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Focus Antitrust - 10 June 2015

10 June 2015

In The News

 CMA warns estate and lettings agents not to break competition law

The CMA has sent out letters to a number of estate and lettings agents warning that they may be at risk of breaking competition law.  This follows the recent case where the CMA fined an association of estate and lettings agents, three of its members and a newspaper publisher over £735,000 for agreeing to restrict the advertising of fees or discounts in a local newspaper. In light of this case, the CMA has sent warning letters to a number of estate and lettings agents that it has reasonable grounds for suspecting have been involved in anti-competitive agreements to restrict the advertising of fees.  Separately, the CMA has received complaints that other associations of estate agents and local newspapers may be engaging in similar practices, and is considering whether to take further action.  Click here.

 BT/EE merger fast-tracked to phase 2 investigation by CMA  

The CMA has referred BT Group plc’s anticipated acquisition of EE Limited for an in-depth phase 2 investigation under the fast track procedure.  The CMA has found that the transaction meets the test for reference in that it gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in relation to the supply of wholesale access and call origination services to mobile virtual network operators and fibre mobile backhaul services to mobile network operators in the UK. It has therefore decided that it is appropriate to proceed with a fast track reference of the merger to phase 2.  Click here.


  • The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of certain INEOS chlorovinyls businesses by ICIG and approved ICIG as buyer of divested assets linked to approval of the INEOS / Solvay joint venture.  Click here.
Articles 101 and 102
  • The European Commission has published Best Practices on the disclosure of information in data rooms in proceedings under Articles 101 and 102 and under the EU Merger Regulation. The purpose of the Data Room Best Practices is to provide practical guidance on the use of data rooms to disclose business secrets and other confidential information obtained during antitrust and merger proceedings.  Click here.
  • The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Riberebro alleging participation in the canned mushrooms cartel.  The Commission's investigation started with unannounced inspections in February 2012. In June 2014, the Commission adopted a settlement decision against three companies that admitted their involvement in the cartel – Bonduelle, Lutèce and Prochamp. The total fines imposed were €32 million. The investigation concerning Riberebro continued under the standard cartel procedure.  Click here.


  • The CMA has referred the merger of Bournemouth Water with South West Water for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.  Click here.
  • The CMA has opened a consultation on the undertakings offered by Greene King to address competition concerns relating to its purchase of the Spirit Pub Company.  Click here.
  • The CMA has cleared the completed acquisition by Pork Farms Caspian of the chilled savoury pastry business of Kerry Foods.  This confirms the provisional findings issued in April.  Click here.
  • The CMA has provisionally cleared the completed acquisition by Sonoco Products Company of Weidenhammer Packaging Group. The CMA believes that customers of composite cans for food products will be protected from the risk of the merged company raising prices, or reducing quality, through their ability to switch to other suppliers or to alternative forms of packaging.  Click here.
  • The CMA is consulting on proposed undertakings in lieu of a reference in relation to GTCR’s acquisition of Gorkana Group.  Click here.