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parliment flags

On 4 December 2013 the EU Commission fined eight international banks for participation in cartels in Euro interest rate derivatives and Yen interest rate derivatives. This is another chapter in the LIBOR fixing scandal that has rocked the financial world and led to the worldwide exposure of wrongdoing by bank executives. Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Societe Generale, RBS, Credit Agricole, JP Morgan and HSBC were fined for exchanging information in their submissions in the EURIBOR between September 2005 and May 2008 –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–

On 17 January 2014, the Labour party, the main UK opposition to the coalition government, promised that it would create two large new banks to challenge the existing order in the UK banking market if elected in 2015. The two new retail banks would be formed by forced divestitures of some branches of the existing banks such as Lloyds, RBS and HSBC. The Labour party believe the break up of the existing structure and new entrants would stimulate competition for –Read More–

The European Commission has published revised financial thresholds relating to the application of the procedures for the advertising and award of contracts under the EU Public Procurement Directives (Directive 2004/17 (Utilities), Directive 2004/18 (Public Sector Contracts) and Directive 2009/81 (Defence and Security Contracts)). The new thresholds apply from 1 January 2014. These thresholds are revised every two years to ensure that they remain consistent with those that are used for the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and these requirements are incorporated –Read More–

On 16 January 2014, the UK Competition Commission (the “CC”) outlined its proposed measures to increase competition in the £4 billion UK private healthcare industry. The measures are the result of a referral of the industry from the UK Office of Fair Trading for investigation. The measures give teeth to a CC report published in August last year that found little competition in local areas across the UK and high barriers to entry in private healthcare. The CC believe many –Read More–

The UK High Court has sent a strong signal to businesses in a dominant position that it is willing to grant interim injunctions to protect businesses who accuse others of abusing their dominance when the latter refuse to supply them services. The case of Dahabshiil Transfer Services Ltd v Barclays Bank plc and Harada Ltd and another v Barclays Bank plc [2013] EWHC 3379 (Ch) was heard before the English High Court on the 5 November 2013. Although businesses are –Read More–

A reminder to our readers that the new Competition and Markets Authority is set to become fully operational and fulfil its role as the sole UK competition law regulator on 1 April 2014. On 1 April, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERR Act 2013) will transfer the functions of the Competition Commission (CC) and many of the functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the new UK competition authority called the CMA. The ERR Act 2013 –Read More–

The Competition Commission (CC) has published its provisional report into the supply and acquisition of car insurance in the UK. Whilst the full report is not expected until September this year, the provisional findings make illuminating reading for consumers and businesses who acquire motor insurance. Significantly, the provisional report finds that certain deficiencies in the market could be linked to higher premiums. Mentioned in the report are the sale of extra services added on to base premiums and, perhaps more –Read More–

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