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Focus Antitrust - 1 October 2014

1 October 2014

In The News

CAT quashes OFT’s decision to accept binding commitments in hotel online booking case

The CAT has delivered its judgment on Skyscanner Limited’s appeal, challenging the OFT’s decision to accept binding commitments that addressed competition concerns regarding online offering of room-only hotel accommodation bookings by online travel agents.

Although the CAT dismissed claims that in accepting the commitments the OFT had acted ultra vires and contrary to the policy of the Competition Act, it did find that the OFT had failed to consider adequately Skyscanner's objections to the proposed commitments.

In failing to investigate a plausible point, the CAT considered that the OFT had acted unfairly and unreasonably. Accordingly, the process by which the OFT thereafter reached its decision was procedurally improper. The CAT has therefore annulled the OFT's decision and remitted the case back to the CMA.



Articles 101 and 102
  • Details of Toshiba Corporation’s appeal against a General Court judgment dismissing Toshiba’s action to challenge the European Commission's decision on the power transformers cartel have been published in the Official Journal. Toshiba claims that the General Court wrongly considered that the Japanese manufacturers of power transformers were potential competitors on the EEA market, distorted evidence and wrongly interpreted the Fining Guidelines.
  • A summary of the European Commission's March 2014 decision finding that two power exchanges (EPEX Spot and Nord Pool Spot AS) had breached Article 101 TFEU has been published in the Official Journal, along with the Opinion of the Advisory Committee and the Final Report of the Hearing.


  • The CAT has published a Practice Direction on Commencement of Damages Claims, which sets out particular matters that the claim form must contain if a person outside the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom is named as a defendant to the proceedings.


  • The CMA intends to accept undertakings to vary the final undertakings accepted in respect of the completed acquisition by Cineworld Group plc of City Screen Limited. On the basis that the transaction was expected to lessen competition in the cinema exhibition services market in a number of areas, the parties gave divestment commitments which were accepted in January 2014. The CMA considers that a variation of these undertakings is required to allow effective disposal of the divestiture package. In particular, Cineworld would be prevented from reacquiring control of any part of the divestment package for a ten year period following disposal.
  • Following its final report on the private motor insurance market investigation, the CMA has published an administrative timetable for implementing remedies.
  • The CMA has published "60-second summary" guidance documents on the competition law ‘dos and don'ts’ for trade associations; limiting risk in relation to competitors' information and advice for non-executive company directors on avoiding cartel infringements.
  • The CMA has made an initial enforcement order under addressed to Vodafone Group plc and Vodafone Limited, in respect of its completed acquisition of some assets formerly owned by Phones4U Limited, Policy Administration Services Limited and the joint Administrators of Phones 4U and Policy Administration Services Limited.

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

For more information please contact Paul on +44 (0)20 7203 5110 or paul.stone@crsblaw.com.