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The OFT has opened a formal investigation under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 into alleged anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices involving entities in the property sales and lettings sector. The investigation relates to the advertising of fee rates in media entities and the approach to each other's customers. The OFT has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a Statement of Objections to any of the parties under investigation and estimates that it will take a decision on the next phase of the investigation during April 2014.
The European Commission has decided to initiate a Phase II merger investigation into the acquisition by Telefónica Deutschland of E-Plus, following concerns that the transaction may reduce competition in the markets for retail mobile telephony and for wholesale access and call origination in Germany. The parties are two of only four mobile network operators in Germany.
The ECJ has dismissed appeals by Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Toshiba Corp. against the General Court judgments in actions brought against a European Commission decision that imposed fines on eleven groups of companies for infringing Article 101(1) TFEU by participating in the gas insulated switchgear cartel. The ECJ rejected claims that the General Court had erred in determining the duration of Siemens' participation in the cartel and in the calculation of the fine imposed on it. The ECJ also dismissed claims by Mitsubishi and Toshiba that the General Court had wrongly upheld the Commission's findings that they participated in the infringement and that their rights of defence had been breached.
Following the initiation of a phase II investigation in October 2013, the European Commission has decided to reject a request by the German competition authority that the review of the proposed acquisition by Holcim of Cemex West be referred to it under Article 9(2)(a) of the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concluded that the geographic scope of the affected cement markets is wider than national and, as such, the conditions for making a reference under Article 9(2)(a) are not satisfied.
The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 was published on 19 December 2013. It contains provisions which afford the Financial Conduct Authority concurrent competition powers under Part 1 of the Competition Act 1998 and Part 4 of the Enterprise Act 2002 in relation to the financial sector. It also gives the Prudential Regulation Authority a secondary competition objective which requires it to facilitate effective competition when discharging its general functions in the markets for services provided by PRA-authorised persons.
For more information please contact Paul Stone, Partner
T: +44 (0)20 7203 5110