UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert - 6 March 2013

Last Updated: 14 March 2013
Article by Paul Stone

In the News

AG Mengozzi delivers opinion on European Commission's appeal in copper fittings cartel

AG Mengozzi has delivered an opinion on an appeal by the European Commission against the General Court's judgment which upheld an appeal by Aalberts against the Commission's decision on the copper fittings cartel. The AG believes that the General Court's judgment should be set aside on the basis that it erred in law in examining the evidence relating to the conduct of Aalbert's two subsidiaries in isolation, despite the two subsidiaries forming a single undertaking for the purposes of Article 101 TFEU. The AG however considers that the cross-appeal by Aalberts, contesting the single and continuous nature of the infringement, should be dismissed. Click here.

AG Kokott delivers opinion on preliminary reference on application of Article 101 where undertaking believes it is acting lawfully

AG Kokott has delivered her opinion on a preliminary reference from the Austrian Cartel Court of Appeal on whether a fine for violation of Article 101 TFEU can be imposed on an undertaking where it erred in a non-culpable manner about the lawfulness of its behaviour, (for example, where it has relied on legal advice or on a decision of a national competition authority or court). The AG concluded that a fine may not be imposed in such cases, however proposed minimum conditions for reliance on legal opinions and decisions of national authorities that must be met for an undertaking's error to be excusable. Click here.

EU

Articles 101 and 102

  • The ECJ has delivered a judgment on a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Portuguese Court of Appeal on the application of Article 101 TFEU to professional associations. The ECJ held that EU competition law prevents a professional association from imposing on its members a system of compulsory training that in part eliminates competition and lays down discriminatory conditions to the detriment of its competitors. Click here.
  • The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to ENI SpA and its subsidiary Versalis SpA, indicating its intention to re-impose a 50% fine uplift for recidivism, in relation to their role in the synthetic rubber cartel. Click here.

Mergers

  • The European Commission has decided to prohibit the proposed acquisition by Ryanair of Aer Lingus on the grounds that it would raise competition concerns on 46 routes between Ireland and cities in other European countries, on 28 of which a monopoly would be created. Click here.
  • The European Commission has decided to approve the acquisition of sole control by EQT Infrastructure II, of E.ON Energy from Waste AG. Click here.

UK

Competition Appeal Tribunal

  • The CAT has handed down a ruling on consequential matters arising from its judgment on the appeals by Sky, Virgin Media, BT and the Football Association Premier League against Ofcom's decision to require Sky to offer wholesale access to its premium sports channels. It has been agreed that Sky's main appeal must be allowed, whilst the appeals by BT, Virgin Media and Top Up TV should all be dismissed. Whether or not FAPL's appeal should be dismissed will be considered separately in the context of an application for costs. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • The CC has terminated the extension of the period for its inquiry into the completed acquisition by Ryanair Holdings plc of a minority interest in Aer Lingus Group plc. Click here.
  • The CC has published a review of the package of remedies that it imposed as a result of its market investigation into the supply of home credit. Click here.
  • The CC has published an annotated issues statement as part of its market investigation into the private healthcare market. Click here.

Office of Fair Trading

  • The OFT has accepted hold separate undertakings from AEG Facilities (UK) Limited, Ansco Finance 2011 Limited, AEG Live (UK) Limited, Ansco Music Club Limited, AXS Digital Europe Limited and Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., in relation to the completed acquisition by AEG Facilities (UK) Limited of the contract to manage Wembley Arena. The OFT has accepted initial undertakings in order to prevent pre-emptive action by the parties to the completed merger whilst it considers whether to make a reference to the CC. Click here.

Other

  • The Law Commission has published a report on how the Electronic Communications Code, (regulating the legal relationship between landowners and telecoms operators who install telecoms apparatus on their land), should be revised. 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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