (“BFSL”) is a company registered with the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) as a non-banking financial (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority refers its first gun-jumping case to the public prosecutor (KPMG / EY)
Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
First Danish gun jumping case referred to the public prosecutor* On 11 June 2015 the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) reported Ernst & Young Europe LLP (EY) to the public prosecutor for pre-implementing the merger with the former Danish KPMG member firm (KPMG Denmark). EY (...)

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

The Competition Commission of India directs a company to file a merger notification following several minority stakes acquisitions (Piramal)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) directed Piramal Enterprises Limited (“Piramal”) to file a notice pursuant to Section 20(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”), read with Regulation 8 of the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to transaction of business (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority forwards an application for a prohibition order against the acquisition of the franchisors of two largest national real estate chains (Swedbank Franchise / Svensk Fastighetsförmedling)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority is going to court to stop the real estate concentration* The Competition Authority is going to court to prohibit Swedbank Franchise from acquiring Svensk Fastighetsförmedling. The deal would significantly impede competition on a large number of local markets. (...)

The Danish Competition Authority approves proposed acquisition of mortgage lender (Jyske Bank / BRFkredit Bank)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: The Danish Competition Council approves Jyske Bank A/S’ acquisition of BRF kredit A/S* On 30 April 2014 the Danish Competition Council (DCC) approved Jyske Bank A/S´ (Jyske Bank) proposed acquisition of mortgage lender BRF kredit A/S (BRF). The DCC finds that the transaction will not (...)

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission partially relaxes mergers and the new acquisition rules in the insurance sector are expected to help facilitate market entry and expand the footprint of private capital
AnJie Law (Beijing)
China Issues New Insurance Merger Rules* Level play ground, optimizing industry structure, promoting competitiveness, and enriching the risk management tool kit of the insurance institutes”, quoting a statement of CIRC posted on its website. Promotion of Competition CIRC’s partially relaxed (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority does not oppose the acquisition of an independant insurance underwriter because other competitors including the banks and challenger brands are likely to have a similar ability to provide strong price-based competition (IAG / Wesfarmers)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose IAG’s proposed acquisition of Wesfarmers’ insurance underwriting business* IAG’s proposed acquisition was publicly announced in December 2013. The ACCC has closely reviewed the proposed acquisition as IAG and (...)

The Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus concludes that a transaction does not affect the current position of the acquirer and therefore decided that it did not raise serious doubts as regards its compatibility with the competitive market (Vicini/SLZA)
Chrysses Demetriades & Co. LLC (Limassol)
Background On the 27th of December 2013, the Commission for the Protection of Competition (the «Commission») received a notification relating to the proposed acquisition by S.L.Z.A. S.A. («S.L.Z.A.») of 30% of the share capital of Vicini S.p.A. («Vicini»), in accordance with section 13 of the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a transaction for the creation of a joint venture operating in the banking sector on the basis of the non-applicability of the relevant Italian law provisions governing concentrations between undertakings (Bassilichi / Accenture)
C partners law and tax firm (Milan)
Background The purpose of the transaction at hand was to allow Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A. (“MPS”), one of the major Italian banks, to externalise certain back-office and administrative services, entrusting them to other companies outside its corporate group, as part of its strategic (...)

The German Competition Authority clears acquisition on the market for cash handling services (Prosegur Compania de Seguridad / Brink)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt clears mergers of cash handling services (CIT) companies* Prosegur’s acquisition of Brink’s only cleared subject to conditions relating to the Berlin market The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of Brink’s Deutschland GmbH and Brink’s Transport und Service GmbH by the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves an acquisition subject to remedies regarding crossed-minority stakes in competitors (CaixaBank and Banco de Valencia)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
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Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
On December 14, 2012, CaixaBank S.A. (“CaixaBank”) notified the National Competition Commission (“CNC”) of the acquisition of sole control of Banco de Valencia, S.A. (“Banco de Valencia”). The transaction involved two credit entities active mainly in the retail bank market in Spain. On February 28, (...)

The Albanian Competition Authority fines companies for gun-jumping and failure to notify (Viloil, Geci, Media Vision, Alpha Bank/Emporiki Bank of Greece)
Këllezi Legal
The Albanian Competition Authority recently fined several companies for failure to notify a transaction and for late filing. The fines still remains symbolic at an amount not exceeding EUR 1’000; however, the number of decisions shows a trend in enforcement policy. On 5 February 2013, an (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a payment processing company for infringing commitments offered to obtain merger clearance (REDSYS)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On 17 December 2012 the Spanish Competition Authority ("CNC") imposed a fine of €819,000 on REDSYS S.L. ("REDSYS") as it considered that the payment processing company had infringed the commitments which it had voluntarily offered in Phase 2 of the procedure in order to obtain clearance for its (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office clears the acquisition of the prospective owner and operator of the gas interconnector between Slovakia and Hungary by two state owned companies (Magyar Villamos Művek / MFB Invest Befektetési és Vagyonkezelő / Magyar Gáz Tranzit)
Philip Morris
The Hungarian Competition Office (“HCO”) has approved the acquisition of joint control by Magyar Villamos Művek Zrt. (“MVM”), MFB Invest Befektetési és Vagyonkezelő Zrt. (“MFB Invest”) over Magyar Gáz Tranzit Zrt. (“MGT”), the prospective owner and operator of the gas interconnector between Slovakia and (...)

The EU Commission declares the concentration between two stock exchange operators to be incompatible with the internal market (NYSE Euronext / Deutsche Börse)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
Quality of Evidence in Complex Merger Cases* The Commission published the text of its most recent prohibition decision in Deutsche Boerse / NYSE Euronext. The Decision is lengthy and the Commission appears to have formulated a response to most arguments proffered by the parties. However, a (...)

The EU Commission blocks a merger due to its potential effect on European financial derivatives traded on the stock exchange (NYSE Euronext / Deutsche Börse)
Mayer Brown (Paris)
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Greenberg Traurig (London)
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Mayer Brown (Brussels)
On 1st February 2012, the European Commission adopted its decision prohibiting the USD 10.2 billion merger between Deutsche Börse (DB) and NYSE Euronext (NYSE). The decision is notable not the least because it is rare for the Commission to block a merger. Only 21 have been blocked compared (...)

The EU Commission blocks proposed merger of stock exchange groups as it would create a quasi-monopoly in the European exchange-traded derivatives industry (NYSE Euronext / Deutsche Börse)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext Blame “Narrow” Market Definition for EC’s Objection to Combination* Despite a U.S. Department of Justice decision to clear the deal, the European Commission (EC) today blocked the proposed merger of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Börse. The EC determined that the (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission clears, subject to commitments, merger in the credit card terminal sector (Verifone/Hypercom)
Callol, Coca & Asociados
This is an interesting case and we are reporting it based on the publicly available (press) information. The merger Decision on the case is not public. Verifone Systems, Inc is a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, and Hypercom Corporation, a high security electronic payment (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission clears a merger in the electronic payment terminals sector following the agreement by the merging entities to extend remedies beyond Spain (Verifone / Hypercom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 December 2011, the Spanish National Competition Commission (CNC) agreed to authorise the acquisition by Verifone Systems, Inc. (Verifone) of sole control of Hypercom Corporation (Hypercom) in the first phase, subject to compliance with commitments offered by Verifone. The (...)

The US Department of Justice conditionally approves combination of stock exchanges groups while the EU Commission’s review is still pending (NYSE Euronext / Deutsche Börse)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
U.S. Justice Department Conditionally Approves Combination of Stock Exchange Groups, European Review Still Pending* The prospects for the merger of Deutsche Börse AG and NYSE Euronext are looking a little brighter, since the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division conditionally approved (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM publishes a conditional approval of proposed transaction under Anti-Monopoly Law (Alpha V)
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Gibson Dunn (Hong Kong)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM") has published a conditional approval of proposed transaction under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML"). This decision reflects China’s view of the broad reach of the AML’s merger provisions and the lengthy procedure that merging parties can expect. Since (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes an infringement procedure on implementation of the remedies imposed for the approval of a merger in the banking sector (Banca Intesa/San Paolo IMI)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a recent decision, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed the infringement procedure on whether the parties to the bank merger Banca Intesa/San Paolo IMI had correctly implemented the remedies imposed in the conditional authorization of the transaction. The ICA was happy with the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a banking merger leading to a collective dominant position by imposing a set of structural and behavioural remedies (Intesa San Paolo-Banca Monte Parma)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has conditionally authorized the Intesa San Paolo (ISP) acquisition of Banca Monte Parma (BMPR)by a second phase investigation decision . The ICA imposed a set of remedies to fix the competition concerns arising from a dominant position between ISP and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts a second phase investigation into a banking merger for allegedly anti-competitive coordinated effects (Intesa San Paolo / Banca Monte Parma)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has decided to open a Second Phase investigation into the Intesa San Paolo (ISP) acquisition of Banca Monte Parma (BMPR). The ICA held that the transaction was likely to result in the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in a number of banking (...)

The European Commission approves the acquisition of Italian retail banks by French bank concluding that it will not raise any competition concerns (Crédit Agricole of France/Cassa di Risparmio della Spezia)
Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 10 November 2010 the European Commission approved the acquisition of the retail bank Cassa di Risparmio della Spezia SpA of Italy and a number of other retail bank branches of Intesa SanPaolo in Italy by Crédit Agricole of France, (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court approves of the NCA’s qualifying, with reference to Art. 3(5)(c) of Reg. 139/2004, a national-dimension acquisition of control as a concentration notifiable under the Competition Act but quashes the fine for non-notification (Allianz Leasing Bulgaria)
University Paris Dauphine
I. Introduction 1. An ex officio investigation of Allianz Bulgaria Holding’s non-notified acquisition of Allianz Leasing Bulgaria (formerly Balkan Star Services), a vehicle leasing company, gave both the Competition Protection Commission (hereinafter ‘CPC’) and the Supreme Administrative Court (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds the commitments proposed by the parties suitable to ensure the correct implementation of the remedies imposed for the approval of a banks merger (Banca Intesa/San Paolo IMI)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
It seems that the Banca Intesa/San Paolo IMI merger case may finally come to an end. By a recent decision, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) accepted the remedies offered by the parties to ensure the correct implementation of the obligations they undertook for the regulatory approval of (...)

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

The French National Competition Authority conditionally clears in Phase I a merger in the banking sector (Groupe Banque Populaire / Groupe Caisse d’Epargne)
University Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris)
Facing its first newsworthy merger since the Law of Modernization of the Economy came into force, the French National Competition Authority (NCA) cleared in Phase I a merger in the banking sector between Groupe Banque Populaire and Groupe Caisse d’Epargne after having (i) laid down stringent (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal rejects appeal against clearance of a merger in the bank sector (Lloyds TSB/HBOS)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 December 2008, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) ruled on an appeal against the decision of the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Mandelson, to clear the proposed acquisition of UK banking group HBOS by competitor Lloyds TSB. In September 2008, (...)

The UK OFT waives competition law in the interest of "maintaining the stability of the UK financial system" and clears a major concentration in the banking sector (Lloyds-HBOS)
Of all the human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition. (Henry Clay, 1832) A. Abstract In an exceptional stir, the UK government engineered the merger of Lloyds TSB plc (Lloyds) and HBOS plc (HBOS) waiving the competition law in the interest of (...)

The British Government is reported to have assured a bank that its aim to create the UK’s largest retail bank would not be subject to competition scrutiny (Lloyds/HBOS)
Compass Lexecon
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Compass Lexecon (London)
Summary On 18 September 2008 Lloyds TSB announced that it was to purchase HBOS, in a move that would create the UK’s largest retail bank . Although such a merger would normally cause serious competition concerns, the Government is reported to have assured Lloyds that the deal would not be (...)

The Italian watchdog imposes in phase II significant divestitures while clearing a merger in the bank sector (Antonventa/Monte dei Paschi di Siena)
Ughi e Nunziante Studio Legale
On 23 July 2008 the Italian Antitrust Authority (the IAA) published a conditional clearance decision after a second-phase investigation concerning the acquisition by Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) of sole control over Banca Antonveneta (Antonveneta) and its subsidiaries. Before (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the insurance sector (Vienna Insurance Group/Erste Bank)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* On 17 June the Commission decided to approve, subject to conditions, the proposed acquisition by Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) of the insurance subsidiaries of Austria’s Erste Bank. Vienna Insurance Group is an international (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger between banking groups with both structural and behavioural remedies (Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena/Banca Antonveneta)
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Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation On 7 May 2008, the ICA cleared the merger by which Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) will acquire the whole capital stake of Antonventa with the exception of three undertakings (Interbanca, Interbanca International and Bios Interbanca). The aim of the concentration is to create the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority to consider remedies in a new banking merger (MPS/Antonveneta)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
,
ASP (c/o Johnson & Johnson Medical NV - Belgium)
The Italian Antitrust Authority (the IAA) has recently opened a second-phase investigation in relation to the transaction through which Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) will acquire Banca Antonveneta (Antonveneta). Antonveneta is the bank which in 2005/2006 was the subject of the hard-fought (...)

The Icelandic Competition Authority cleared a joint venture in the credit card sector subject to remedies, including conditions on board membership and the exchange of information (Kaupthing/Einkaklubburinn-Ekort)
PwC
The operation On 24 September 2007, Kaupthing bank notified the Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA) of its proposed acquisition from SPRON bank of 49% of the share capital of Einkaklubburinn ehf (now Ekort). The agreement between SPRON and Kaupthing was structured to lead to Kaupthing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger between banking groups with structural remedies (Intesa San Paolo/Cassa Di Risparmio Di Firenze)
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Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A (ISP) and Cassa di Risparmio Firenze S.p.A. (CRF) are two Italian banking groups operating also in the financial and insurance sectors. ISP proposed the acquisition of full control of CRF through a share exchange transaction. The market(s) The following (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears a merger in the financial services sector (Fortis/ABN AMRO)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Mergers: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2007"* On 3 October the Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of certain assets of the Dutch banking group ABN AMRO by the Belgo-Dutch financial services group Fortis. The Commission’s decision was granted subject to the (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves a merger in the banking sector (Fortis, ABN AMRO)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Fortis/ABN AMRO: When do bank mergers raise competition concerns?"* On 3 October 2007, the Commission cleared the acquisition of certain assets of the Dutch banking group ABN AMRO by the Belgo-Dutch financial services group Fortis subject to divestiture commitments. The acquired assets (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger in the financial sector with structural and behavioural remedies (UniCredito Italiano /Capitalia)
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Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation The ICA cleared the merger by which UniCredito Italiano (UCI) will absorb Capitalia, which will cease to exist as legal entity. UCI is an international bank based in Italy and listed on the Milan stock exchange. It offers a wide range of banking and financial services in several (...)

The Italian Competition Authority gives conditional clearance to a merger giving rise to one of the largest European banking group (Unicredit/Capitalia)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
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DiaSorin
On 18 September 2007 the Italian Antitrust Authority (IAA) decided to authorize the merger between Unicredito Italiano S.p.A (also Unicredit) and Capitalia S.p.A. (Capitalia) (collectively as the Parties), subject to a number of structural and behavioural remedies. The transaction, through (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority approves with remedies a merger in the point of sale electronic payments sector, subject to behavioural remedies (BBS / Teller)
Ernst & Young
The operation On 2 January 2007, the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) was notified of the planned acquisition of Teller AS (“Teller Target”) by Bankenes BetalingsSentral AS (BBS). The acquisition was to be made through a special subsidiary company of BBS, carved out of its existing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the banking sector (Banche Popolari Unite/Banca Lombarda e Piemontese)
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Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation Banche Popolari Unite (UBI) will absorb Banca Lombarda e Piemontese, which will cease to exist as a legal entity, after the companies met the ICA’s concerns about reduced competition in two Provinces and the conflicting roles with Intesa Sanpaolo, one of the major Italian banking (...)

The French Minister of Economy grants Phase I clearance to a merger in the market for property services without remedy (Banque Federale des Banques Populaires/Foncia Groupe)
Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier
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Scemla Loizon Veverka & de Fontmichel (SLV&F)
In his decision dated 26 March 2007, the French Minister granted a clearance to the acquisition of sole control of Foncia Groupe by Banque Fédérale des Banques Populaires (“BFBP”). BFBP, which is controlled by 19 Banque Populaire regional banks, CASDEN Banque Populaire, and Crédit Coopératif, is (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court rejects appeal against finding of a merger in the Austrian savings bank sector regarding the creation of a “liability pool” joint venture (Haftungsverbund)
European Court of Justice
1. Introduction In a second judgment of 21 March 2007, parallel to the one given on the same day (Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof), 21 March 2007, Erste Bank, Decision BWB/K-50, Case 16 OK 12/06 ; See Stefan Polster, The Austrian Supreme Court holds that certain aspects of a co-operation (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears in phase II a merger in the banking sector with remedies including expansion of its activities (BCP/BPI)
PLMJ (Lisboa)
The operation By decision dated 16 March 2007, the PCA authorized in phase II the acquisition of sole control of Banco BPI SA (« BPI ») by the Banco Comercial Português SA (« BCP ») (para. 1). The markets The relevant markets have been defined by the PCA as the market of credit to small business; (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority conditionally clears in phase II a merger in the banking and card payment systems markets (BCP/BPI)
Uria Menéndez (Lisbon)
On 16 March 2007, the Portuguese Competition Authority (the “AdC”) adopted a merger control decision according to the terms of Law 18/2003, of 11 June (the Competition Act), providing clearance to the envisaged acquisition of sole control of the Portuguese bank Banco BPI (“BPI”) by one of its (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority opens a new Phase II review in the banking sector (Banche Popolari Unite-Banca Lombarda e Piemontese)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
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WilmerHale (Brussels)
Following the change of competences occurred in 2006, which granted to the Italian Antitrust Authority (IAA) full jurisdiction over the banking sector, the Italian competition watchdog continues to strictly scrutinize the consolidation process affecting financial and credit institutions in (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority clears a merger in the of financial services subject to limitation of the duration of the non-compete clause (Dogan-Deutsche Bank)
Esin
The operation Doðan Yayýn Holding is Turkey’s leading media and entertainment conglomerate. It operates in TV and radio broadcasting as well as print and online media. DYH is uniquely positioned in the Turkish media industry. Doðan Yayýn Holding, Hürriyet, Milliyet and Doðan Burda stocks are (...)

The Italian Competition Authority green-lights top banks merger subject to remedies (Banca Intesa / San Paolo IMI)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
On October 6, 2006 Banca IntesaSpa (Intesa) and SanpaoloIMI Spa (Sanpaolo), two of the main Italian listed banks, submitted to the Italian Antitrust Authority (IAA) the merger by incorporation of Sanpaolo with and into Intesa (the Merger). The Merger, that was cleared with conditions after a (...)

The French Minister of the Economy clarifies his position on the risk of coordination by parent companies while clearing his first transaction in the banking sector (NatIxis)
DGCCRF
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French Competition Authority
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ARCEP
Summary The NatIxis case was the first decision by the French Minister of the Economy on an important merger in the banking sector, which was recently included in his area of responsibility. Examination of the proposed merger provided the occasion to apply a national approach to the banking (...)

The European Commission decides not to formally intervene following a claim brought under Article 21(4) of the EC merger regulation in a case concerning cross-border banking merger (BBVA/ABN)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Italian cross-border banking mergers: A case for Article 21 of the Merger Regulation?"* On 29 March 2005 the Commission received the notification of the proposed acquisition by the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (‘BBVA‘) of the Italian bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (‘BNL‘) by (...)

The German Competition Authority clears merger in the financial sector under the condition that there are no concerns regarding a potential violation of cartel law (Eurohypo)
German Competition Authority
Foundation of Eurohypo AG under further examination after clearance* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded its examination under merger control of the foundation of Eurohypo AG, Frankfurt, by a merger of the three mortgage banking subsidiaries of the commercial banks Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt, (...)

The European Commission approves the take-over of a Dutch credit insurance company by German insurance company (Gerling/NCM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2001 and 31st December 2001"* The Commission approved the take-over of the Dutch credit insurance company NCM Holding N.V. (“NCM”) by German insurance company Gerling-Konzern Versicherungs-Beteiligungs AG (“Gerling”). The Commission’s review (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears the acquisition by a Scandinavian banking group of sole control of a Swedish financial services provider owned by the Swedish post office (Nordbanken/Postgirot)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2001 and 31st December 2001"* The Commission approved, subject to conditions, the acquisition by Scandinavian banking group Nordea of sole control of Sweden’s Postgirot Bank AB, a financial services provider currently owned by Posten AB, (...)

The European Commission approves a merger between two Swiss based companies active in private and corporate banking and in the financial services business (Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft/Schweizerische Bankverein)
European Commission - DG TRADE
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"Mergers Recent important decisions" On 4 February, 1998 the undertakings Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (SBG) and Schweizerischer Bankverein (SBV), two Swiss based companies active in private and corporate banking and in the financial services business world wide, notified their proposal to (...)

State Aids

The EU Court of Justice considers the compatibility of the bail-in provisions in the 2013 banking communication with the principle of proportionality (Kotnik)
Intesa Sanpaolo (Milan)
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Intesa Sanpaolo (Milan)
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Intesa Sanpaolo (Milan)
Bank rescue in the European Union. From bail-out to bail-in* States have traditionally faced banking crisis through the so-called bail-out tool: public resources have been used for a long time in order to rescue banks, putting the burden on public finance, thus on taxpayers. Actually, this is (...)

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

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

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

The European Commission clears a privatisation in the baking sector through a division of assets (Catalunya Banc)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Privatisation by Splitting the Assets* The sale of a public undertaking [privatisation] needs to be preceded by independent valuation and be carried out on the basis of a competitive procedure. Certain guarantees may be provided to prospective buyers, if they could increase the sale price. The (...)

The EU General Court confirms that the Commission enjoys a large margin of discretion in determining the compatibility of restructuring aid (ABN Amro Group)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Two Judgments: a) Unlimited State Guarantees and b) The Discretion of the Commission in Restructuring Measures* Main points Unlimited state guarantees are never compatible with the internal market The existence of an unlimited guarantee and its (...)

The EU General Court rules that the context in which an administrative decision is adopted may reduce the burden of motivation imposed on an institution (ABN Amro Group)
European Procurement Law Group
GC hints at a reduction of the burden of motivation of administrative decisions under EU law (T-319/11)* In its Judgment of 8 April 2014 in case T-319/11 ABN Amro Group v Commission, the General Court has indicated that the context in which an administrative decision is adopted may reduce the (...)

The EU Court of Justice follows its non-formalistic approach to the application of the market economy private investor test in relation to capital injection subject to repayment (ING Groep)
European Procurement Law Group
CJEU further pushes for a universal application of the ’market economy private investor test’ (C-224/12)* In its Judgment of 3 April 2014 in case C-224/12 Commission v Netherlands and ING Groep, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has followed its antiformalistic approach to the (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues two judgements on the application of the Private Investor Principle and correspondently the Private Creditor Principle (ING Groep)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog The Importance of a Correct Framing of the Private Creditor and Private Investor Tests* Main points A public authority acting as private creditor must exhaust all legally available means of recovering money owed to it. A private creditor may agree (...)

The European Parliament adopts a regulation on structural funds requiring compliance of financial instruments with state aid rules
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog An Assessment of the State Aid Consistency of Financial Instruments Supported by Structural and Investment Funds (Regulation 1303/2013)* Introduction Last week I reviewed the new State aid guidelines on risk finance. This week I will examine the (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms prior State aid cannot be taken into account by public authority to justify further subsidies as market behaviour (Land Burgenland)
Unilever (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
In its recent judgment in Land Burgenland (Joined Cases C-214/12 P, C-215/12 P and C-223/12 P) the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that compatible State aid granted to an undertaking in the past must not be taken into account in the context of the Market Economy (...)

The EU Court of Justice applies "private vendor" test and upholds Commission’s approach on the incompatibility of a state aid for the privatisation of an Austrian bank (GRAWE)
European Procurement Law Group
Maybe not such a global appraisal of State aid after all: CJEU backtracks from a truly economic approach (C-124/10)* In an interesting recent paper, Pablo Ibáñez Colomo conducts a very detailed statistical overview of State Aid Litigation before EU Courts (2004–2012) Journal of European (...)

The European Commission authorises an emergency recapitalisation of up to €250 M for a Slovenian bank (Nova Ljubljanska Banka)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2011* On 7 March, the Commission authorised an emergency recapitalisation of up to €250 million for the Slovenian bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB). NLB passed the stress tests conducted in mid-2010 by the European Banking Authority (...)

The EU General Court partly annuls EU Commission decision on restructuring aid granted to a bank on account of the financial crisis (ING)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 March 2012, the General Court (“GC”) has partly upheld ING’s appeal against a Commission decision of 2009 regarding various forms of aid granted by the Dutch State to the banking group ING in the context of the latter’s restructuring plan during the financial crisis. The ING group had (...)

The European Commission approves the liquidation plan submitted by the German government for a German commercial bank (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"WestLB liquidation – the end of the saga"* 1. Introduction On 20 December 2011, the European Commission approved the liquidation plan submitted by the German government for the commercial bank WestLB, majority‑owned by the two savings banks associations in North Rhine‑Westphalia and the (...)

The European Commission temporarily approves a €200 M asset guarantee granted by the Austrian government to a bank (Hypo Alpe Adria)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 19 July 2011 the Commission temporarily Approved a €200 million asset guarantee, which Austria granted to the bank at the end of 2010. Given the specific characteristics of the guarantee, which shelters the bank from losses (...)

The European Commission approves the aid to German bank on the basis of an in‑depth restructuring plan (Hypo Real estate)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The rescue and restructuring of Hypo Real estate"* 1. Introduction In this article, we briefly describe the case of State aid for Hypo Real Estate (HRE). HRE is a German banking group that got into difficulties in 2008 and was subsequently rescued and nationalised by Germany. In July (...)

The European Commission temporarily approves recapitalisations in the financial sector granted by the Irish authorities (Allied Irish Banks/Educational Building Society, Irish Life & Permanent group Holdings)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 15 July 2011 the Commission temporarily Approved a recapitalisation worth up to €13.1 billion of an entity resulting from the merger of Allied Irish Banks and Educational Building Society (AIB/EBS), as well as a (...)

The European Commission applies the joint European support for sustainable investment in city areas allowing member states to invest structural fund resources in revolving funds to support sustainable urban development and regeneration (JESSICA)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"First JESSICA decisions: approach and implications"* 1. Introduction The Commission has made increasing use of financial engineering instruments in the 2007‑2013 programming period. These instruments complement traditional grant funding and aim to make EU cohesion policy efficient and (...)

The European Commission temporarily approves the recapitalisation of a bank by the Irish authorities of up to €5.35 billion, after a first €3.5 billion restructuring plan was approved (Bank of Ireland)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 11 July 2011, the Commission temporarily approved the recapitalisation of the Bank of Ireland (BoI) by the Irish authorities of up to €5.35 billion, after a first €3.5 billion restructuring plan was approved in July 2010. This (...)

The European Commission clears a joint restructuring plan for two Irish banks (Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 29 June 2011, the Commission cleared a joint plan for Anglo Irish Bank (Anglo) and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) whereby they will be merged and resolved over a period of 10 years. The two Irish financial (...)

The European Commission approves the joint restructuring of two Irish banks (Anglo Irish Bank/Irish Nationwide Building Society)
De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Resolution of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society"* 1. Introduction Of the banks that have received State aid during the financial crisis, few have received as much aid relative to their risk‑weighted assets as Anglo Irish Bank (Anglo) and Irish Nationwide Building (...)

The European Commission grants temporary approval to Danish support for the liquidation of a bank which was declared bankrupt (Amagerbanken)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 6 June 2011 the Commission granted temporary Approval to Danish support for the liquidation of Amagerbanken, which was declared bankrupt in February 2011. The aid is limited to what is necessary to facilitate an orderly (...)

The European Commission clears Danish support for the liquidation of a bank, as it provides for an orderly wind‑up of the bank and foresees sufficient safeguards to limit distortion of competition (Eik Bank)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 6 June 2011 the Commission cleared Danish support for the liquidation of Eik Bank, as it provides for an orderly wind‑up of the bank and foresees sufficient safeguards to limit distortion of competition. The bank, until 2010 (...)

The European Commission decides that French bank was not overcompensated for collecting funds to finance social housing (Crédit Mutuel-Livret bleu)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 24 May 2011, following a formal investigation started in 1998, the Commission decided that Crédit Mutuel was not overcompensated for distribution of the Livret bleu savings account in France. In 1975 France created the (...)

The European Commission approves the restructuring plan of the agricultural bank of Greece (ATE)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 23 May 2011 the Commission approved the restructuring plan of the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE), judging it apt to restore the bank’s long‑term viability whilst ensuring it shares the burden of its restructuring and (...)

The European Commission concludes that a French venture capital fund which aims to encourage the raising of risk capital for young innovative SMEs is compatible with the guidelines on risk capital (FNA)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2011* On 20 April, the Commission concluded that the national venture capital fund which aims to encourage the raising of risk capital for young innovative SMEs is compatible with the guidelines on risk capital. The French national (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves the State aid package and the restructuring of leading Dutch financial services company (ABN AMRO)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The ABN AMRO restructuring decision* On 5 April 2011, the Commission took a final conditional decision approving the State aid package of the ABN AMRO Group and the restructuring of the company. This conditional decision followed the opening of a formal investigation on 8 April 2009, which, - (...)

The European Commission approves several State aid measures in favour of Austrian bank (Kommunalkredit Austria)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2011* On 31 March, the Commission approved several measures in favour of Kommunalkredit Austria AG. Before the crisis, Kommunalkredit was the seventh largest Austrian bank with a balance sheet of €37 billion. Its business consisted of (...)

The European Commission approves a support package and restructuring plan for a Dutch financial institution subject to certain conditions (ABN AMRO Group)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2011* On 5 February, the Commission approved a support package and restructuring plan for the ABN AMRO Group, subject to certain conditions. The restructuring package has been under implementation since October 2008, when the Dutch (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on the application of State aid rules to support measures in favour of banks in the context of the financial crisis
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* Following a public consultation on the State aid temporary rules established in response to the economic and financial crisis, the Commission believes there are still grounds for considering that the requirements for the (...)

The European Commission extends the State aid temporary framework to support measures in favour of banks in the context of the financial crisis
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Prolongation of the State aid temporary framework* 1. Introduction - The State aid temporary framework The Commission adopted the State aid temporary framework in December 2008 as a response to the global financial crisis. At that time, and in view of the serious risk of a credit crunch, it (...)

The European Commission authorises aid for the restructuring of a regional Spanish bank (CajaSur)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 8 November 2010 the Commission authorised aid for the restructuring of CajaSur. CajaSur provided retail banking services, mostly in the region of Andalucía, and came into financial difficulties as a result of its (...)

The European Commission extends its ongoing State aid investigation into German bank (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 5 November 2010 the Commission extended its ongoing State aid investigation into WestLB after reaching the conclusion that the bank had received an estimated Eur. 3.4 billion in State subsidies more than it was initially (...)

The European Commission approves the Danish Government’s measures for the liquidation of a regional bank (Fionia Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 25 October 2010 the Commission approved the Danish Government’s measures for the liquidation of Fionia Bank. Fionia Bank was a regional, full service bank based on the island of Funen and neighbouring islands in central (...)

The European Commission approves the restructuring of Latvia’s second biggest bank (Parex)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 15 September 2010 the Commission approved a thorough restructuring of Parex, Latvia’s second biggest bank before the crisis. The bank, which was partly nationalised in November 2008, benefited from State aid for a total (...)

The European Commission authorises a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 3 September 2010 the Commission authorised a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (FSF). Its capital, which amounts to € 10 billion, stems from the (...)

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

The European Commission authorizes a € 550 M capital injection provided by Austria in favor of a bank and approves a new restructuring plan (BAWAG Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Commission has authorised on 30 June 2010 a €550 million capital injection provided by Austria in favour of the BAWAG bank and approved a new restructuring plan of the bank13. In 2007 already, the Commission had approved a (...)

The European Commission authorizes aid for the restructuring of a Spanish financial institution (Caja Castilla-La Mancha)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 29 June 2010 the Commission has authorised aid for the restructuring of Caja Castilla-La Mancha. The Commission’s investigation found that the orderly break-up of Caja Castilla-La Mancha, followed by the sale of the banking (...)

The European Commission grants final clearance to the Swedish aid for the restructuring of an investment bank (Carnegie Investment Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 12 May 2010 the Commission has granted final clearance to the Swedish aid for the restructuring of Carnegie Investment Bank. In October 2008, the Swedish government provided a rescue loan of SEK2.4 billion (€ 225 million) to (...)

The European Commission issues a working document on the application of State aid rules to government guarantee schemes covering bank debt to be issued after 30 June 2010
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 30 April 2010, DG Competition prepared a staff working document on the application of State aid rules to government guarantee schemes covering bank debt to be issued after 30 June 2010. The document proposes a review of the (...)

The European Commission authorizes, under the temporary framework, a Slovenian measure to provide insurance cover via the State-owned agency to exporters who are unable to obtain cover from the private market (SID Banka)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission also authorised a Slovenian measure to provide insurance cover via the State-owned agency, SID Banka, to exporters who are unable to obtain cover from the private market as a result of the current financial (...)

The European Commission approves the establishment of a national agency constituting an impaired asset relief scheme for financial institutions in Ireland (National Asset Management Agency)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 26 February 2010, the Commission approved the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), an impaired asset relief scheme for financial institutions in Ireland. The purpose of NAMA is to restore stability (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves State aid package and restructuring of European financial services group (Dexia)
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
,
Credit Agricole
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Dexia restructuring decision"* On 26 February 2010, the Commission took a final, conditional decision approving the State aid package to, and the restructuring of, Dexia SA (‘Dexia‘), which benefited from a large State aid package. This conditional decision follows an in-depth investigation (...)

The European Commission authorizes Danish scheme providing export loans to Danish exporters and/or their clients experiencing difficulties in accessing funding
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has authorised a Danish scheme providing export loans to Danish exporters and/or their clients who are experiencing difficulties in accessing funding in the current financial crisis. The Commission found the (...)

The European Commission authorizes an amendment to a Dutch short-term export credit insurance scheme
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has authorised an amendment to a Dutch short-term export credit insurance scheme, which was initially approved on 2 October 2009. The amendments include a reduction in the level of premiums to be paid by (...)

The European Commission approves aid given by the UK authorities to facilitate restructuring of UK financial services company (Dunfermline Building Society)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 25 January 2010, the Commission approves aid given by the UK authorities to facilitate restructuring of the Dunfermline Building Society of the United Kingdom. The restructuring consisted of the immediate split-up of (...)

The European Commission approves the measures taken by the UK Government for the liquidation of UK specialist mortgages and savings products company (Bradford & Bingley)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* On 25 January 2010 the Commission approved the measures taken by the UK Government for the liquidation of Bradford & Bingley. Bradford and Bingley provided specialist mortgages and savings products. It operated 197 (...)

The European Commission approves a Hungarian measure aimed at providing liquidity to eligible financial institutions in Hungary to support lending to the economy
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2010"* The Commission has approved a Hungarian measure aimed at providing liquidity to eligible financial institutions in Hungary to support lending to the economy. In the period from late 2008 to early 2009, the Hungarian financial (...)

The European Commission approves two State aid measures in favor of a German bank consisting in an injection of capital and an impaired assets relief measure in the form of guarantees for two portfolios of structured securities (Landesbank Baden-Württemberg)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2009"* Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (‘LBBW‘) benefited from two support measures: an injection of € 5 billion of tier-one capital and an impaired assets relief measure in the form of guarantees of € 12.7 billion for two portfolios of (...)

The European Commission approves State aid measures concerning the recapitalization of a UK bank (Royal Bank of Scotland)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2009"* Under a package of financial support measures approved by the Commission on 13 October 2008, RBS received state recapitalisation of £ 20 billion (€ 22 billion), giving the state a 70 % stake in the bank. Approval of this (...)

The European Commission endorses UK restructuring plan in favor of a UK bank (Lloyds Banking Group)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2009"* Lloyds Banking Group is the entity resulting from the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in January 2009. In 2008, HBOS was on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of risky lending and heavy dependence on wholesale funding. (...)

The European Commission approves a package of measures to support the restructuring of UK mortgage bank (Northern Rock)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2009"* On 28 October 2010, the Commission approved a package of measures to support the restructuring of UK mortgage bank Northern Rock. The bank will be split into a ‘good’ bank that will continue the economic activities of (...)

The European Commission authorizes UK restructuring aid package in the banking sector (Northern Rock)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB)
"Restructuring in the banking sector during the financial crisis: the Northern Rock case"* I. Introduction In normal circumstances the exit of inefficient firms is part of a self-correcting mechanism in the market. In this way market-based competition penalises those who make less efficient (...)

The European Commission approves restructuring State aid granted to a German medium-size private bank (IKB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* IKB is a medium-sized private German bank with a business focus on medium-sized companies. IKB was the first bank in Germany to receive aid, in 2007, to offset the damage caused by bad investments in structured securities. (...)

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

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

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

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

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

The European Commission temporarily clears a recapitalisation scheme and an asset relief measure offered to regional German bank (Landesbank Baden-Württemberg)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* The European Commission granted temporary clearance to a recapitalisation scheme and an asset relief measure offered to Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) by the German State of Baden-Württemberg. The asset relief is to be (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector in the current crisis under the State aid rules
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 22 June 2009 the Commission adopted a Communication on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector in the current crisis under the State aid rules (2). This is the fifth (...)

The European Commission approves a German scheme designed to further stabilize the financial markets by providing financial institutions with the possibility of asset relief
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* Under EU state aid rules, the European Commission approved a German scheme designed to further stabilise the financial markets by providing financial institutions with the possibility of asset relief. This scheme is in addition (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves State aid to German bank (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG MOVE
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The WestLB restructuring decision"* I. Introduction On 12 May 2009, the European Commission took a final decision on State aid given to German bank WestLB AG, by approving a €5 billion risk shield. This conditional decision followed an in-depth investigation opened in October 2008, and was (...)

The European Commission approves recapitalisation of German bank (Commerzbank)
German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht )
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Commerzbank recapitalisation decision: providing legal certainty in times of crisis and guidance for future restructuring"* On 7 May 2009 the Commission approved the € 18 billion recapitalisation of Commerzbank AG (“Commerzbank”). It was one of the first decisions the Commission has taken on (...)

The European Commission approves the UK homeowners mortgage support scheme to help households affected by the financial downturn
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Groupe Holder
,
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2009"* On 21 April 2009, the Commission approved the UK Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme to help households affected by the financial downturn. The scheme aims to reduce the level of home repossessions likely to occur as a result (...)

The UK Government notifies the European Commission its intention to set up a scheme to alleviate the funding constraints that banks are facing (Asset-Backed Securities Guarantee Scheme)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Groupe Holder
,
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2009"* On 17 April 2009, the UK notified its intention to set up another scheme to alleviate the funding constraints that banks are currently facing. By guaranteeing AAA rated residential mortgage-backed securities (‘RMBS’), the UK (...)

The European Commission temporary approves the illiquid asset back-up facility provided by the Dutch State to a financial group (ING Group)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Groupe Holder
,
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2009"* On 31 March 2009, the Commission approved for 6 months the illiquid asset back-up facility provided by the Dutch State to the financial group ING, while at the same time initiating the formal investigation procedure laid down (...)

The European Commission adopts a Communication on impaired assets, providing guidance to Member States on how to handle asset relief measures
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Groupe Holder
,
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2009"* In addition to the specific banking communications it has already issued, the Commission adopted on 25 February 2009 a Communication on ‘Impaired assets’. This Communication provides guidance to Member States on how to handle (...)

The Irish authorities notify the European Commission of their intention to recapitalise national Bank with € 1.5 billion (Anglo Irish Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Groupe Holder
,
"State aid: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2009"* On 19 December 2008, the Irish authorities informed the Commission of their intention to recapitalise Anglo Irish Bank with €1.5 billion. On 8 January 2009, the Irish authorities formally notified this measure. Due to the (...)

The European Commission adopts a temporary framework for State aid measures providing member States with additional possibilities to tackle the effects of the financial crisis
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 December 2008, the Commission adopted a temporary Framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis. The Framework forms part of the European Economic Recovery Plan announced on 26th November and it introduces a number of temporary (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on the application of State aid rules to measures taken in relation to financial institutions in the context of the current global financial crisis
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The new State aid temporary framework"* I. Introduction: the financial and economic crisis The unprecedented crisis in the international financial markets has created major challenges for the EU. Since the beginning of the crisis, the Council has emphasised the necessity of maintaining the (...)

The European Commission considers that the privatisation of publicly owned Austrian bank constitutes a State aid incompatible with EC State aid rules (Bank Burgenland)
DG REGIO Regional and urban policy
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid issues in the privatisation of public undertakings - Some recent decisions"* I. Introduction The general definition of State aid is set out in Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty, which prohibits ‘…any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which (...)

The European Commission approves aid to an innovative regional equity platform for SMEs in the UK’s West Midlands to overcome market failure in risk capital (Investbx)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG FISMA
"Commission approves aid to an innovative regional equity platform for SMEs in the UK’s West Midlands to overcome market failure in risk capital"* I. Background On 18 August 2006 the Commission adopted new Community guidelines on state aid to promote risk capital investments in small and (...)

The European Commission rules that preferential tax regimes for financial holdings granted by Luxembourg are incompatible with State aid rules ("Milliardaires" Holdings and Holdings of 1929)
European Commission - Legal Service
"State aid and preferential tax regimes for financial holdings - The Luxembourg’s Exempt 1929 Holdings case"* Taxation and the competitive structure of financial services markets ong> “Traditional” financing has changed considerably in the past century and traditional lending institutions (banks) (...)

The European Commission approves State guarantee granted by the Austrian government in the banking sector (BAWAG-PSK)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Enforcement of State aid control in the banking sector: BAWAG-PSK"* On 27 June 2006 the Commission decided to approve a State guarantee of € 900 million granted to BAWAG-PSK by Austria. The guarantee provided collateral for specific bad loans with the consequence that the assets remained (...)

The European Commission orders Germany to recover more than €3 billion, plus interest, from public banks (WestLB)
DG REGIO Regional and urban policy
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG REGIO Regional and urban policy
"German Landesbanken: Recovery of more than €3 billion, plus interest, from WestLB and six other public banks"* On 20 October 2004, the European Commission concluded its long-standing investigation of the transfer of public assets, in the 1990s, to seven German public banks (Landesbanken) by (...)

The European Commission applies the market economy investor principle in State aid cases concerning German State owned companies (German Landesbanken Cases)
E.CA Economics (Berlin)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Applying the Market Economy Investor Principle to State Owned Companies — Lessons Learned from the German Landesbanken Cases"* Introduction The Market Economy Investor Principle (MEIP) is in the Commission’s practice one of the entry points for economic analysis in State aid cases. Its purpose (...)

The European Commission approves State aid in the banking sector (Bankgesellschaft Berlin)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG ENER
"Enforcement of State aid control in the banking sector: Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG"* On 18 February 2004, following an extensive investigation, the Commission decided to approve the restructuring aid for the ailing group Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG worth almost € 10 billion. This amount (...)

The European Commission proposes to French authorities to phase out State guarantee granted to a public financial institution (CDC IXIS)
European Commission - DG EAC
"Where state guarantees supporting commercial banking activities distort competition, they must be abolished: the case of CDC IXIS"* Introduction Commission decisions have consistently confirmed that the financial sector is subject to competition rules, including those relating to state aid, (...)

The EU Court of First Instance issues its judgment in a case concerning transfer of capital to a German public law credit institution clarifying major policy issues concerning State aid rules (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG ENER
"The judgement of the Court of First Instance concerning the transfer of capital to Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (WestLB)"* On 6 March 2003 the Court of First Instance (CFI) issued the long-awaited judgement in the WestLB case concerning the transfer of the Wohnungsbauförderungsanstalt (...)

The German government accepts the amendment of the European Commission’s proposal for ’appropriate measures’ as regards the system of State guarantees to German public banks (Anstaltslast und Gewährträgerhaftung)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG ENER
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State guarantees to German public banks: a new step in the enforcement of State aid discipline to financial services in the Community"* By letter of 11 April 2002, the German government accepted the amendment of 27 March 2002 of the Commission’s proposal for appropriate measures as regards the (...)

The European Commission decides that a French bank had benefited from an overcompensation by the French State for its operation of savings account system (Crédit Mutuel, Livret Bleu)
European Commission - DG EAC
"Crédit Mutuel – Livret Bleu: Making sure that public services benefit consumers and not intermediaries"* Introduction On 15 January 2002, the Commission decided that Crédit Mutuel had benefited from an overcompensation by the French State, of the costs for operating the Livret Bleu system. (...)

The European Commission approves rescue aid of about 2 billion € for German financial institution (Bankgesellschaft Berlin)
European Commission - DG ENER
"Germany – Commission approves rescue aid of about Euro 2 billion for Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG (BGB)"* On 25 July 2001, the Commission approved the Federal Government’s application in respect of rescue aid of about € 2 billion to be granted by the Land of Berlin toBankgesellschaft Berlin AG (...)

The European Commission adopts communication on state aid and risk capital
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts communication on state aid and risk capital"* On 23 May the Commission adopted a communication on state aid and risk capita.It sets out how the Commission will assess, under the state aid rules, measures designed to promote the growth of risk capital markets. An increase in (...)

The European Commission adopts a formal recommendation on State guarantees for German public banks (Anstaltslast und Gewährträgerhaftung)
European Commission - DG ENER
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Germany — Recent developments on State guarantees for German public banks"* After intensification in the recent months of the contacts with the German Government, the European Commission adopted on 8 May 2001 a formal recommendation, proposing to the German Government so-called ‘appropriate (...)

The European Commission approves the prolongation of risk capital scheme for small technology companies in Germany (’Beteiligungskapital für kleine Technologieunternehmen’)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Germany — Prolongation of the «Beteiligungskapital für kleine Technologieunternehmen», a risk capital scheme for small technology companies"* The European Commission approved on 28 February 2001 the prolongation of a German risk capital scheme for small technology companies. Under the scheme (...)

The European Commission initiates the procedure laid down in art. 88(2) of the EC Treaty with regard to the regional venture capital funds proposed by the UK authorities
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Main developments between 1st October and 31st December 2000"* On 18 October 2000 the Commission decided to initiate the procedure laid down in Article 88(2) EC with regard to the Regional Venture Capital Funds proposed by the UK authorities. These funds are intended to fill a gap in the (...)

The European Commission investigates aid granted by the UK government in a venture capital fund located in northern Ireland (Viridian Growth Fund)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"United Kingdom – Commission investigates aid involved in the Viridian Growth Fund, a venture capital fund located in Northern Ireland"* On 26 July, the Commission decided to open the Article 88(2) EC procedure regarding aid involved in a new venture capital fund in Northern Ireland called the (...)

The European Commission authorizes aid for private investors participating in the creation of the high technology fund encouraging risk capital investments for early stage enterprises in high technology sectors in the UK
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"United Kigdom – The Commission authorizes aid for private investors participating in the creation of the High Technology Fund which is aimed at encourage risk capital investments for early stage enterprises in high technology sectors"* On 12 July, the European Commission authorised the (...)

The European Commission issues a report on services of general economic interest in the banking sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Report on services of general economic interest in the banking sector"* At its meeting in June 1997 in Amsterdam the European Council adopted a Declaration on «Public credit institutions in Germany« mentioning the possibility that «services of general economic interest« might exist also in the (...)

Procedures

The UK High Court allows a plaintiff to amend its claim and introduce pleas on the counterfactual which were not originally included in the complaint to the European Commission (Deutsche Bahn / MasterCard)
Blackstone Chambers
Illegal counterfactuals: bringing in new claims by the backdoor?*It is fairly well-established in competition cases that the hypothetical counterfactual – which, for the purposes of causation, posits what the situation would have been absent any breach of competition law – cannot contain unlawful (...)

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice refuses to approve an agreement between two companies on credit card interchange fees (Bancroft-Snell / Visa Canada Corporation)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Courts have begun to criticize plaintiff lawyers who file multiple overlapping class actions across the country. In Ontario, Perell J. refused to approve an agreement by two BC firms to share their fee with a Saskatchewan-based firm, Merchant Law Group (“MLG”) in Bancroft-Snell v. Visa Canada (...)

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales confirms that standard six years limitation period in tort or breach of statutory duty cases applies to competition cases (Arcadia / Visa)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
English Court of Appeal limits retailers’ Visa MIF claim to standard six years, dismissing arguments that concealment meant that time had not yet begun to run. On 05 August 2015, three English Court of Appeal judges confirmed in Arcadia Group Brands Limited and others v Visa [2015] EWCA Civ 883 (...)

The US Supreme Court allows appeal of terminated individual case from multi-district litigation proceeding (Gelboim / Bank of America)
Bona Law (San Diego)
US Supreme Court Allows Appeal of Terminated Individual Case from MDL Proceeding* The US Supreme Court just issued its decision in an antitrust case called Ellen Gelboim v. Bank of America Corporation. This case arises out of major multi-district litigation (an MDL) centered on allegations (...)

The US Supreme Court provides certainty to plaintiffs about the timing of their appeal in multidistrict litigations (Gelboim / Bank of America)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Supreme Court Revives LIBOR Antitrust Appeal in Gelboim et al. v. Bank of America Corp. et al.* On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a highly anticipated decision in a LIBOR-based antitrust class action suit allowing a plaintiff to immediately take a direct appeal (...)

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales holds that the trigger for the running of time for limitation purposes in a competition claim is not the discovery of every potentially relevant fact in the broadest sense (Arcadia)
Blackstone Chambers
“It’s too late baby, now it’s too late”: limitation, competition claims and knowledge* How much knowledge does a potential claimant need before time begins to run against a competition claim against a party alleged to have breached competition law? This was the key question addressed by Mr Justice (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the fine imposed for failure to submit information (CMK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Half a million failure to submit information* On 26th August 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the claim of “CMK” [Stupino Metallurgical Company]” and supported a determination of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia). In June 2014, FAS fined “CMK” OJSC 500,000 RUB for failure to (...)

The US Supreme Court grants certiorari and will soon decide whether a case that has been dismissed from a consolidated proceeding can be appealed immediately, notwithstanding other cases still pending in the same proceeding (Gelboim/Bank of America)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
Supreme Court to Review Appeal Issue in LIBOR Litigation* Contributing Author: Clayton Collett. Introduction The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp. and will soon decide whether a case that has been dismissed from a consolidated proceeding can be appealed (...)

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets publishes its study on the possibilities of switching banks for consumers who experienced a decrease of their income or value of their house
European Commission
The Netherlands: ‘Underwater Mortgages’ do not result in higher Interest Rates for Homeowners* On 20 December 2013, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published its study on the possibilities of switching banks for consumers who experienced a decrease of their income or (...)

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 UK OFT announces market study on competition in banking for small and medium-sized businesses
European Commission
United Kingdom: The OFT announces Market Study on SME Banking* On 19 June 2013, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced a market study on competition in banking for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and is seeking views on its scope. The study is part of the OFT’s continuing planned (...)

The Romanian Competition Council releases the report in relation to the payment cards market
Kinstellar (Bucarest)
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OMV Petrom
Introduction In 2011, the Romanian Competition Council (the “RCC”) launched a sector inquiry in relation to the market focused on: (i) how the interchange fees on the payment cards market are established; (ii) how the level of interchange fees and the taxes paid by the merchants to the (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a market test on multilateral interchange fees for domestic card transactions (Mastercard and Visa)
European Commission
France: The Autorité de la Concurrence market tests Visa and MasterCard’s Commitments to reduce Multilateral Interchange Fees for Domestic Card Transactions* On 6 May 2013, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) published Visa and MasterCard’s commitments to reduce the multilateral (...)

The High Court of England and Wales refuses stay of proceedings despite ongoing EU appeal in interchange fees case (WM Morrison Supermarkets v MasterCard)
University of Leeds
The High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) has refused to grant a stay of proceedings against Mastercard defendants in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc and others v MasterCard Incorporated and others [2013] EWHC 1071 (Comm). In this case, Morrisons and other major high street retailers claimed damages (...)

The Romanian Supreme Court rejects an appeal on points of law relying on claims of non-compliance with the right to inviolability of domicile brought against an order for unannounced inspections conducted under the Article 101 TFEU (BRD-Group Société Générale)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
The irremediable impairment of the rights of defence may arise from the disregard of the right to the inviolability of domicile Introduction ...whilst it is true that the rights of the defence must be observed in administrative procedures which may lead to the imposition of penalties, it is (...)