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Focus Antitrust

14 January 2015

In The News

Food cans supplier merger may be referred for phase 2 merger investigation

The CMA has found that Sonoco Products Company’s acquisition of Weidenhammer Packaging Group GmbH gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition and will be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation unless acceptable undertakings are offered. Sonoco and Weidenhammer both manufacture and supply composite cans for food products and the CMA found that the merged company will be the largest manufacturer and supplier of this type of can in the UK. Click here.

CMA confirms lubricants phase 2 merger investigation

The CMA has referred Reckitt Benckiser’s anticipated acquisition of the K-Y brand for an in-depth phase 2 investigation. In December the CMA announced that it would refer the merger for a full investigation unless the parties offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA’s competition concerns around the supply of personal lubricants to grocery retailers and national retail pharmacy chains in the UK. Although Reckitt Benckiser offered undertaking, the CMA was not confident that these would resolve the concerns in a clear-cut manner. Click here.


  • The Competition Appeal Tribunal has dismissed applications for review brought by Eurotunnel and the Société Coopérative de Production Sea France S.A. against the CMA’s decision in relation to the completed acquisition by Eurotunnel of certain assets of the former SeaFrance. The CMA’s decision confirmed that it had jurisdiction to review the merger, following remittal of this issue to the CMA as a result an earlier judgment by the CAT in relation to the Competition Commission’s original decision on the merger. The CAT concluded that there was no basis for challenging the CMA’s decision that the SeaFrance assets acquired constituted an “enterprise” and, therefore, that the relevant jurisdictional test was met. Click here.
  • The CMA has decided to consider in detail whether to accept an undertaking offered by Motor Fuel Limited (MFL) instead of carrying out an in-depth phase 2 merger investigation. In December, the CMA announced that MFL’s completed acquisition of 228 petrol stations and other assets from Murco might be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the retail supply of road fuels in the Hythe area in Kent. MFL’s undertaking involves the divestment of the Murco petrol station site in Hythe. Click here.
  • The CMA is consulting on a draft order setting out how changes resulting from its investigation into private motor insurance will be introduced. These changes involve a prohibition on agreements between price comparison websites and insurers which prevent insurers from making their products available more cheaply on other online platforms and measures to ensure there is better information for consumers on the costs and benefits of no-claims bonus protection. Click here. 
  • Ofcom has published a further update as part of its Competition Act investigation into the sale of live UK audio-visual media rights to Premier League matches. The update indicates that Ofcom held a state of play meeting with the Premier League in the week commencing 15 December 2014 and met with the complainant, Virgin, and with interested parties BT Group plc and Sky Plc in the week commencing 5 January 2015. Ofcom expect to publish a further update in March 2015. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published an update as part of its Competition Act investigation into the complaint from TNT Post UK Limited in relation to the prices, terms and conditions on which Royal Mail Group Limited is offering to provide access to certain letter delivery services. The update indicates that the investigation is ongoing and that Ofcom is aiming to reach a provisional decision in Spring 2015. Click here.

For more information please contact Paul Stone.