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AG Wathelet has delivered an opinion on an appeal by companies in the YKK group against the General Court’s judgment dismissing their appeal against the European Commission's decision on the fasteners cartel.
AG Wathelet felt that the General Court had not erred in its assessment of the fine set by the Commission for one of the cartel infringements, nor had it erred in upholding the Commission's application of the Leniency Notice.
However, in respect of the fine imposed for a second cartel infringement, the General Court had wrongly interpreted Article 23(2) of Regulation 1/2003.
For the period prior to its acquisition by the YKK Group, YKK Stockco was found to be solely liable for the infringement; however, in calculating the fine for this period, the Commission had wrongly used the turnover of the whole YKK group. Only the turnover of YKK Stockco, should have been used.
In addition, the deterrence multiplier applied to reflect the significant financial resources of the whole YKK group should not have been applied to the fine for which YKK Stockco was exclusively liable, and accordingly, it was held that fine imposed solely on YKK Stockco should be reduced.
The European Commission has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google, aimed at addressing the Commission's competition concerns about Google's online search and search advertising.
As part of the remedies package, Google proposes to display with comparable prominence three rival services (selected on an objective basis), whenever it promotes its own specialised web search services.
This proposal is intended to strengthen the remedies which have already been proposed to address the Commission's concerns about Google's favourable treatment of its own specialised search services.
Having received the new proposal, the Commission now takes the view that the proposed package of commitments is capable of addressing all its competition concerns. The Commission will consult on this view with the complainants who have taken issue with Google's practices, before arriving at a final decision on whether or not to make the commitments legally binding on Google.
• The CC accepted final divestment undertakings in respect of the completed acquisition by Cineworld Group plc of City Screen Limited. The CC considered that the merger has or could result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for cinema exhibition services in the Aberdeen, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge areas. Under the undertakings the parties agree to divest either a Cineworld or City Screen cinema in each of Aberdeen, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge to a purchaser that had been approved by the CC.
• The CC has announced its provisional findings on the completed acquisition by Breedon Aggregates Limited of certain Scottish assets of Aggregate Industries UK Limited, provisionally concluding that the transaction gives rise to a substantial lessening of competition for asphalt in the Aberdeen and Inverness areas and ready mix concrete in the Peterhead area. The CC considers that the merger could lead to higher prices for these products in these areas due to the loss of competition and lack of other suppliers.
• As part of its market investigation into the supply of payday lending in the UK, the CC has published a further working paper relating to the size and concentration of the payday lending sector.
• The OFT has announced that ITV plc (supported by STV and UTV), have requested the review of certain parts of the undertakings which had been accepted as a condition to the merger of Carlton Communications Plc and Granada Plc (forming ITV). ITV has requested a review of paragraph 2 of the undertakings (concerning the networking arrangements between the regional Channel 3 licensees) on the basis that there have been significant changes of circumstances which mean that certain parts of paragraph 2 (relating to programme compliance and provision of monthly reports) are no longer required. Upon review, the OFT will advise the CC as to whether the undertakings need to be varied or suspended by a new enforcement undertaking.
• The OFT has published the full non-confidential text of its infringement decision on collusive tendering in the supply and installation of certain control and alarm systems to retirement homes.
• The OFT has published the full non-confidential versions of its infringement decisions finding that Mercedes-Benz and five of its commercial vehicles dealers infringed competition law.
This article was written by Paul Stone.
For more information please contact Paul on +44 (0)20 7203 5110 or email@example.com.