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parliment flags

On 23 July 2014, the European Commission announced that it had fined Scottish salmon producer Marine Harvest €20 million for acquiring de facto control of a competitor, without the Commission’s approval. The case is of significance in affirming that minority stakes can constitute de facto control and therefore require prior clearance. Under Article 4(1) and 7(1) of the EU Merger Regulation, any merger which meets certain EU turnover thresholds (as this one did) must not be implemented until the acquisition –Read More–

Despite the geopolitical turmoil that has affected the east of the country nothing should mask the highly significant step Ukraine took on 27 June 2014 when it signed the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) sections of its controversial Association Agreement with the European Union (the Association Agreement). The political section of the Agreement was signed on 21st March earlier this year. The Association Agreement will hopefully put Ukraine on the path to eventual EU membership bringing with it –Read More–

On 9 July 2014, the EU Commission published its White Paper on the reform of the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission’s main proposal is to extend the scope of the EUMR to cover the mandatory notification of certain types of non-controlling minority shareholdings. This proposal will place a significant extra administrative burden on business and could chill business investment. Click here to read the bulletin in full.  

On 17 April 2014, the EU Parliament adopted a text of the Directive on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union (the Directive). The Directive is aimed at facilitating private enforcement of European competition law by eliminating complications that infringement victims currently face when considering compensation claims. Member States will have two years from the Directive coming into force to implement it –Read More–

On 9 July 2014, the European Commission announced that the French pharmaceutical company Servier, and five other drugmakers (Niche, Matrix, Teva, Krka and Lupin) have been fined a total of €427.7 million by the European Commission. The fines were imposed after a series of deals were concluded aimed at blocking the introduction of cheaper generic drugs (so called ‘pay for delay’ agreements). The Commission found these agreements to be anti-competitive and fined the companies under Article 101 TFEU. Concurrently, the –Read More–

On 9th July the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a call for inputs on the wholesale financial sector and related industries such as corporate banking. This call for inputs marks the first step in the FCA’s review with the possibility of a full market study if warranted to be launched early next year. This news is of significance to business in this sector as representations made now to the FCA may shape the FCA’s stance in any forthcoming market study. –Read More–

On 2 July 2014, the European Commission granted conditional approval of the German acquisition of E-Plus by Telefonica Deutschland. This merger is set to create Germany’s biggest network, reducing the number of operators from four to three, positioning Deutsche Telekom in second place and Vodafone in third. This follows approval of a similar merger in Ireland with the acquisition of Telefonica Ireland by Hutchison 3G Ireland where the number of networks were also reduced from four to three. With the –Read More–

Facing pressure from certain hotel owners and consumers, France has taken action in response to certain marketing policies and practices that on-line travel agencies (OTAs) are imposing. In June, the French Minister of Economy Arnaud de Montebourg, revealed that a lawsuit has been filed in February 2014 before the Paris Commercial Court against the OTA for alleged abusive clauses in its standard contracts with hotels. The main clause in contention was the parity clause whereby the hotel undertakes to provide the OTA with –Read More–

On 2 July 2014, the English High Court held that Mansfield District Council (MDC) had breached EU law in the award of two sub-threshold procurement contracts by failing to advertise them publicly. This ruling is a salutary reminder to contracting authorities of the importance of abiding by the general principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency and proportionality contained in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) when awarding contracts which fall below the financial thresholds in the –Read More–

On 26 June 2014, Ofgem announced that it had formally referred the UK energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a full market investigation under the Enterprise Act 2002. This announcement followed a provisional decision by Ofgem to refer the market back in March. High energy prices, poor customer service standards as well as concerns about future investment in the sector will be the focus of an 18 month Market Investigation enquiry by an independent panel of –Read More–