European Union: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert - 7 March 2012

Last Updated: 19 March 2012
Article by Paul Stone


OFT newspapers and magazines review not a priority

The OFT has announced that, following a prioritisation assessment, including consultation with trade bodies and companies in the sector, it will not be carrying out an update review of the newspaper and magazine distribution sector. The OFT received information that, since it last looked at the sector, in-store availability has improved, the number of retailers has remained stable, average newspaper and magazine prices have declined in real terms and there have been further steps towards self-regulation. Click here.

Commission opens Article 102 proceedings against MathWorks

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products. The Commission will investigate whether by allegedly refusing to provide a competitor with end-user licences and interoperability information, the company has breached the prohibition on the abuse of a dominant position. Click here.

Commission closes Article 101 and 102 investigation of AstraZeneca and Nycomed

The European Commission has closed its investigation into the pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Nycomed. The investigation focused on suspected individual or joint action to delay the market entry of generic medicines and included unannounced inspections at the premises of AstraZeneca and Nycomed in several Member States in November 2010. Click here.

Vacant property security services merger referred to the Competition Commission

The OFT has referred the completed acquisition by VPS Holdings Limited of SitexOrbis Holdings Limited to the Competition Commission for further investigation. The OFT's investigation concluded that the merger would give rise to competition concerns in the supply of vacant property security services in the UK, by bringing together the UK's two largest suppliers to local authorities and businesses. Click here.

OFT to leave bmi acquisition to Brussels

The OFT has announced that it has decided not to make a request to the European Commission for a UK review of the proposed acquisition by International Airline Group of bmi from Lufthansa. The OFT recognised that the proposed acquisition has generated a significant level of concern in the UK, but has concluded that the European Commission would be best placed to consider the deal. Click here.


Mergers – invitation to comment

Mergers – full text decisions

  • " The European Commission has published the full text of its Phase II decision approving unconditionally the acquisition of Myllykoski Group by UPM-Kymmene. Click here.

Mergers – appeals

  • Advocate General Mazák has recommended that the ECJ dismiss an appeal by Editions Odile Jacob SAS against a judgment of the General Court upholding the European Commission's conditional approval of the Lagardère/VUP merger. Click here.

Article 101

  • The General Court has issued judgments on the final three appeals against the industrial bags cartel decision. Click here, here and here.
  • The European Commission has administratively closed the Synthon/ GlaxoSmithKline case. Click here.


Competition Appeal Tribunal

  • In the context of Tesco's appeal against the OFT's dairy retail pricing case, the CAT has ordered that all witnesses to be cross-examined be excluded from the hearing itself, including the hearing of opening submissions, other than when they are giving their evidence, and that they not be permitted to read transcripts of the hearing until after they have given their evidence. Click here.

High Court

  • The High Court has handed down a ruling that new competition law arguments cannot be raised in an inquiry provided for by a consent order. The terms of the consent order provided for an inquiry to be made into the damages suffered by one of the parties. The High Court considered that the consent order in its original form was binding and could not be avoided because of competition law arguments. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • The Competition Commission has published a notice of intention to accept further undertakings varying the undertakings that FirstGroup plc gave as a condition of the approval of its acquisition of the Scottish Passenger Rail franchise. Click here.
  • The Competition Commission has published a notice of the acceptance of undertakings from Centrica plc and Centrica Storage Ltd (Centrica) to vary the undertakings given by Centrica in 2003, as a condition to the approval of its acquisition of Dynegy and the Rough gas storage facility. Click here.


  • Mergers – invitations to comment: Assa Abloy Limited/Securistyle Limited and Akzo Nobel/Metlac – click here.
  • Mergers – full text decisions: PHS/Connect Water Systems (UK) Limited – 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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