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Focus Antitrust - 15 October 2014

15 October 2014

In The News

European Commission clears acquisition of Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo by Liberty Global subject to conditions

Following a Phase II investigation, the European Commission has conditionally approved the proposed acquisition of Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo by Liberty Global.

The Commission had concerns that the merger would have hindered competition by removing two close competitors in the Dutch market for the wholesale of premium pay TV film channels and by increasing Liberty Global's buyer power vis-à-vis TV channel broadcasters, allowing it to hinder innovation in the delivery of audio visual content over the Internet.

To address these concerns, Liberty Global has committed to sell Film1, its premium pay TV film channel, and to carry the channel on its pay TV network for a period of three years.

It has also agreed to terminate clauses in channel carriage agreements that limit broadcasters' ability to offer their channels and content over the Internet, as well as agreeing not to include any similar clauses in future agreements for a period of eight years.

European Commission confirms dawn raids in biofuel sector

The European Commission has confirmed that on 7 October 2014 its officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the production, distribution and trading of the biofuel ethanol.

The inspections took place in two EU Member States and follow previous inspections undertaken by the Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority in May 2013 in the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuel sectors.

The Commission is concerned that price benchmarks may have been distorted as a result of anti-competitive conduct contrary to Article 101 and/or Article 102, including possible collusion when submitting price information to a Price Reporting Agency. 

European Commission fines Slovak Telekom and its parent, Deutsche Telekom, for abusive conduct in the Slovak broadband market

The European Commission has imposed a fine of €38.8 million on Slovak Telekom and its parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, for pursuing an abusive strategy to shut out competitors from the Slovak market for broadband services, in breach of Article 102.

In particular, the Commission found that Slovak Telekom had refused to supply unbundled access to its local loops to competitors and imposed a margin squeeze on alternative operators.

As parent company, Deutsche Telekom received an additional fine of €31million as it had already been fined in 2003 for a margin squeeze in broadband markets in Germany.



Articles 101 and 102
  • The General Court has annulled the fine imposed on Soliver in relation to the car glass cartel. The Court concluded that the Commission was wrong to consider that Soliver ought to have known that bilateral contacts with two of its competitors formed part of the wider cartel.
  • The European Court of Justice has dismissed ICF’s appeal against the General Court judgment which upheld the European Commission's decision on the aluminium fluoride cartel. The ECJ did conclude that the General Court failed to adjudicate within a reasonable time, although this gave ICF a right to bring an action for damages, rather than a basis for annulment of the General Court's judgment. 

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

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