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Focus Antitrust - 17 June 2015

In The News

European Commission opens formal investigation into Amazon's e-book distribution arrangements

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into certain business practices by Amazon in the distribution of electronic books ("e-books"). The Commission investigation will focus on clauses in Amazon's contracts with publishers, which require publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon’s competitors and/or offer Amazon similar terms and conditions to its competitors.  Click here.

Dairy merger faces in-depth investigation unless undertakings offered

The CMA has announced that Müller’s proposed acquisition of Dairy Crest’s dairy operations will be referred for a phase 2 merger investigation unless acceptable undertakings are offered.  This is based on the CMA’s findings that the proposed acquisition gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in the supply of fresh milk to major grocery retailers with national scope (national multiples) in certain regions in Great Britain.  Click here.

 CMA confirms requirement for Ryanair to reduce Aer Lingus shareholding  

The CMA has decided that there is no material change in circumstances or special reason for it not to require Ryanair to reduce its shareholding in Aer Lingus.  This follows the CMA’s provisional decision in April 2015.  The CMA has also published the final order requiring Ryanair to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus down to 5%.  Click here.

 EU

Mergers
  • The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich by Merck. Both companies are active world-wide in the life science sector, with particular overlaps in the markets for solvents and inorganics used in laboratories by companies and research centres. The decision is conditional on the divestment of certain Sigma-Aldrich assets, including manufacturing assets in Germany, the rights to certain brands and a sales force. Click here.
  • Following a phase 2 investigation, the European Commission has approved the proposed creation of a joint venture for multi-territorial online music licensing and copyright administration services by three music collecting societies (PRS for Music Limited, Föreningen Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå u.p.a and Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungs- rechte). The approval is conditional on the proposed joint venture implementing commitments that will enable other players to compete with the joint venture in the provision of copyright administration services. Click here.
Articles 101 and 102

 The General Court has issued its judgment on the appeal against the European Commission’s decision in relation to the Southern Europe bananas cartel. The General Court upheld the majority of the decision, but lowered the fine on the basis that there had been an interruption in the cartel, which meant that its duration was reduced. Click here.

UK

Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • The CAT has granted the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO) permission to appeal the CAT's judgment that dismissed (by a majority) FIPO's appeal against the CMA’s final report on the private healthcare market investigation. Click here.

CMA
  • The CMA has accepted undertakings in lieu of a reference in relation to the acquisition by GTCR Canyon UK Investments Ltd of Gorkana. Click here.