Keywords: antitrust/competition, review, 2012
In 2012, we were pleased to have represented our clients in important cases and transactions around the world. We are happy to share with you this summary of accomplishments for 2012, which were made possible by our clients' confidence and trust in us.
Antitrust enforcement authorities around the world are becoming more active and aggressive. The US Department of Justice achieved record criminal fines in 2012 totaling more than $1.35 billion. The European Commission also achieved impressive results, imposing approximately $2.48 billion in fines against 37 companies. The FTC and state attorneys general have been very active as well, challenging mergers, as has the Department of Justice, which stopped the AT&T merger last year. International enforcement has seen new competition regimes passed, reformed or implemented in Hong Kong, India, Brazil and England, and many others are pursuing enforcement activities under existing programs, which now exceed 100. New bilateral and multilateral relationships have been established between US enforcement agencies and China, as well as with India, and cooperation among enforcement agencies has never been greater. Private litigation in the United States also picked up noticeably for the first time in several years. These activities demand that our practitioners be well informed and capable of meeting every challenge anywhere in the world.
Mayer Brown's Global Antitrust lawyers regularly appear before antitrust agencies in the United States, Europe and Asia to deal with complex issues in investigations, cases, transactions, and multidistrict and multijurisdictional litigation and bring an innovative approach to solving important problems and addressing issues that have helped shape the law. Our deep bench of highly experienced litigators and advisers covers every antitrust-related area.
With more than 60 lawyers and other professionals around the world, our team spans many generations and includes numerous former government officials. We are always adding to the depth of our team, and 2012 was no exception. Robert Klotz joined our Brussels office and brings 10 years of prior experience with the European Commission. Both Tom Panoff and Dan Storino, in Chicago, and Adam Hudes, in Washington, DC, became partners. They focus on antitrust and complex commercial litigation, including price-fixing, market allocation and monopolization issues.
We have also continued to be thought leaders in the field by publishing extensively on a broad range of antitrust topics—a listing of some of the key publications appears later in this report. We have also participated in many national and international programs and are recognized as a leader in this practice area by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Global Competition Review.
As 2013 progresses, we look forward to new opportunities to represent and help you solve the difficult challenges you face. We promise to bring our global strengths, energy and creative thinking to the task to assist you in reaching your business goals.
Robert E. Bloch
Global Practice Leader
Mayer Brown's Antitrust & Competition Group takes great pride in its involvement in high-profile antitrust and competition matters across the globe, ranging from complex multidistrict litigation to meeting regulatory challenges from global enforcement authorities, to assisting clients in transforming their businesses via mergers and acquisitions. A sampling of key matters from the past year is as follows:
Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. CoTherix, Inc.
After Actelion bought CoTherix, CoTherix stopped developing a drug that Asahi had licensed to it. Asahi won an arbitration award against CoTherix based on breach of the license agreement between those two companies. Asahi also sued CoTherix and several Actelion entities and officers in California state court, asserting California antitrust claims against all defendants and tort claims against the Actelion defendants. The trial court granted summary adjudication dismissing the antitrust claim against CoTherix, and Asahi appealed. The court affirmed the dismissal on the ground that the acquiring and acquired entities had unified economic interests. This case is significant because the Court of Appeal rejected Asahi's effort to evade the limitations of California antitrust law, which does not address the conduct of a single economic actor (such as two merged companies). The decision extended the reasoning of a case that the California Supreme Court had not revisited for many years. The court's conclusions with respect to the unity of economic interest between CoTherix and Actelion also may affect the pending appeal of a $385 million judgment entered against Actelion for intentional interference with the Asahi-CoTherix contract.
American Specialty Health Group v. Healthways, Inc.
We represent American Specialty Health Group (ASH) in a pending action against Healthways, Inc., alleging violations of the antitrust laws arising from Healthways' selective enforcement of multiyear exclusivity, and post-termination non-compete provisions, included in contracts with fitness clubs throughout the United States. ASH and Healthways are the two principal competitors in the business of supplying senior fitness program products to Medicare Advantage plans that offer a fitness benefit to enrolled seniors. In order to supply a fitness product to the Medicare Advantage health plans, Healthways and ASH each created a nationwide network of contracted fitness clubs. Healthways insisted that its fitness clubs sign an exclusivity provision, which it typically enforces when a club attempts to sign up to work with ASH or another Healthways competitor. Healthways dominates the Medicare Advantage market for senior fitness benefits, serving more than 50 percent of eligible seniors. ASH, the next largest competitor, serves slightly more than 10 percent of eligible seniors. We believe this to be one of the first cases that applies antitrust scrutiny to aggressive use of exclusivity clauses to dominate a critical aspect of the market for Medicare Advantage products and services.
We represent Lear Corporation in direct and indirect purchaser putative class actions in which plaintiffs allege that the major manufacturers of automotive wire harnesses (and several manufacturers of the parts used in those harnesses) engaged in price-fixing and bid rigging in violation of the Sherman Act and numerous state antitrust, consumer protection and unfair competition laws. This is a high-profile price-fixing case that follows in the wake of several defendants' recent agreements to plead guilty and pay substantial fines to the United States government. Automotive wire harnesses are used in every car on the road today.
We also represented Lear Corporation in relation to the investigation by the EU Commission into an alleged cartel activity in relation to wire harnesses. This two-year investigation went to the next step over the summer with the Commission initiating proceedings, but not against Lear.
In re Potash Antitrust Litigation (II)
We serve as counsel for The Mosaic Company, a domestic manufacturer of potash, in putative class actions brought by direct and indirect purchasers alleging that Mosaic and other global potash manufacturers conspired to fix the prices of potash in the United States. In the 1990s, we successfully represented IMC Global, Inc., a predecessor to Mosaic, in a comparable price-fixing case, obtaining summary judgment that ultimately was affirmed by the en banc Eighth Circuit. Like its predecessor, this new litigation is a multidistrict proceeding, consolidating some eight different cases for pretrial purposes in the Northern District of Illinois (Judge Castillo). This is a large price-fixing action involving multinational defendants operating in a worldwide industry which has been the subject of recent economic commentary about its global market impact. Unlike the 1990s matter, this case includes several new foreign defendants, including a number in the former Soviet Union, and new allegations regarding commerce in China, India and Brazil. Class settlements with all of the defendants were recently preliminarily approved by the district court with final approval scheduled for mid-2013.
Kleen Products, et al. v. Packaging Corporation of America, et al.
We represent Temple-Inland Inc., a business of International Paper, in connection with allegations that manufacturers of linerboard, corrugated medium, containerboard and corrugated products conspired to fix the prices of these products and restrict capacity. The case, which includes a number of individual class actions, was consolidated before the Hon. Milton Shadur in the Northern District of Illinois. The case was recently reassigned to the Hon. Harry Leinenweber. Corrugated products (and the materials they are made from) are used in almost every consumer product segment in the country. Plaintiffs here allege that the class includes companies that made purchases as early as 2005.
In re Urethanes Antitrust Litigation
We have defended BASF SE and BASF Corporation in connection with allegations that manufacturers conspired to fix the price of, and allocate customers and nationwide markets for, certain urethane products. This is a high-profile price-fixing case that was brought despite the Department of Justice's closure of a related grand jury investigation without charges being filed against anyone. Urethanes have applications in a wide range of consumer products. The case includes class actions filed around the country. We aggressively defended and favorably resolved the key cases before a federal jury returned a substantial verdict against one of our co-defendants in the class case.
In re Steel Antitrust Litigation
We are serving as co-counsel to ArcelorMittal USA, Inc. and ArcelorMittal S.A. in connection with allegations that steel producers entered into a multiyear antitrust conspiracy to reduce the production of steel products in the United States through coordinated production cuts for the express purpose of raising the price of steel products.
Unlike many other cartel cases, there is no underlying government investigation in this case. Instead, the alleged conspiracy is based entirely on public commentary regarding the structure of the industry, readily observable industry events and the timing of each individual defendant's production cuts.
In re EPDM Antitrust Litigation
We have defended DSM Elastomers Europe B.V. and DSM Copolymer, Inc. in connection with allegations that manufacturers conspired to fix the price of, and allocate customers and nationwide markets for, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), a synthetic rubber. The federal case, which included individual class actions filed around the country, was consolidated for pretrial purposes in the District of Connecticut and was settled in early 2011. In addition, several indirect purchasers filed suits in various state jurisdictions. Those cases, too, were recently resolved. EPDM is a widely used synthetic rubber product with applications in automobiles, roofing materials and other goods. Notably, the plaintiffs pressed their claims despite the Department of Justice's closure of a related grand jury investigation without charges being filed against anyone.
In re Retail Food Packaging Investigation
We are assisting Ono Packaging, a producer of expanded polystyrene trays, in the European Commission's pending retail food packaging cartel investigation. On September 28, 2012, the European Commission informed 13 companies active in the production and/or distribution of retail food packaging of its preliminary view that they may have participated in a cartel in the European Economic Area (EEA) for up to eight years, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
In re French TV Rights Antitrust Litigation
We are representing Ma Chaîne Sport, one of the main French editors of sports TV channels, in proceedings before the French Competition Authority, which was asked by the Paris Commercial Court to provide a preliminary opinion on a dispute with antitrust aspects. In the underlying action, Ma Chaîne Sport is challenging the Ligue 2 TV rights allocation process organized by the French Football League in 2010 because its offer for those television rights was set aside as too low; the TV rights eventually were granted for free to a new TV channel created by the French Football League itself. The French Competition Authority is expected to deliver its opinion in early 2013. The proceedings before the Commercial Court will then resume.
Électricité Réseau Distribution France
We are assisting Électricité Réseau Distribution France in its defense of proceedings brought by an independent solar energy producer before the French Competition Authority. This independent producer claims that France's primary electricity producer, EDF, which is also a shareholder of Électricité Réseau Distribution France, receives favorable treatment from Électricité Réseau Distribution France in the procedures for the connection of new solar plants to the electricity network. The French Competition Authority rejected all the interim measures (i.e., the measures that would be necessary until a final decision is adopted on the substance) requested by the claimant and will now investigate the substance of the claims. As the main electricity network operator in France, Électricité Réseau Distribution France is subject to strict public service obligations, including independence and nondiscrimination rules. Électricité Réseau Distribution France further operates under the control of the electricity regulator in France, which regularly assesses whether equal treatment is being strictly observed.
We represent Nestlé USA in the defense of more than 90 federal lawsuits that allege a conspiracy with Mars, Hershey and Cadbury to fix the price of chocolate candy products sold in the United States. These complaints were brought on behalf of direct and indirect putative class plaintiffs and large individual corporate plaintiffs (e.g., Safeway, Kroger, CVS) that are not seeking class status. The suits have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg). Nestlé S.A. and Nestlé Canada were initially named as defendants, but were dismissed from the litigation for lack of personal jurisdiction. This is one of the largest multidistrict antitrust litigation matters currently pending. The plaintiffs allege potentially billions of dollars in damages. The case also will raise significant legal issues. For example, the standards for summary judgment in the Third Circuit will be tested, including the inferences to be drawn based upon purely non-US conduct (in this case, Canada).
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
We represent Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in a consolidated multidistrict antitrust class action litigation involving online hotel reservations. Beginning in August 2012, over 30 virtually identical class actions were filed in federal courts around the country by plaintiffs claiming to have used the online travel agents (OTAs) Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity (and their respective affiliates) to book rooms at hotels affiliated with one of the eight defendant hotel companies (Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental, Starwood, Kimpton, Wyndham, Hyatt and Trump). The plaintiffs contend that each defendant hotel company entered into minimum resale price maintenance agreements with the defendant OTAs and agreed with the OTAs not to allow competing OTAs to offer their hotel rooms at lower rates. Plaintiffs claim that these alleged agreements violate the Sherman Act and various state antitrust statutes, and have made other state-law claims against the OTAs. Plaintiffs seek treble damages, permanent injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. The cases have all been consolidated for pretrial purposes in the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.
UAL Corporation: Dominguez v. UAL Corp.
We are antitrust litigation counsel to United Air Lines, Inc., and UAL Corporation. In 2012, we won affirmance of the district court's grant of summary judgment in Dominguez v. UAL Corporation, 10-7138 (D.C. Cir. 2012). The plaintiff had alleged that UAL's refusal to allow resale of tickets violated antitrust law and sought $100 million in damages. On summary judgment, we argued, and convinced the district court judge, that UAL's decision was not exclusionary because it had no impact on other air carriers. On appeal, we argued, in addition, that the plaintiff lacked standing because the claimed injury was too speculative. The DC Circuit affirmed on the standing issue and dismissed the plaintiff's complaint.
DPWN Holdings (USA), Inc. v. United Airlines, Inc.
We represent United Air Lines, Inc., in a case brought by its largest customer, DHL, alleging that United participated in a price-fixing cartel involving air cargo carriers. Although the district court denied our motion to dismiss, the question as to whether United could be liable for damages for claims arising prior to United's discharge in bankruptcy was certified to the Second Circuit. The certification motion was accepted by the Second Circuit, and the appeal will go forward in 2013.
Energetický a Prumyslový Holding a.s. (EPH)
In Brussels, we advised and represented the Czech energy company EPH in an EU antitrust investigation into possible restrictions of competition on the Czech electricity generation and wholesale market, following a third-party complaint. EPH had initially been one of the targets of this investigation, but it was released. Instead, the Commission is about to accept structural commitments from the other company involved in the investigation (the incumbent operator CEZ), which will have to divest certain power plants in the Czech Republic to an independent acquirer. However, the Commission imposed a fine on EPH for an alleged procedural infringement during the initial dawn raid. On behalf of EPH, we filed an appeal to the General Court of the EU in June 2012, seeking the annulment of this decision or at least a reduction of the fine. The court case is still pending.
Energetický a Prumyslový Holding a.s. (EPH)
We advised and represented the Czech energy company EPH on an EU merger filing for the acquisition of sole control of the Slovak energy company Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel a.s. (SPP) by way of a share purchase from Gaz de France Suez and E.ON AG. Unconditional clearance for this transaction was granted by DG Comp in December 2012. We also advised EPH on EU and German merger filings for a number of other transactions.
We successfully defended BASF in the first antitrust case to be heard by the UK Supreme Court. This was a follow-on damages action brought by BASF customer BCL before the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The case followed from the European Commission's 2001 "vitamins cartel" decision, finding an infringement and imposing a penalty on BASF. BASF appealed the penalty but not, crucially, the infringement finding. The EU General Court reduced BASF's penalty in March 2006 and BCL brought its claim in the CAT in March 2008. The Supreme Court decided BCL's claim was time-barred because the UK Competition Act 1998 required it to bring its damages claim within two years of expiry of BASF's deadline for appealing the Commission's infringement decision, not penalty. BCL had made its claim over four years late.
European Commission's EBooks Investigation
We advised a major global publisher on its defense to, and settlement of, European Commission investigations into allegations of collusion among publishers to introduce agency arrangements for the sale of ebooks. The case was settled on the basis of commitments announced in a European Commission decision on December 12, 2012.
Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd (GOCL)
We advised the UK subsidiary of Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd (GOCL), the India-based lubricants division of international conglomerate the Hinduja Group, on its purchase of US industrial fluids manufacturer Houghton International Inc. for $1.045 billion, the largest outbound acquisition by an Indian company in 2012.
We represented the European steel industry association EUROFER before the European Commission in connection with the US$70 billion merger of Glencore and Xstrata, creating the world's largest commodities and mining group. We represented EUROFER in a lengthy antitrust procedure and presented the association's views about the effects of the merger, in particular with respect to zinc metals. The European antitrust watchdog gave its approval to the merger, subject to remedies.
We advised Indian-Arab company Microsol on its acquisition of key assets of the insolvent SOLON SE and its German subsidiaries. Microsol implements the acquisition through its newly formed German subsidiaries SOLON Energy GmbH and SOLON Modules GmbH. SOLON Energy GmbH will become the core of the new SOLON group as part of Microsol.
The Jordan Company, L.P.
We represented The Jordan Company, L.P., in the approximately $505 million sale of Kinetek Group Inc., a US-based commercial motor manufacturer, to Nidec Corporation.
We are the lead global competition counsel representing Nestlé S.A. in its $11.9 billion acquisition of Pfizer's infant nutrition business. We developed the merger clearance strategy and are managing and coordinating multiple filings around the world. We also are supervising country counsel in the implementation of our strategy. The transaction closed globally on November 30, 2012. This matter is one of the largest M&A transactions of 2012 and one of the largest strategic deals in 2012. The competition clearances involve about 20 jurisdictions, and it has been reported that in many of these jurisdictions market shares are high. Among other countries, there was a significant review in China, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, India, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The coordination and strategy to obtain clearances in a number of jurisdictions is very complex. This challenge is made greater by the fact that many of the jurisdictions conducting review are newer, and both regulators and local counsel are less experienced in working on global transactions.
Worldwide Flight Services
We have represented Worldwide Flight Services, a global ground handler, in obtaining clearance for its acquisition of Aviapartner, which is active in Europe (most notably in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany). With this transaction, Worldwide Flight Services becomes the leading ground handler in European airports and the number-two ground handler globally. Notice of the transaction went to the European Commission on October 24, 2012, following detailed exchanges with the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp) in view of the large number of local markets to be addressed in the notification. The merger was authorized in Phase 1 without condition on November 30, 2012. DG Comp notably acknowledged the arguments put forward by Worldwide Flight Services on low barriers to entry and significant buying power of customers. This case is one example, among many others, of our ability to obtain clearance within short time limits for transactions involving numerous local markets.
We have assisted Senoble, one of the main dairy producers in France, regarding notification to the European Commission of its joint venture with Agrial, a farmers' cooperative that produces raw milk, among other food products. Senoble transferred to the joint venture all its private label dairy activities in France, Germany and Benelux. The transaction was notified to the Commission on January 16, 2012; it cleared in Phase 1 without conditions on February 21, 2012. This joint venture mainly created vertical relationships between the parties, but also included horizontal effects, as both parties are active in raw milk trading.
We represented Vue Entertainment in its acquisition of Apollo Cinemas. The client requested that we predict the degree of divestments that would be required to avoid a second phase investigation in the United Kingdom. The first phase Office of Fair Trading investigation was completed with a level of divestments lower than predicted. Significant local market analysis involved the use of isochrones techniques to help define the local market for each cinema, while diversion ratios and indicative price rise analyses were used to determine the closeness of competition between cinemas.
Mittal Investments Sarl
We obtained purchaser suitability and merger clearances from the UK Competition and European Commission, respectively, for Mittal Investments Sarl to acquire assets from Anglo American and Lafarge. The Competition Commission had required sale of the assets as a precondition to completion of a proposed joint venture between Anglo (Tarmac) and Lafarge announced earlier in 2012.
"Dissecting the Market Definition of Competition
"Legal and Practical Considerations Influencing
Whether and When to Opt Out of a Class Action"
"Merger Control—A Global Update"
"Antitrust Case Allocation within the European
Competition Network: Playing Games with Different Rules Shows
"Pot to Frying Pan—Settlement Agreements as
"Health Plan Most Favored Nations Provisions with
Providers in Metropolitan Areas"
"Healthcare Antitrust Bootcamp Webinar Series, Part
VII: Trade Associations and Group Purchasing
"Regulatory and Antitrust Issues in the Energy
"Food Products and Retail: Antitrust Initiatives
and Investigations in the EU and EU Member States"
"New Developments in Merger Analysis and Their
Implications for FCC Merger Reviews"
"Poultry Merger Reviews: When Can Birds of a
Feather Flock Together?"
"Competition Sector Enquiries: Do They
"Organizing and Simplifying a Complex Health Care
Antitrust Case for Trial"
"European Commission's Directorate General for
Competition Discloses Its Manual of Antitrust
"Third Annual Chicago Forum on International
"Abuse of Dominance in the Energy
z"Energy Roadmap 2050 and Cooperation with
z"Competition and Financial Services"
"Dawn Raids in the EU and US Antitrust Enforcement
"Compliance: When Will It Really Matter at the EU
"Introduction to the Competition
"Competition, Investment and IP"
"Joint Ventures erfolgreich
gestalten—Kontrolle, Einfluss, Ausstieg und
"Are You Ready for Competition Law? What Steps Do
You Need to Take?"
"EU Energy Policy: What Is the Impact on the German
z"How to Avoid Pitfalls in Disclosing Information
in M&A Transactions and How to Ensure Safe Integration
"Local Markets: Key Competition Issues"
"Cartel Detection and Investigation: Defence
"Fundamentals of Franchising/Antitrust"
"Participation in Global Forums: The Role of EU
Competition Law in the Energy Market"
"Seminar on Global Cartels and EU
"The Hong Kong Competition Ordinance—Are You
Covered or Do You Need Insurance?"
"Compliance Control—Monitoring and Improving
"Sixth Annual Transatlantic Business
"A New Landscape After a Big Year in the Supreme
z"Restructuring Gas Markets Through Competition Law
ABA ANTITRUST SECTION
Carmine Zarlenga. The Franchise and
Dealership Termination Handbook. Second
Second Edition 2012. Provides practical guidance for lawyers as they counsel their clients and navigate the difficult issues that often arise when a franchise or dealership ends. Contributing editor.
Carmine Zarlenga. Market Definition
in Antitrust: Theories and Case Studies.
A comprehensive analysis of the issues involved in defining markets in antitrust cases. Contributing author.
Scott Perlman. Price Discrimination
This book covers federal and state price discrimination laws in the United States, as well as price discrimination laws in a number of major foreign jurisdictions, including the European Union, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada, Mexico and South Africa. Co-editor and project manager.
COMPETITION POLICY INTERNATIONAL
Nathalie Jalabert Doury, Gillian Sproul.
"Enforcers' consideration of compliance programs in
Europe: Are 2011 initiatives raising their profile or reducing it
to the lowest common denominator?" February 2012.
In 2011, three European competition authorities produced new guidance outlining their support for corporate compliance programs: the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the French Competition Authority (FCA) and the European Commission. The guidance shows that competition authorities will now at least recognize compliance programs in Europe. However, behind the supportive tone, the new guidelines in the United Kingdom and France only go as far as maintaining existing compliance reductions with reinforced conditions. Furthermore, the main emphasis of the European Commission's guidance appears to be on its commitment not to consider compliance programs as an aggravating circumstance.
Donald Falk, Christopher Kelly. "DOJ Merger
Statement Renews Focus On Competitive Implications Of Industry
Two developments have led to greater focus on the acquisition of underlying patent rights as a basis for antitrust scrutiny. First is the rise of non-practicing entities, pejoratively known as "patent trolls," as buyers and enforcers of valuable intellectual property. The second development is the recent large-scale patent portfolio acquisitions by technology firms with significant positions in important markets.
Nathalie Jalabert Doury. "Best practices for
compliance programs: Results of an international survey." May
All companies should employ competition law compliance programs in an attempt to ensure that their employees will follow these complicated laws. Yet, enforcers' support for competition law compliance programs is wildly inconsistent. A few enforcers provide guidance about compliance, and some will consider a sincerely implemented compliance program to be a mitigating factor. But many will not do so.
Robert Klotz. "Concerted practices in the
telecommunication sector: An overview of EU and national case
law." November 2012.
The article describes how the liberalization of the telecoms sector in the late 1990s was complemented by antitrust enforcement action both at the level of the EU and of its member states, and concludes that national competition authorities were the front-runners in this regard.
INTERNATIONAL LAW OFFICE
Kiran Desai. "Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext
Merger Blocked." February 2012.
On February 1, 2012, the European Commission adopted its decision prohibiting the $10.2 billion merger between Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext. The decision is notable not least because it is rare for the commission to block a merger. Of the 4,857 merger transactions that have been notified under the EU merger control regime since its inception in 1990, only 21 have been blocked.
"Tell All: Whistleblowing to
EU and National Competition Authorities." February 2012.
A company notifies a competition authority of the company's involvement in a cartel in order to obtain immunity from fines or, at least, a reduction in the fine imposed—which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition provides a leniency notice setting out the terms for companies wishing to whistleblow in relation to EU law infringements.
Kiran Desai. "Is the food sector ripe for a
sectoral inquiry?" July 2012.
The European Commission's competition department (DG Comp) has the power to investigate an industry or sector. Recent action by the DG Comp raises the question of whether it is likely to initiate a food sector inquiry. The DG Comp may undertake a sectoral inquiry if it concludes that "rigidity of prices or other circumstances suggest that competition may be restricted or distorted with the common market."
Kiran Desai. "EU merger control: accidental
by-catch?" August 2012.
The Deutsche Börse/NYSE Euronext merger was blocked in 2012, despite only a few transactions being prohibited under the EU Merger Regulation. The decision suggests misalignment between the parties and DG Comp on three issues: market definition, the relevance of efficiencies, and possible commitments. It has been reported that the parties must pay breakdown costs exceeding $200 million; in light of these costs, as well as the overall negative effect of the rejected merger on the parties, it is important to try to understand what the misaligned issues were and why they arose.
Kelly Kramer, John Roberti and Scott Claffee.
"A 'Trial Penalty'
For AU Optronics." September 2012.
The article discusses a federal judge's ruling against AU Optronics Corp. for its role in a price-fixing conspiracy case.
Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte. "EU State Aid
Modernisation – A Trojan Horse in Commissioner Almunia's
Court?" May 2012.
This article provides an overview of the Commission's far-reaching plans to modernize State aid law.
MAYER BROWN PUBLICATIONS
Jens Peter Schmidt. "Leniency Applications
Protected: German Court Denies Private Plaintiffs Access to
File." February 2012.
This article addresses a decision of the Local Court of Bonn, Germany, denying a company seeking redress from cartelists access to a leniency application and documentary evidence submitted in the context of a cartel proceeding.
Nathalie Jalabert Doury. "Multijurisdictional
Merger Filings: News and Recent Developments." April
Cross-border mergers frequently trigger pre-closing antitrust reviews. Such reviews are complex and can be fraught with risk. With more than 90 countries now having obligatory premerger filing requirements, different substantive and procedural regimes can make a multijurisdictional transaction an expensive and time-consuming process.
Jens Peter Schmidt. "German Federal Cartel Office
published new Merger Guidelines." April 2012.
On March 29, 2012, the German Federal Cartel Office (Cartel Office) adopted new Merger Control Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines replace the Principles on the Assessment of Market Power, which the Cartel Office had released i n 2 000. A first draft of the Guidelines had already been published in July 2011 f or consultation.
Kiran Desai. "Standards: Is Failure to License on
FRAND Terms a Breach of EU Competition Rules?" Spring/Summer
The EU Commissioner for Competition has repeatedly stated that the antitrust process would be used to ensure that, once companies hold standard essential patents, they must give effective access on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. The application of EU competition law to licensing of intellectual property rights that are incorporated into technical standards has been focused to date on the application of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, this article deals with the licensing issue under the EU rules relating to anticompetitive agreements, namely Article 101.
Kiran Desai. "Privatizations: Substantive and
Procedural Implications Under EU Competition Law."
Privatizations are political decisions that are generally based on financial or policy considerations. This article outlines the main implications of privatizations under EU competition law as well as issues relating to merger control, state aid and antitrust concerns.
Jens Peter Schmidt. "Merger Control in Germany
– German Court Clarifies Controversial Jurisdictional
Issues." August 2012.
A decision from the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf provides interesting guidance on how to deal with jurisdictional uncertainties of German merger control. The court took the opportunity to clarify controversial topics concerning the de minimis market notification exemption and geographic turnover calculation. The court also made very clear that merging parties, rather than calling the courts, have to go through the administrative procedure with the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) first.
Jens Peter Schmidt.
"ECN revises its Model
Leniency Programme." November 2012.
The network of European antitrust and competition authorities (ECN) has published its revised Model Leniency Programme.
Kiran Desai. "Minority Shareholding." December
In a speech, the Commissioner for Competition revealed that the European Commission is considering a revision to the EU Merger Regulation that would mean acquisition of minority shareholdings would require prior authorization by the Commission.
Jens Peter Schmidt. "EU State Aid Modernisation
– A Trojan Horse in Commissioner Almunia's Court?"
The European Commission adopted a Communication announcing its plans to modernize State aid control. The Communication on State Aid Modernisation (also referred to as SAM) sets out the long-awaited reform package of the State aid rules in the European Union.
NETZWIRTSCHAFTEN & RECHT
Robert Klotz. "EU Law Developments in Network
Industries 2011." February 2012.
The article provides an overview of the most relevant developments in EU legislation, jurisprudence and antitrust enforcement practice in the most important network industries (i.e., telecoms, energy, post and rail) in 2011, as well as a look at expected hot topics in 2012.
THOMSON REUTERS – WESTLAW
Lee Abrams. "Legal Aspects of Selling and
Buying." Third Edition 2012.
Chapter One: "The Standard of Legality: Per Se or Rule of Reason?" Provides practical answers to the most frequently raised questions in antitrust, franchising and distribution law.
VIEWPOINT – TURNING ANTITRUST TO ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE
By Richard M. Steuer, Partner
Immediate Past Chair, ABA Section of Antitrust Law
Antitrust enforcement made plenty of headlines during the first Obama administration and it promises to make even more news during his second term. New leaders are taking charge of key antitrust watchdogs such as the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice; the Federal Trade Commission; the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights; and the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. These leaders will need to address changing competitive dynamics in the health care industry under the Affordable Care Act, in the financial services industry under the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and in every sector of the economy in connection with mergers, technology, cartel activity and hard-knuckled competition.
Job creation and growth remain the nation's highest economic priorities, and the new leaders in Washington face the challenge of applying antitrust principles to speed, rather than impede, economic recovery. They will need to resist the notion that corralling business is always good for the public and adopt a pragmatic approach that preserves competition while promoting growth and new jobs—permitting activity that fosters innovation while challenging activity that suffocates it.
Antitrust enforcement can either help or hinder the recovery. For example, over-deterrence with respect to mergers can impede growth, while under-deterrence can eliminate competition and jobs that ought to be retained. Activities such as patent licensing, e-commerce, energy development, health care alliance formation and cooperation among financial institutions stand to benefit from the intelligent application of antitrust laws but can be stifled by antitrust overreach. By promoting competition, the antitrust laws can keep companies sharp and creative, helping them to avoid takeovers by global rivals. But when those laws are misapplied, they can work serious mischief.
Antitrust law is a two-edged sword. Businesses with a strong command of antitrust law and economics have an edge on their competitors because they almost always can find a way to accomplish their objectives without running afoul of the law. At the same time, when the antitrust laws are enforced judiciously, they can foster growth—not impede it—and serve as an engine of prosperity.
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