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Focus Antitrust - 20 November 2013

In the News

Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses Global Radio Holdings appeal

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has dismissed Global Radio Holdings Limited's application for review of the Competition Commission's decision on the Global Radio/GMG Radio merger. Global challenged the Commission’s decision on two grounds. The first related to the meaning of “substantial lessening of competition” and the second to whether the Commission erred in its approach to remedies as regards Greater Manchester and the North-West region.

On the first ground, it was Global’s case that “substantial” meant “large”, “considerable” or “weighty”. The CAT rejected the construction of a “substantial” lessening of competition advanced by Global, holding that “substantial” does not have to be construed as “large”, “considerable” or “weighty”. Among other things, the Tribunal considered that a finding that there was a significant lessening of competition should suffice, regardless of whether that lessening was large in absolute terms. In relation to the second ground, the CAT concluded that the Commission had not erred in finding that the loss of GMG Radio as an alternative for advertisers primarily focused on Greater Manchester would reduce competition and that the remedies chosen by the Commission were appropriate.



Articles 101 and 102

Advocate General Sharpston has issued an opinion setting out her view that Article 102 does not preclude the grant of a territorial monopoly to a collecting society. Although she noted that a statutory monopoly in a member state may constitute a dominant position within the meaning of Article 102, she held that the mere creation of such a position through the grant of special or exclusive rights, within the meaning of Article 106(1), is not in itself in breach of the prohibitions in Articles 102 and 106. A breach arises only where the undertaking is led, merely by exercising those rights, to abuse its dominant position, or where such rights are liable to create a situation in which that undertaking is led to commit an abuse.


UK courts

The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision of the Commercial Court that held that Ryanair could rely on a contractual jurisdiction clause to enable the English courts to hear together a claim based on an Italian Competition Authority Article 101 cartel decision and a claim based on breach of contract. The Court of Appeal found that there was no contractual claim in this case and that the jurisdiction clause could not be interpreted as encompassing a breach of Article 101. 

Competition Appeal Tribunal

The CAT has stayed the applications by Lafarge Tarmac Holdings Limited and Hanson Quarry Products Europe Limited for review of decisions taken by the Competition Commission in relation to the conduct of the aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete market investigation. The applications will be stayed until after the publication of the Competition Commission's final report. 

Competition Commission

The Competition Commission is consulting on draft final undertakings in relation to the completed acquisition by Imerys Minerals Limited of the kaolin business of Goonvean Limited.

For more information please contact Paul Stone, Partner

T: +44 (0)20 7203 5110