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Focus Antitrust - 3 December 2014

3 December 2014

In The News

General Court confirms European Commission inspection powers in the area of electronic searches

The General Court has dismissed an appeal by Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) and its subsidiary EP Investment Advisors (EPIA) against a €2.5 million fine for obstructing a Commission on site inspection, by failing to block an email account and diverting incoming emails.

The Court confirmed that the Commission was correct to consider both the failure to block an e-mail account and the diversion of incoming emails as serious breaches of EPH and EPIA's obligation to cooperate with the Commission during the inspection.

The Court also held that these two incidents constitute an obstruction in themselves; the Commission does not need to show that any document was actually removed or manipulated. Click here.

European Commission approves aerospace and defence joint venture between Airbus and Safran subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared the proposed creation of a joint venture for space launchers, satellite subsystems and missile propulsion between Airbus Group N.V. of The Netherlands and Safran S.A. of France.

The decision is conditional upon the exclusion of Safran's activities in electric satellite thrusters from the joint venture, as well as on certain supply assurance commitments.

The Commission had concerns that, without these conditions, the joint venture could have excluded Airbus' competitors or limited their access to certain supplies, as well as giving Airbus access to strategic information. Click here.


Articles 101 and 102

The General Court has issued its judgment in the appeal by Alstom against the European Commission's decision on the power transformers cartel.

The General Court has annulled part of the decision on the basis that the Commission failed to give sufficient reasons why arguments advanced by Alstom were not capable of rebutting the presumption that it exercised decisive influence over a wholly owned subsidiary. Click here.


The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Covidien, an Ireland-based manufacturer of medical devices, by Medtronic, a US-based company active in medical technologies and therapies.

The decision is conditional upon the divestment of Covidien's Stellarex, a drug coated balloon currently in development, which, once launched, would compete with Medtronic's leading drug coated balloon device. Click here.


  • The CMA has published the full non-confidential version of the OFT decision made earlier this year in the care home medicine cartel case. Click here.
  • The CMA has found that the completed acquisition by Xchanging of certain companies of Agencyport gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in relation to the supply of specialist software to the insurance market and will be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation unless acceptable undertakings are offered. Click here.
  • The CMA has published the findings and recommendations from its market study into the residential property management services sector in England and Wales. The recommendations are intended to improve prospective purchasers’ awareness of leaseholders’ obligations, disclosure, transparency and communication between property managers and leaseholders and leaseholders’ access to appropriate forms of redress. Click here.
  • The CMA has announced that it considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered by Immediate Media in relation to its acquisition of certain assets of Future Publishing might be accepted by the CMA in lieu of a phase 2 investigation. Click here.
  • The CMA has published its Strategic Assessment of the risks that consumers and markets face, alongside a consultation on its draft annual plan for next year. Click here.
  • The CMA has published a notice of its decision to release certain merger undertakings given by Carlton Communications Plc and Granada plc at the time of their merger to form ITV. Click here.

Ofcom has published an update on its investigation in relation to certain prices, terms and conditions offered by Royal Mail for access to certain letter delivery services (known as “D + 2 access”).

The investigation stems from a complaint from TNT that Royal Mail is abusing a dominant position contrary to the Chapter II prohibition and Article 102.

Ofcom has indicated that a state of play meeting with Royal Mail has been arranged for 15 December 2014, following which it will provide an update on the investigation. Click here.

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

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