Competition weekly news summary
26 July 2013


Antitrust

  • Commission accepts legally binding commitments from Penguin in e-books market
    25 July 2013
    The Commission has made legally binding commitments offered by Penguin, in the context of the Commission's investigation regarding the sale of e-books in the EEA. The Commission had concerns that Penguin, together with four other publishers - Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck - and Apple may have contrived to limit retail price competition for e-books in the EEA. To address these concerns, Penguin offered substantially the same commitments as those proposed by the other four publishers and made legally binding on those companies in December 2012. They include, in particular, the termination of on-going agency agreements and the exclusion of certain MFN clauses in Penguin's agency agreements during the next five years. Penguin also offered to give retailers freedom to discount e-books, subject to certain conditions, during two years. After a market test, the Commission is satisfied that the commitments offered by Penguin remedy the competition concerns it had identified.
    Read more >

Competition and Internal Market

  • New rules on Payment Services for the benefit of consumers and retailers
    24 July 2013
    In order to adapt the EU payments market to the opportunities of the single market and to support the growth of the EU economy, the Commission has adopted a package including:
    - A new payment Services Directive ("PSD2")
    - A proposal for regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions.
    Read more >
    VP Almunia's statement >
    Commissioner Barnier's statement >
    Frequently asked questions >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Swedish medical technology company Gambro by US rival Baxter, subject to conditions
    22 July 2013
    The Commission has authorised the proposed acquisition of the Swedish dialysis equipment manufacturer Gambro by US rival healthcare company Baxter. The clearance is conditional upon the divestment of Baxter's continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) business which serves patients suffering from acute kidney failure. The Commission had concerns that the transaction as originally notified would have reduced effective competition on this market. The commitments submitted by Baxter adequately address these concerns.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission approves Banco Gallego's restructuring plan
    25 July 2013
    The Commission has concluded that the restructuring plan of the Spanish bank Banco Gallego is in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it ensures its return to long-term viability without continued state support as a part of Banco Sabadell, while foreseeing a sufficient own contribution to the cost of restructuring.
    Read more >
  • Commission finalises discussions on restructuring plans for Portuguese banks CGD, Banco BPI, BCP
    24 July 2013
    The Commission has concluded that the restructuring plans of the three Portuguese banks Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), Banco BPI (BPI) and Banco Comercial Português (BCP) are in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the plans demonstrate that the banks are viable without continued state support, contribute to a sufficient level to the costs of restructuring and include adequate safeguards to limit the distortions of competition created by the state support.
    Read more >
  • Commission consults on draft Guidelines for supporting risk finance investments
    24 July 2013
    The Commission is consulting the public on draft guidelines on how Member States can support the provision of risk finance to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on the results of a first consultation in July 2012, the draft proposes more flexibility in defining eligible companies and forms of financing. It is aimed at further enhancing the ability of SMEs to access finance, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Comments can be submitted until 17 September 2013. In light of the submissions, the Commission will then adopt new guidelines at the end of 2013.
    Read more >
  • Commission's competition service consults on additional categories for revised General Block Exemption Regulation ('GBER – part II')
    24 July 2013
    Following the adoption of a revised Council Regulation enabling the Commission to adopt state aid exemptions for additional categories of aid on 22 July 2013, the Commission's competition service consults the public on a first proposal for such additional categories to be included in a revised GBER. This consultation follows a first consultation on the review of the GBER in May 2013, which took place before the adoption of the Council Regulation and therefore did not cover the additional categories now proposed. In light of submissions received in the two consultations, the Commission will prepare a consolidated proposal for a revised GBER, on which stakeholders will be consulted again in late 2013. In parallel, a prolongation of the validity of the current GBER until 30 June 2014 is proposed.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth inquiry into alleged aid to German pharmaceutical companies in financial difficulties
    24 July 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether a German scheme, granting companies in financial difficulties exemptions from rebates that pharmaceutical companies are obliged to offer to German public sickness funds and private health insurers, is in line with EU state aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission welcomes Council adoption of revised state aid rules on block exemptions and procedures
    23 July 2013
    On 22 July, the EU's Council of Ministers has formally adopted two European Commission proposals for revised regulations on state aid exemptions (Enabling Regulation) and procedures (Procedural Regulation). The new rules will contribute to the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative. They will enter into force on the twentieth day following their publication in the EU Official Journal.
    Read more >
  • Swap rate proxies for the purpose of SGEI Decision and SGEI Framework
    22 July 2013
    In line with its commitments in the framework of the package on services of general economic interest (SGEI), the Commission has provided an online instrument for public authorities to easily determine swap rates in the context of reasonable profit. This instrument is now available on the SGEI page of the Commission's competition website.
    Go to SGEI page >

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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, 2013. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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