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Focus Antitrust - 5 June 2014

In the News

Commission conditionally clears acquisition of Telefónica Ireland by Hutchison 3G

Following a Phase II investigation, the European Commission has decided to grant conditional approval to the acquisition of Telefónica Ireland by Hutchison 3G Ireland (H3G). The Commission had identified a number of competition concerns in both the retail mobile telecoms market and the wholesale market for network access and call origination in Ireland.

The Commission was particularly concerned that the elimination of H3G as an independent competitive force and the resulting loss of competition between the merging parties, as well as the reduction in overall competitive pressure on the market, could reduce services and increase prices for consumers.

In order to address these concerns, H3G has agreed to divest up to 30% of the merged company's network capacity to allow entry by two mobile virtual network operators.

Further, it will also divest five blocks of spectrum from 1 January 2016 to assist longer term entry. H3G has also agreed to continue a network-sharing agreement with Eircom on improved terms to resolve concerns about the impact of the merger on the wholesale markets. 


Articles 101 and 102
  • The European Commission has published a competition policy brief on standard essential patents, examining how competition concerns might arise where market power is conferred by such patents, and how these concerns might be alleviated through the patent holder giving commitments to licence their patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.


Competition and Markets Authority
  • The draft final undertakings that the CMA is minded to accept in respect of the completed acquisition by Breedon Aggregates Limited of certain Scottish assets of Aggregate Industries UK Limited have been published for consultation. To address concerns that the transaction could result in a substantial lessening of competition for asphalt in Aberdeen and Inverness and RMX in Peterhead, Breedon has agreed to make divestments of an asphalt plant in the Aberdeen area and a RMX plant in the Peterhead area, and to cap the price at which it sells asphalt from the two relevant Inverness plants.
  • Following the completed acquisition by Noble Egg Innovations Unlimited of certain assets and business information of Manton and Manton 2 Limited, the CMA has published directions to appoint a monitoring trustee under an initial enforcement order addressed to Noble Egg Innovations Unlimited and its parent company Walrus (Guernsey) Limited. The monitoring trustee will monitor compliance with the initial enforcement order and any future order and support the CMA in taking any remedial action which may be required.
  • As part of its Phase II investigation into the anticipated acquisition by Omnicell, Inc/MTS Medication Technologies, Inc of Surgichem Limited, the CMA has published a research report examining the closeness of competition between the merging parties as well as the closeness of competition from other suppliers. 
Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • The CAT has published notices of applications by AXA PPP Healthcare Limited, HCA International Limited and the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations for review of certain decisions of the CMA in its final report on the private healthcare market investigation. 
  • Ofcom has published a consultation on proposals for regulation of the wholesale mobile call termination market for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2018. 
  • The government has decided to create a statutory code of practice which will govern the relationship between pub owning companies and their tied tenants and introduce an independent adjudicator to monitor compliance and adjudicate disputes.