September 2004

Anticompetitive practices

The Paris Court of Appeal widens the possibilities for car manufacturers to fight against illegal parallel imports (Peugeot / SPEA / CNPA)
Lni avocats (Paris)
In April and August 1995, a European Automobile Association, the Syndicat des professionnels européens de l’automobile (SPEA), had referred a matter to the French Competition Council regarding practices implemented in the automobile distribution sector by two major French car manufacturers (...)

A Belgian Appeal Court holds valid a resale price maintenance provision taking into consideration lack of evidence that the agreement restricted the national market or a substantial part of it (Incanto / Livoque)
NautaDutilh (Brussels)
Description of the impugned case On 20 September 2004, the Antwerp Court of Appeal (‘the Court’) rendered its decision on the compatibility of a franchising agreement with the Belgian competition rules. The franchisor, Incanto BVBA, is active in the sector of jewellery and accessories and has (...)

The Stockholm City Court holds that a company may be fined for having undertaken cartel activities against itself (Asphalt Cartel)
Cederquist (Stockholm)
In September 2001 the Swedish Competition Authority (hereinafter the “SCA”) was approached by a number of former employees of the Swedish construction company NCC. They told stories of a market that for a very long time had been infested by agreements to share the markets, rig public bids and (...)

The European Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines on copper plumbing tube producers (Boliden, Outokumpu, Wieland, Halcor and HME Nederland)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines on copper plumbing tube producers"* In September 2004, the Commission imposed fines totalling EUR 222.3 million on the major European copper plumbing tube producers for operating a 13-year cartel in the copper plumbing tubes market. These (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Danish national postal operator finds guilty of abuse of dominant position on the market for the distribution of non-addressed items and local weekly papers (Post Danmark)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
Catholic University of Louvain
On 29 September 2004, the Danish Competition Council adopted a decision whereby Post Danmark A/S, the Danish national postal operator, was found to have abused its dominant position on the market for the distribution of non-addressed items and local weekly papers. The decision stemmed from a (...)

The Japanese FTC issues its decision against music broadcasting providers for the allegation of private monopolisation (Usen and Nippon Network Vision)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Tokyo)
The JFTC issued a decision to Usen Corporation and Nippon Network Vision Corporation The JFTC issued a decision to Usen Corporation and Nippon Network Vision Corporation, Japanese companies which are active in music broadcasting business for shops, hotels and other commercial users, to take (...)

Mergers

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared - ex post - a merger in the logistics services market while requesting annulation of a non-compete clause after the termination of the joint-venture (TNT-Koc Group)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation TNT Turkey was under the joint control of Koc Group and TNT prior to the transaction. The main field of business of TNT Turkey is the logistics services. The Parties to the transaction are active in the relevant market only through TNT Turkey. Prior to the transaction, TNT held (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the residential furnishings sector while giving guidance on the question of representativeness of market surveys and restricting the scope of application of the de minimis exemption (AGRO)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 29 September 2004 the German Federal Cartel Office prohibited the proposed merger between the American company Leggett & Platt, Inc. (L&P), a manufacturer and distributor of inter aliaresidential furnishings, and AGRO Federkernproduktions GmbH (AGRO), a German manufacturer of (...)

The US FTC employs an uncommon remedy to resolve the anticompetitive concerns of a merger-to-monopoly by requiring the merged firm to license a generic form of its breakthrough cancer pain drug to a third party (Cephalon / CIMA)
US Department of Justice
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Briglia Hundley P.C.
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Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (New York)
In two recent decisions involving pharmaceutical mergers – Cephalon/Cima, in August 2004, and Genzyme/Novazyme, in January 2004, a divided Federal Trade Commission was accused by dissenting Commissioners of breaking with precedent and allowing acquisitions involving innovator pharmaceuticals (...)

The US FTC requires divestiture of three brand drugs in order to grant approval to a merger between two pharmaceutical companies (Sanofi-Synthelabo / Aventis)
US Department of Justice
,
Briglia Hundley P.C.
,
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (New York)
In two recent decisions involving pharmaceutical mergers – Cephalon/Cima, in August 2004, and Genzyme/Novazyme, in January 2004, a divided Federal Trade Commission was accused by dissenting Commissioners of breaking with precedent and allowing acquisitions involving innovator pharmaceuticals (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California rules that the second-largest software company can proceed with its proposed bid despite DoJ’s legal challenge (Oracle / Peoplesoft)
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
On September 9, 2004, a federal judge ruled that Oracle, the nation’s second-largest software company, could proceed with its hostile bid for PeopleSoft, handing the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) a significant defeat in a legal challenge to a corporate merger. DOJ had sought to block Oracle’s (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a temporary minority shareholding in a competing undertaking, acquired by a publisher to finance the sale of its subsidiary (Sdu / Ten Hagen & Stam)
Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs
In Sdu - Ten Hagen & Stam, publishing house Wolters Kluwer Nederland B.V. (WK) acquired a minority shareholding of less than 25% in its competitor Sdu Uitgevers B.V. (SDuU), to provide financing for the sale of its subsidiary Ten Hagen & Stam to SduU’s parent company Sdu N.V (SDu). In (...)

The French Minister of Economic Affairs clears a merger in the markets of road transportation conditional to structural remedies (Charles André)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
The operation By letter dated 2 September 2004, the French Minister of Economic Affairs (“the Minister”) authorised a merger where Charles André SAS acquired Citaix. Both parties were active in the road transport business (Charles André in the road transport by tank trucks and Citaix in the road (...)

State Aid

The French Administrative Court of Clermont-Ferrand awards compensation for losses caused by nullity of contract resulting from authorities’ failure to consider State aid rules (Fontanille)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
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European Commission (Brussels)
Brief description of the facts and legal issues A law of 1996 enabled the French government to sign agreements with undertakings in the clothing, leather, shoe and textile sectors regarding a reduction in working time, in order to avoid redundancies. In return, the French government granted an (...)

Procedures

The Brussels Court of Appeal gives guidance as to the consequences to be drawn from the EC Commission decision annulling the decision of the Belgian Ordre des Architectes
European Commission - DG HR (Brussels)
An agreement passed with an architect fixed the fee in accordance with the deontological norm set by the Belgian Ordre des Architectes. The architect asked its client to pay the fee for the work he had made. The client refused, arguing that the agreement was void because the fee was set in (...)

The Belgian Court of Appeal rules that the obligation to obtain the supplier’s approval of advertisement campaigns in a selective distribution relationship does not constitute an indirect resale price maintenance clause (Chanel / Makro)
Johnson & Johnson (Brussels)
Description of the impugned case In Belgium, as in other countries, the Chanel cosmetic products and perfumes are distributed through a selective distribution network. The selective distribution agreements used in this regard, were notified to the European Commission and the Belgian (...)

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