Competition weekly news summary
Friday, October 14, 2011

Conferences and speeches

  • Building Europe’s future payments market
    Next Generation Cards and Payments conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    12 October 2011
    "Beyond the elimination of technical barriers for intra-European operations, we must bring more transparency, more competition, and more innovation to the payments market in order to achieve its necessary development. Today I will argue that regulation, self-regulation and competition enforcement at EU level should team up to spur the evolution of the industry in order to meet the expectations of businesses and consumers alike."
    Read full speech >
  • Zero tolerance for international cartels
    ICN Cartel Workshop 2011, Bruges, Alexander Italianer
    11 October 2011
    "So companies and their advisors should be aware that we are fully determined to start own initiative inquiries whenever we believe that cartel behaviour occurs. (…) My message today is that we are not complacent, we do not merely rely on leniency, we are not just reactive. We are vigilant and will pro-actively pursue the ex-officio route."
    Read full speech >

Competition

  • EU and US celebrate 20 years of cooperation; agree to advance cooperation further
    14 October 2011
    The competition authorities of the EU and the US have agreed to further strengthen cooperation on mergers investigated in both jurisdictions, as they celebrate 20 years of successful cooperation on competition policy. The announcement follows the annual top-level meeting between the EU and US competition authorities.
    Read more >

Antitrust

  • Commission imposes € 8.9 million fine in banana cartel
    12 October 2011
    The Commission has fined Pacific Fruit €8 919 000 for operating between July 2004 and April 2005, toghether with Chiquita, a price fixing cartel for bananas in Southern Europe, in violation of EU antitrust rules. Chiquite received full immunity from fines for providing the Commission with information about the cartel.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves the acquisition of Cephalon by Teva, subject to conditions
    14 October 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of US-based pharmaceutical company Cephalon by generic pharmaceutical company Teva of Israel. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Cephalon's generic version of its "Provigil" drug. Teva has also developed a generic version of the drug. The Commission had therefore concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, would have significantly reduced generic competition on this market. However, the Commission's investigation showed that the divestment of Cephalon's generic product will allow a competitor to enter the market and compete effectively with the merged entity.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Skype by Microsoft
    7 October 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the Internet voice and video communication provider Skype by Microsoft. The Commission's investigation found that the parties' activities mainly overlap for consumer video communications, where Microsoft is active through its Windows Live Messenger. However, the Commission concluded that no competition concerns would arise in this growing market, where numerous players including Google are present. For enterprise communications, the investigation confirmed that Skype has a limited market presence for these products and does not compete directly with Microsoft's Lync, which is used mostly by large companies.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of medical tech company Kinetic Concepts by private equity fund APAX
    7 October 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of US medical supplier Kinetic Concepts by UK-based APAX Partners, a private equity fund manager. The Commission concluded that the merged entity would face effective competition in all markets concerned and that competitors would continue to have sufficient purchase and sales alternatives.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission clears aid from Irish Insurance Compensation Fund for restructuring of Quinn Insurance
    12 October 2011
    The Commission has approved support provided by the Irish Insurance Compensation Fund for the restructuring of Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL), an Irish general insurer which ran into difficulties in 2010 and is currently in administration. As part of the restructuring, the Irish general insurance part of QIL has been sold, while the non-viable UK operations will be wound-down. The Commission found the resturcturing to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because the restructuring measures restore the viability of the sold business, while limiting distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Statement by Vice President Almunia on Dexia
    10 October 2011
    The Commission took note of the announcement made by the French, Belgian and Luxembourg authorities of a new restructuring plan for Dexia. It welcomes the stabilising effect of the agreement on the banking group and for the financial system as a whole.
    Read more >
  • Commission temporarily approves rescue aid for Danish Max Bank
    10 October 2011
    The European Commission has granted temporary approval to a support measure to facilitate the sale of part of the Danish Max Bank. The Commission acknowledges that the measure is necessary to preserve the stability of the Danish financial system. The final approval of the measure is conditional on the presentation within six months of a restructuring plan that shows that the integrated entity is viable and that the aid is limited to the strict minimum necessary.
    Read more >

Court

  • C-439/09 Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique
    13 October 2011
    The Court of Justice ruled on a preliminary question referred by a French court, regarding the distribution system of Pierre Fabre Cosmétique. The Court confirmed that a restriction, imposed on selective distributors, that results in a ban on online sales, is a restriction by object within the meaning of the EU antitrust rules (Article 101 TFEU), unless it is objectively justified. Moreover, the Court clarified that selective distribution agreements containing clauses that de facto prohibit internet as a method of distribution are not caught by the Block exemption regulation on vertical agreements. However, they may benefit on an individual basis from the exception provided for in Article 101 (3) TFEU, if the exception criteria are met.
    Read full judgment >
  • C-454/09 Commission / Italy
    13 October
    The Commission has referred Italy to the Court of Justice for not implementing a Commission decision of April 2008 that had ordered Italy to recover incompatible aid from New Interline. The Court ruled that by failing to implement the Commission decision, Italy has failed to fulfill its obligations under the Treaty.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • Joined cases C-463/10 and C-475/10 Deutsche Post and Germany / Commission
    13 October 2011
    The Court of Justice ruled on requests to annul a CFI order of July 2010 that had declared inadmissible Deutsche Post's appeal against an information injunction issued by the Commission in the context of a state aid investigation into public measures in favour of Deutsche Post. The Court declared Deutsche Post's appeal admissible and sent the case back to the CFI (now General Court) for a ruling on the substance.
    Read full ECJ ruling >
    Read full CFI order >
    Read more about ongoing Commission investigation >
  • T-224/10 Test Achats / Commission
    12 October 2011
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by a Belgian consumer association against a Commission decision of November 2009 authorising a merger between EDF and Segebel subject to conditions and rejecting a request to refer the examination of part of the transaction to the Belgian competition authority. The General Court declared the action by Test Achats inadmissible.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • T-38/05 and T-41/05 Appeals in Spanish raw tobacco cartel
    12 October 2011
    The General Court ruled on appeals by Agroexpansión and Alliance One against a Commission decision of October 2004 fining several companies for their participation in a cartel in the Spanish raw tobacco markets. The Court confirmed the joint and several liability of the parent company Alliance One for the behaviour of its subsidiary Agroexpansión. The Court reduced the fine for which Alliance One should be held liable, because during part of the infringement Agroexpansión was not a fully owned subsidiary. The Court also reduced the fine for Agroexpansión in consideration of its cooperation under the Commission's leniency program.
    Read full judgment Agroexpansión >
    Read full judgment Alliance One >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >

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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.

© European Union, 2011. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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