Competition weekly news summary
Friday, March 4, 2011

Conferences and Speeches

  • The future of European competition law in high-tech industries
    Academy of European Law (ERA), Annual conference on European Antitrust Law, Brussels, Cecilio Madero
    3 March 2011
    "It is our duty to ensure that anticompetitive foreclosure does not occur. Firms in high-tech sectors, just as in any other, should compete on the basis of their merit in terms of quality, price and innovation and no player should be excluded because of anticompetitive barriers."
    Read full speech >
  • Doing business in Europe: the review of the rules on co-operation agreements between competitors
    Opening address at Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht Conference, Brussels, Alexander Italianer
    1 March 2011
    "(...) cooperation ventures require significant upfront commercial investments. Businesses want to be able to assess whether their plans raise competition law concerns before embarking on such costly projects. Clear rules on horizontal agreements are thus important for doing business in Europe and industry welcomed our initiative to update the rules. (...) The revision of the rules is the fruit of our cooperation with National Competition Authorities, with the industry and with their legal advisors. Now that the new rules are in place, I strongly believe that they will directly contribute to improving the business environment in Europe."
    Read full speech >

Competition

  • 6th issue of ECN brief
    28 February 2011
    The ECN has published the 6th issue of the ECN brief, covering news from December 2010 to February 2011. The ECN Brief informs about the activities of the ECN and its members. This issue, next to important cases, namely reports about sector inquiries/market studies in sectors including Food Retail (Germany and Italy), Energy (Czech Republic, Germany and Portugal), Medicine prices (Latvia), Advertsing (France and UK) and Online Gambling (France).
    Read more >

Antitrust

  • Commission closes probe into Hollywood studios after they change terms of contracts for digitisation of European cinemas
    4 March 2011
    The Commission has closed an antitrust investigation concerning the digitisation of European cinemas after several major U.S. Hollywood film studios revised contract provisions relating to the financing and installation of digital projection equipment in cinemas. The Commission had concerns that the original provisions might hinder small film distributors from getting access to digital cinemas, in breach of EU rules that prohibit restrictive business practices. The revised provisions facilitate the release of independent and art house films in new state-of-the-art cinemas.
    Read more >
  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the e-book publishing sector
    2 March 2011
    On 1 March 2011, Commission officials initiated unannounced inspections at the premises of companies that are active in the e-book (electronic or digital books) publishing sector in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated the EU treaty's ban on cartels and other restrictive business practices.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves the acquisition of Nortel's Multi-Service Switching business by Ericsson
    2 March 2011
    In the course of the investigation, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent reached an agreement to extend the supply contract with Nortel, addressing all potential competition concerns regarding the continuity of supply of MSS switches. The Commission's investigation also confirmed that the proposed transaction would not lead to any competition concerns in the downstream markets for GSM or VoIP network equipment, given the limited market position of Ericsson's competitors who depend on Nortel MSS switches and Ericsson's lack of incentive to engage in such a strategy.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of the UK hotel operator Kew Green by Bank of Scotland and Barclays Bank
    28 February 2011
    The transaction results in a horizontal overlap on the market for hotel accommodation in the UK. However, the Commission’s investigation showed that the horizontal overlap between the parties' activities is limited and that a large number of competitors are active on this market.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Overview of national measures adopted as a response to the financial/economic crisis
    1 March 2011
    Read more >

Court

  • T-110/07, T-117/07 and T-122/07, Siemens, Areva, Alstom and others / Commission
    3 March 2011
    The General Court ruled on several appeals against a Commission decision of January 2007, fining 11 companies a total of around €750 million for operating a cartel in the sector for gas insulated switchgear. The Court largely up-held the Commission's findings, but lowered the fines for companies in the Alstom and Areva groups by around €6,5 million.
    Read full Siemens judgment >
    Read full Areva & Alstom judgment >
    Read full Siemens & VaTech judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • C-437/09 AG2R Prévoyance / Beadout Père et Fils SARL
    3 March 2011
    The Court of Justice ruled on a preliminary question referred by a French Court on the interpretation of Article 102 of the TFEU. The Court ruled that it is not against the competition rules to have a social partner laying down a collective agreement providing for compulsory affiliation to a supplementary healthcare scheme, nor to have such an agreement made generally applicable to all undertakings in a given sector. This is in line with the position taken by the Commission.
    Read full judgment >

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Published by the Competition Directorate General of the European Commission. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the above information.

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