European Commission approves acquisition of Virgin Media by
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger
Regulation the proposed acquisition of UK cable operator Virgin
Media by the US-based company Liberty Global. The transaction would
bring together the second largest pay TV operator in the UK (Virgin
Media) and the largest cable operator in Europe (Liberty Global).
However, the European Commission concluded that the transaction
would not raise competition concerns, on the basis that the parties
operate cable networks in different Member States and the merged
entity would have a limited market position in the wholesale of TV
channels in the UK and Ireland. Click
EU Articles 101 and 102
The European Commission has accepted a set of commitments
offered by CEZ, the Czech electricity incumbent, to resolve
concerns that CEZ may have abused its dominant market position in
breach of Article 102 by reserving capacity in the transmission
network, in order to prevent competitors from entering the market.
Under the commitments CEZ will divest a significant amount of
generation capacity. Click
The ECJ has upheld an appeal by Mindo against a judgment of the
General Court that found that there was no need for it to
adjudicate on Mindo's appeal against the European
Commission's decision on the Italian raw tobacco cartel, on the
basis that its former parent company, Alliance One, had paid its
fine. The ECJ found that the General Court had erred in finding
that Mindo had failed to demonstrate that Alliance One had the
intention of recovering the fine and so has referred the case back
to the General Court.
The General Court has partially annulled the European
Commission's 2008 decision finding that the International
Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and its
collecting society member associations had infringed Article 101
through provisions in their reciprocal representation agreements.
The General Court annulled the Commission's finding that there
had been a concerted practice between the collecting societies
relating to their imposition of provisions which limited the
licences granted to the domestic territory of each collecting
society. However, the General Court upheld the European
Commission's findings that membership and exclusivity clauses
in the collecting societies' agreements breached Article 101.
The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition
by the Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina of two Dutch
companies: Zijerveld & Veldhuyzen B.V., a specialised cheese
wholesaler, and Den Hollander Food B.V., a packaging services
provider. The clearance is conditional on the implementation of a
package of commitments by FrieslandCampina. The Commission had
that the transaction, as originally notified, would have
significantly reduced competition on the market for the production
and sale of semi-hard goat cheese in the Netherlands. The
commitments are intended to ensure that sufficient quantities of
semi-hard goat cheese will be available to third parties.
The High Court has granted an application by National Grid for
disclosure by the French defendants in its damages action following
on from the European Commission gas-insulated switchgear cartel
decision. The court ruled that the French defendants are not
subject to a real risk of prosecution under French law and
therefore that disclosure orders should be made against them.
The Competition Commission has confirmed that the Rank/Gala
merger can proceed after approving a buyer for the licence Rank
holds to run a casino in Edinburgh.
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This case is very important in that it is one of the first judgments where damages have been awarded for breach of competition rules in UK. It relates to MasterCard's alleged anticompetitive card fees (credit and debit cards).
Despite the fact that the House of Lords ruled over 20 years ago in Garden Cottage Foods v Milk Marketing Board that third parties are able to sue for damages for breach of articles 81 and 82 EC Treaty, enforcement of the competition rules in the UK has until relatively recently been primarily achieved through public enforcement.
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