Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Focus Antitrust - 25 January 2017

In The News
CMA issues fines of £2.8 million in furniture parts cartel

The CMA announced that two firms that make furniture parts, Thomas Armstrong (Timber) Ltd and Hoffman Thornwood Ltd, have agreed to pay fines of £2.8 million after admitting market sharing, co-ordinating prices, bid-rigging and exchanging commercially sensitive information. Click here.

CMA issues statement of objections to cleanroom laundry businesses

The CMA has issued a statement of objections to two cleanroom laundry businesses, provisionally concluding that they had a market-sharing arrangement under which they divided up customers by geographical territory and/or customer type. Click here.

European Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Amazon in e-book investigation

The European Commission is inviting comments on commitments offered by Amazon to address its concerns relating to certain parity clauses contained in contracts between Amazon and publishers. These clauses, sometimes referred to as "most-favoured-nation" or "MFN" clauses, require publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon's competitors and/or offer Amazon similar terms and conditions as to its competitors. The Commission considers that these clauses may amount to an abuse of a dominant market position by Amazon. Click here.

Articles 101 and 102
  • The European Commission has welcomed an agreement to end all exclusivity obligations concerning audiobook supply and distribution between Amazon's subsidiary Audible and Apple. The agreement between Amazon/Audible and Apple to remove these exclusivity obligations, following contacts with the Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, means that Audible is able to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third party platforms, that Apple can source audiobooks from alternative suppliers, and that publishers and content aggregators will be able to enter into distribution agreements directly with Apple. Click here.
  • The ECJ has dismissed the European Commission's appeal against a General Court judgment that upheld appeals by Total and Elf Aquitaine against the imposition of interest on the fines imposed for their involvement in the acrylic glass cartel. Click here.
  • The ECJ has dismissed an appeal by Toshiba against the European Commission's decision in relation to the cathode ray tubes cartel. Click here.
  • The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Alere by Abbott, both suppliers of clinical test systems. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Alere's Epoc and Triage tests, as well as Alere's BNP reagents business. Click here.
  • The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Morpho Detection, the threat detection equipment business of Safran of France, by Smiths of the UK. The clearance is conditional on the divestiture of Morpho Detection's explosive trace detection business. Click here.
  • The CMA has accepted final undertakings in lieu of a reference from Co-op in relation to its purchase of a My Local store in Widnes, Cheshire. Click here.
  • The CMA has decided not to investigate claims that BMW UK restricted its dealers' use of new car online comparison sites, after BMW UK decided to change its policy, in order to allow its dealers to work with carwow and similar internet-based new car portals. Click here.
Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • The CAT has refused Flynn Pharma's request for interim relief in relation to the directions given by the CMA in its decision that Flynn and Pfizer had breached the Chapter II prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 102 of the TFEU by charging unfairly high prices for phenytoin sodium capsules. The directions relate to the future pricing of the capsules. Click here.

This article was written by Paul Stone. For more information, please contact Paul on +44 (0)20 7203 5110 or at

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