UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert – 25 April 2012

Last Updated: 1 May 2012
Article by Paul Stone

IN THE NEWS

BIS launches consultation on private actions

BIS has launched a consultation on private actions in competition law. The specific proposals are intended to make it easier for private parties to challenge anti-competitive behaviour and include: allowing the Competition Appeal Tribunal to hear stand-alone actions, introducing a fast-track procedure for SMEs, introducing an opt-out collective actions regime for competition law, promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution to ensure that the courts are the option of last resort and protecting the incentives provided for companies to whistle-blow on cartels. Click here.

Competition Commission provisionally clears water merger

The Competition Commission has provisionally cleared South Staffordshire Plc's completed acquisition of Cambridge Water PLC. The Commission was asked to decide whether the merger may be expected to prejudice the ability of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) to make comparisons between water enterprises for the purposes of assessing performance and setting price controls. The Commission concluded that, on balance, it did not believe the merger would significantly hinder Ofwat's ability to do so. Click here.

ECJ dismisses Tomra's appeal against abuse of dominance decision

The European Court of Justice has dismissed the appeal by Tomra against the judgment of the General Court, which upheld the European Commission's decision that Tomra had abused its dominant position in breach of Article 102 in the market for reverse vending machines by applying a strategy of foreclosure and that Tomra's agreements (exclusivity agreements, fidelity rebates and discount schemes) were capable of foreclosing competition. Click here.

Commission approves Sony and Mubadala's takeover of EMI's music publishing business at Phase I subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of joint control over the music publishing business of EMI Group by Sony Corporation and Mubadala Development Company. The decision is conditional upon the divestiture of the worldwide publishing rights to four catalogues and the musical works of 12 contemporary authors. In light of these commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns. Click here.

Commission approves acquisition of medical device company Synthes by Johnson & Johnson subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Synthes Inc. by Johnson & Johnson, both US companies active in the area of orthopaedic medical devices, following a Phase II investigation. The Commission's investigation confirmed that, subject to the divestment of Johnson & Johnson's trauma business, the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors and that customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all of the markets concerned. Click here.

EU

There are no additional items to report this week.

UK

Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT)

  • The CAT has received an application by SRCL Limited for review of the Competition Commission's decision to require it to divest Ecowaste Southwest Ltd. SRCL claims that the Competition Commission erred in concluding that the full divestment of Ecowaste was the only effective remedy for the substantial lessening of competition identified. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • The Competition Commission has published a notice confirming that it has accepted further undertakings to vary the undertakings that FirstGroup plc gave in 2004 as a condition of the approval of its acquisition of the Scottish Passenger Rail franchise. Click here.
  • The Competition Commission has approved BAA's sale of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners. The divestment is one of the remedies resulting from the Commission's report into BAA's ownership of seven UK airports. 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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