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Focus Antitrust - 28 January 2015

28 January 2015

In The News

European Commission continues its Phase 2 investigation of the Orange/Jazztel merger without referral to Spain

The European Commission has decided not to refer the planned acquisition of Jazztel by Orange to the Spanish competition authority for assessment under Spanish competition law. The Commission concluded that it was better placed to deal with the case with a view to ensuring consistency in the application of the merger control rules in the fixed and mobile telecommunications sectors across the European Economic Area.  The proposed transaction would reduce the number of nationwide providers of fixed telecommunications services in Spain from four to three.  Click here. 

CMA confirms Phase 2 investigation of food cans suppliers merger

The CMA has referred Sonoco Products Company’s completed acquisition of Weidenhammer Packaging Group GmbH for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.  Sonoco offered undertakings in lieu of a reference, but the CMA was not confident that these would resolve its concerns in a clear-cut manner.  Click here


Articles 101 and 102
  • The General Court has dismissed an appeal by easyJet against a European Commission decision rejecting its complaint that Schiphol airport had abused a dominant position.  The General Court held that, in rejecting the complaint, the Commission was entitled to rely on the ground that a national competition authority had previously rejected the complaint on priority grounds.  Click here.


  • The High Court has dismissed claims by Gallaher and Somerfield for repayment of their fines resulting from early resolution agreements as part of the OFT's tobacco retail pricing decision. Gallaher and Somerfield argued that they had been treated unfairly by comparison with another company that had been given assurances as part of its early resolution agreement that its fine would be repaid if a third party successfully appealed against the OFT’s decision.  The High Court concluded that the OFT had been mistaken in offering the assurances and, because public funds were involved, this provided an objective justification for the OFT’s decision not to make repayment to Gallaher and Somerfield.
Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • The CAT has published an order in relation to the pay TV appeals, setting out how the case will proceed following remittal of one aspect of the case by the Court of Appeal.  A hearing has been listed for 27 March 2015 in order to decide whether the original Tribunal should deal with the remitted issue or whether a new Tribunal should be constituted.  Click here.
Competition and Markets Authority
  • The CMA has issued for consultation the proposed undertaking in lieu of a reference in relation to the acquisition of 228 petrol stations by Motor Fuel Limited from Murco Petroleum Limited.  The undertaking involves the sale of the Murco petrol station and related assets, including a grocery outlet, in the Hythe area in Kent, by way of the sale of the freehold property.  Click here.
  • The CMA has announced that it is to undertake a project to examine the scope for increasing competition in passenger rail services in Great Britain, and to see whether this could lead to better value for money and improve service quality.  It has stated that this will be a policy project, and not a formal investigation or market study.  Click here.
  • The CMA has published an update in relation to its criminal cartel investigation in relation to the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage.  Two of the defendants have pleaded not guilty and the case has now been adjourned until the trial, which has been listed for 1 June 2015 at Southwark Crown Court.  Click here.
  • Ofgem has opened an investigation into whether SSE has infringed Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 102 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The investigation will consider whether SSE has abused a dominant position and put its competitors at a disadvantage in the electricity connections market.  Click here.

For more information, please contact Paul Stone.