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 20 May 2014, the UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), provisionally reaffirmed the view of its predecessor the Competition Commission (CC) and upheld a ban on Eurotunnel, the channel tunnel operator, from continuing to operate a ferry service between Dover and Calais. The provisional decision is significant as it demonstrates that the UK regulator will continue (in their view) to vigorously enforce competitive markets, even if that enforcement amounts to a ban on access to market –Read More–

On 20 May 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced a Market Study which will look into the provision of higher education in England and what steps, if any, could be taken to improve competition and regulation in the sector. Three months earlier, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had published a report on competition in the higher education sector. In that earlier report the OFT recommended that the CMA work with interested parties to obtain their views on –Read More–

The new EU Directive on Freezing and Confiscation of Instrumentalities and Proceeds of Crime in the EU came into force this week. The key aim of the directive is to create a common set of minimum rules for the detection, tracing and confiscation of proceeds of crime across the EU. The measure has to be implemented into the national law of Participating EU Member States (e.g. EU except UK & Denmark) by 4 October 2016. Background According to UN estimates, –Read More–

On 19 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) announced that it had launched an investigation into online travel agencies Booking.com BV and Expedia Inc regarding their contracts with hotels and whether these contracts had violated competition laws. This investigation follows a formal agreement between the UK competition regulator and the same two companies in January where the companies agreed to commitments regarding discount rates for hotel rooms. If the ICA investigation follows a similar reasoning to the UK investigation, –Read More–

In the one of the first rulings of its kind since real estate agreements became subject to the full scrutiny of UK competition law in 2011, the Central London County Court has held that a use restriction in a lease infringed the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and did not meet the criteria for exemption under Article 9(1) of the Competition Act. This ruling could have widespread potential implications for commercial landlords and the real estate industry –Read More–

A leading running shoe manufacturer has been given until 10 June 2014 to respond to German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concerns that its ban of online marketplace sales within its selective distribution system may be anti-competitive. The FCO has taken exception with the manufacturer’s apparent complete ban on authorised dealers using online market places such as Amazon and Ebay as well as from supporting price comparison sites. The FCO believe such a ban goes beyond the legitimate remit of a selective distribution in protecting brand –Read More–