UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly

Last Updated: 11 March 2011
Article by Paul Stone

The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has issued a consultation on the undertakings that he is proposing to accept from News Corporation in lieu of referring its proposed acquisition of British Sky Broadcasting Group plc to the Competition Commission on public interest grounds. Click here.

The European Commission has decided to initiate a Phase II merger investigation into the proposed acquisition of sole control by UPM-Kymmene Corporation of Myllykoski Corporation, on the basis that its initial market investigation indicated that the merged entity's behaviour may not be sufficiently constrained by competitors on the market for magazine paper. Click here.



  • The General Court has delivered judgments in a number of appeals against the European Commission's decision to impose fines on eleven groups of companies for infringing Article 101(1) TFEU by participating in an illegal collusive tendering cartel in the market for gas insulated switchgear projects. Click here.
  • Advocate General Mazak has issued an opinion on questions referred by the Paris Court of Appeal relating to the application of Article 101 TFEU to selective distribution agreements which contain an absolute ban on selling cosmetics and personal care products over the internet to end-users and which require the products to be sold in the presence of a qualified pharmacist. The Advocate General held that the ban goes beyond what is objectively necessary to distribute the goods in an appropriate manner and has the object of restricting competition. Click here.
  • World Wide Tobacco España, (WWTE) S.A. v Commission – the General Court has delilvered its judgment on an appeal by WWTE against the European Commission's decision to fine it for participation in a cartel on the Spanish raw tobacco market, reducing the imposed fine on the basis that the Commission had not taken account of WWTE's co-operation in the investigation. To read the judgment in French, click here.
  • Details of appeals brought by Air Canada, KLM and Cathay Pacific challenging the European Commission's decision to fine them for participation in a price-fixing cartel with other air cargo carriers have been published in the Official Journal. Click here, here and here.

Mergers – invitations to comment


  • Cecilio Madero Villarjo, Acting Deputy Director General DG Competition, on the application of competition law in high tech industries. Click here.


  • The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published the documents that were approved at its sixth plenary meeting. Click here.



  • The Supreme Court has granted BCL Old Co. Limited and others permission to appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling on whether the CAT can extend the time limit for bringing a competition damages action. Click here.
  • The High Court has struck out competition claims raised by Humber Oil Terminals in relation to an application for the grant of new tenancies for an oil terminal. The claimant argued that the freeholder, Associated British Ports, was abusing its dominant position. However, the High Court considered that all the claims should be struck out as they were inadequately pleaded and did not reveal grounds for breaches of the Chapter II prohibition or Article 102 TFEU. Click here.
  • In Francotyp-Postalia Ltd v Whitehead and others, the High Court held that it was not possible to sever the offending wording in an (unenforceable) restrictive covenant because it would have the effect of modifying other (enforceable) restrictive covenants. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • The provisional decision on the variation of the Centrica undertakings has been published for consultation. Click here.
  • Proposed undertakings to impose certain financial reporting undertakings on BAA in relation to Aberdeen Airport have been published for consultation. Click here.


  • Statement published setting out the approach to Ofcom's new duty under the Digital Economy Act 2010 to report to the Secretary of State every three years on the UK's communications infrastructure. Click here.


  • Assa Abloy/Agta Record - full text of merger clearance decision published. Click here.
  • Koch Industries/H&J Bunn Limited - full text of merger clearance decision published. Click here.
  • Ratcliff Palfinger/Ross & Bonnyman – full text of decision to refer the merger to the Competition Commission published. Click here.
  • Asda/Netto – undertakings in lieu accepted from Asda in relation to its proposed acquisition of Netto's 194 UK grocery stores. Click here.
  • Idox/LalPac – merger invitation to comment issued. Click here.
  • BH Acquisitions/Northern Foods - merger invitation to comment issued. Click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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