The German Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf overturns the Competition Authority’s decision to clear a joint venture between a telecommunications company and a regional utility provider (Telekom Deutschland / EWE)

Last week the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf overturned a decision adopted by the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) clearing a JV between Telekom Deutschland and EWE, a regional utility company. The JV partners were looking to cooperate in the development of fibre-optic networks in parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen. This is one of the rare cases of successful third-party intervention in a merger case. The Court has not yet published its reasoning but from what has already transpired it appears that this could develop into a landmark case for the assessment of JVs under German antitrust law. Undertakings looking to enter into JVs in Germany should therefore be aware of this recent development. Irrespective of the market-specific circumstances of the case

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