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Focus Antitrust - 16 December 2015

16 December 2015

In The News

Supreme Court upholds CMA’s appeal in Eurotunnel case

The Supreme Court has ruled that the CMA took the correct approach in assessing whether Eurotunnel’s acquisition of three ferries and related assets formerly owned by SeaFrance should be treated as a merger under the UK merger control rules. Click here.

European Commission accepts commitments by Bulgarian Energy Holding to open up Bulgarian wholesale electricity market

The European Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding the commitments offered by Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) in relation to Bulgaria's wholesale electricity market. The Commission had concerns that BEH may have abused its dominant position on the market for the wholesale supply of electricity at freely negotiated prices.

In particular, the Commission investigated clauses in electricity supply contracts concluded between BEH's production subsidiaries and third parties, such as traders, that impose restrictions on where these third parties could resell the electricity bought from BEH.

To address the Commission's concerns, BEH has committed to offer certain volumes of electricity on an independently-operated day-ahead market on a newly-created power exchange in Bulgaria. Click here.

The CMA has opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the residential estate agency sector

The CMA is investigating suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the residential estate agency sector that it considers may infringe Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998.

The investigation has been launched on the basis of information received after compliance work undertaken following the CMA’s previous investigation into the advertising of fees in the estate and letting agency sector. Click here.

CMA opens investigation into leisure sector

The CMA has opened an investigation into a suspected breach of competition law in the leisure sector under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998. The CMA has not given any further details about the investigation. Click here.


  • Following a consultation, the CMA is recommending that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills renews the existing block exemption for agreements between public transport providers concerning ticketing schemes. Click here.
  • The CMA has announced that it will look in detail at whether to accept the undertakings offered by MRH instead of carrying out a phase 2 merger investigation into its completed acquisition of 78 service stations from Esso Petroleum Company Limited. Click here.
  • The CMA has announced that it has decided not to look further into the issue of medicine shortages. Although concerns were raised with the CMA, the CMA states that it did not find persuasive evidence that the extent of shortages in the UK justified further investigation. Click here.
  • The CMA has decided to refer the anticipated acquisition by Celesio AG of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited UK Pharmacy Business for a detailed phase 2 investigation unless undertakings are offered. Click here.
  • The CMA is consulting on a further draft of its proposed order to prohibit GB cement suppliers from sending price announcement letters to their customers. The order results from the Competition Commission’s market investigation into aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete. Click here.
  • The CMA has referred Pearson VUE’s anticipated acquisition of learndirect’s computer-based testing business for a phase 2 merger investigation. Although Pearson VUE offered undertakings in lieu of a reference, the CMA was not confident that these would resolve its concerns in a clear-cut manner. Click here.
  • The CMA has announced that Fenland’s anticipated acquisition of Fishers Cleanroom will be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation unless the companies offer undertakings. Both parties provide cleanroom laundry services to customers who operate within sterile environments, including the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, NHS pharmacies and manufacturers of semi-conductors, micro-electronics, medical devices and precision engineering. Click here.

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