UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert - 19 October 2011

Last Updated: 25 October 2011
Article by Paul Stone

In the News

The ECJ has delivered its ruling in a preliminary reference from the Paris Court of Appeal which questioned the application of Article 101 TFEU to selective distribution agreements that contain absolute bans on selling cosmetics and personal care products to end-users. The ECJ held that a contractual clause that amounted to an absolute ban on internet selling was a restriction by object within the meaning of Article 101(1) TFEU unless it was objectively justified. Click here.

The European Commission has found that two importers of bananas operated an illegal price-fixing cartel in breach of Article 101 TFEU. The Commission held that reference prices were co-ordinated on a weekly basis from July 2004 to April 2005 for bananas imported into Italy, Greece and Portugal. Pacific Fruit has been fined €8.919 million, whilst Chiquita received full immunity from fines. Click here.

The General Court has delivered its judgments on appeals by Agroexpansión SA and Alliance One International Inc against the European Commission's decision to fine them jointly and severally for their participation in a cartel on the Spanish raw tobacco market. The General Court held that the Commission had not erred in holding Agroexpansión and Dimon jointly and severally responsible for Agroexpansión's involvement in the cartel. However, it found that the Commission had not attributed enough credit for Agroexpansión's co-operation and reduced the fine from €2,592,000 to €2,430,000. Click here and here.

EU

Articles 101 and 102

  • The European Commission has published the final version of its Notice on best practices for the conduct of proceedings concerning Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU. Click here.
  • The European Commission has published the final version of best practices for the submission of economic evidence and data collection in cases relating to the application of Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU and in merger cases. Click here.

EU Courts

  • Association belge des consommateurs test-achats v Commission: the General Court has held that an appeal by a Belgian consumer group against the European Commission's decision to approve subject to conditions the EDF/Segebel merger was inadmissible on the basis that the consumer group was not individually concerned and so did not have standing to challenge the substance of the decision. Click here.

Mergers – invitation to comment

Mergers – Phase II investigations

  • Details of an appeal by Western Digital against a European Commission decision in relation to its Phase II investigation into Western Digital's proposed acquisition of Viviti Technologies have been published. Click here.
  • Details of an appeal by Editions Odile Jacobs against the European Commission's decision to re-approve Wendel as purchaser of assets divested as a condition of the approval in 2004 of the Lagardere/Natexis/VUP merger have been published. Click here.

Mergers – cleared

Speeches

  • Alexander Italianer: "Zero tolerance for international cartels", click here.
  • Joaquin Almunia: "Building Europe's future payments market", click here.

Other

  • The European Commission has announced that DG Competition and the US Federal Trade Commission and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice have agreed revised best practices for cases where the Commission and a US agency are reviewing the same merger. Click here.

UK

CAT

  • The CAT has published a ruling on admissibility of evidence in the appeals by British Telecommunications plc, Vodafone Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Limited and Everything Everywhere Ltd against Ofcom's 2011 decision on the wholesale mobile voice call termination price control. Click here, here, here and here.
  • The CAT has delivered its ruling on applications by Eden Brown and Hays for the costs of their appeals against the fines imposed by the OFT in the construction recruitment agencies cartel decision. Click here and here.
  • The CAT has published a notice of an appeal lodged by Tesco to challenge the OFT's decision fining Tesco for its involvement in two infringements of the Chapter I prohibition in relation to the retail pricing of cheese. Click here.
  • The CAT has dismissed an application by Cardiff Bus for security of costs against 2 Travel Group plc, which is seeking damages from Cardiff Bus under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • The CC has published its issues statement as part of its inquiry into the completed acquisition by Stericycle of Ecowaste Southwest. Click here.
  • The CC has published a working paper on route and urban area analysis as part of its market investigation into local bus services. Click here.
  • The CC has published for consultation draft undertakings that it intends to accept from BAA to require it to divest either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport and Stansted Airport. Click here.

OFT

  • Mergers – invitation to comment: Investec plc/Evolution Group plc; PHS Group plc/ Albany Facilities Limited, click here.
  • Mergers – cleared: London Stock Exchange plc/the Transaction Reporting System business of the Financial Services Authority; INRIX/ITIS Holdings plc; Carefusion Corporation/Rowa, click here.
  • Mergers – full text decisions: Survitec Group Limited/Marine Division of Cosalt plc, click here; Survitec Group Limited/SOLAS Division of Zodiac Marine & Pool SASU, click here; Odeon Cinema Holdings/assets of Reel Cinemas, click here
  • Mergers – referred to the Competition Commission: Kent Messenger Group/ several newspapers from Northcliffe Media Limited, click here.
  • The OFT has published its market study on off-grid energy. Click here.

Speeches

  • Philip Collins: "Competition in Professions", 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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