UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert - 21 March 2012

Last Updated: 27 March 2012
Article by Paul Stone

IN THE NEWS

Merger of the regulators gets green light

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has announced that it is to proceed with its proposals to merge the OFT and Competition Commission to form a new Competition and Markets Authority and to make other changes to the UK competition regime. The announcement follows the consultation last year on "A competition regime for growth". The OFT and Competition Commission have both welcomed the proposals. Click here.

OFT refers animal rendering merger to the Competition Commission

The OFT has referred the anticipated acquisition by Linergy Limited of Ulster Farm By- Products Limited to the Competition Commission for further investigation. Linergy and Ulster Farm are two of the three renderers of animal by-products in Northern Ireland. Click here.

OFT closes newspaper advertising probe

The OFT has decided to close its investigation into an alleged abuse of a dominant position by a regional newspaper publisher. The OFT had initiated the investigation in April 2011 in response to a complaint it received from a rival publisher. The investigation examined whether there had been an abuse of a dominant position in relation to the supply of print advertising through alleged predatory pricing or the alleged use of loyalty rebates, in the form of Buy One Get One Free ('BOGOF') promotions. The OFT has decided that the investigation is no longer an administrative priority. Click here.

EU

Mergers – invitation to comment

  • Groupe Auchan/Magyar Hipermarket – click here.

Mergers – cleared

Article 101

  • The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by Siemens and Areva. The Commission had concerns that a non-compete obligation covering a number of nuclear technology markets agreed by Siemens and Areva in the context of their joint venture Areva NP may be in breach of Article 101. Siemens and Areva have proposed to reduce both the product scope and the duration of the non-compete obligation. Click here.
  • The European Commission has published an informal guidance paper on how to make confidentiality claims in relation to documents and submissions provided to the Commission in the context of competition investigations. Click here.
  • Kendrion has appealed against the General Court judgment dismissing its appeal against the European Commission's industrial bags cartel decision. Click here.

UK

Competition Commission

  • The Competition Commission has published a working paper seeking views on developments since the announcement of its provisional findings in its market investigation into movies on pay TV. These developments include new or enhanced standalone over the top subscription video on demand streaming only services that have been launched by Netflix and LOVEFiLM, which have access to rights for first subscription pay TV window movies from many of the large non-major studios. In order to be able to assess the impact of these developments, the Commission has pushed back the date of its final report from April/May to July. Click here.

OFT

  • Mergers – invitations to comment: United Online Inc./the 'gifts division' business of Flying Brands Limited; Ambu/the cardiology electrodes and diathermy business of Unomedical Limited - click here.
  • Mergers – cleared: Capital Shopping Centres Group plc/Broadmarsh Retail Limited Partnership – click here; Simplyhealth Group Limited/Denplan Limited – click here; JCDecaux/Concourse Initiatives Limited and Media Initiatives Limited – click here; Mortgage Brain/MortgageStream – click here.
  • The OFT is considering undertakings offered by Boparan Holdings Ltd to sell a Christmas pudding manufacturing business to remedy competition concerns raised by its proposed acquisition of R F Brookes and Avana Bakeries from Premier Foods Ltd. Click here.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)

  • BIS has published an impact assessment on the options for increasing UK merger fees. BIS announced the decision to increase merger fees from 6 October 2012 as part of the government's response to its consultation on reforming the UK competition regime (see In the News item). The minimum fee will rise to £40,000 and the new maximum fee will be £160,000. Click here.

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