parliment flags

On 28 May 2014, the European Commission conditionally approved the acquisition of Telefonica (which operates under the “O2” brand) by Hutchinson 3G Ireland (which operates under the “3” brand). The merger is of note not only because the Commission has allowed the reduction of major competitors on the Irish market from four to three but also due to the way the effect of the merger was assessed. The Commission (and the national Irish telecoms regulator who allegedly does not support –Read More–

On 22 April 2014, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline announced a deal that appears to differ from other large pharmaceutical deals in the offing. Instead of a takeover of the entire business of one of the parties and a model in which a pharma company tries to do it all, each party will acquire assets that strengthen its core area business while disposing of assets outside its core area. The deal would see GSK sell its portfolio of cancer drugs (and opt-in –Read More–

Following the CMA taking up its role as the new UK super competition regulator on 1st April, it has exercised its enhanced hold-separate powers for one of the first times. On 7 April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) made an initial enforcement order under section 72 of the Enterprise Act 2002 against Eden (GM) Limited and Eden Automotive Investments Limited in relation to the completed acquisition by Eden (GM) Limited of two car dealerships from Riders Garages Limited. –Read More–

The Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) has published new merger control thresholds. Section 16 (1) of Law No. 287 of 1990 provides for the prior notification of all mergers and acquisitions in Italy which fall within certain thresholds. As of 10th March 2014, a concentration will need to be notified to the ICA when it meets the new, higher, cumulative conditions below: (i) The aggregate turnover in Italy of all undertakings involved exceeds € 489 million (instead of the previous € –Read More–

Late last year, the EU Commission announced it had opened an in-depth investigation into the €8-billion merger between the German arm of Telefonica, the Spanish telecoms giant and owner of the O2 network in the UK, and E-Plus, a German network. Telefonica in Germany and E-Plus together represent two of the four major mobile telecoms providers in Germany. Their proposed merger has raised competitive concerns in Germany where mobile prices are already high in comparison to other EU Member States. –Read More–

On 25 February 2014, the EU Commission announced that it had sent a Statement of Objections (“SO”) to two businesses for allegedly providing the Commission with misleading market shares and an incorrect assessment of the total market. The companies, Ahlstrom Corporation and Munksjo Oyj of Norway and Munksjo AB of Sweden, notified a merger to the Commission for the transfer of their respective label and processing business for sandpaper and other abrasive papers to a new entity, Munksjo Oyj in –Read More–

On 11th December 2013 the General Court dismissed Cisco Systems’ appeal against a Commission decision of October 2011 to clear the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft (case T-79/12). The judgement confirms the Commission’s assessment of new markets and technologies under the EU Merger Regulation. The Court concluded that the Commission’s decision to clear the transaction did not put the development of innovative products and services at risk and therefore the Commission was correct that the merger would not significantly impede –Read More–