News

Akzo/Courtaulds

Premium 01 September 1998

The European Commission has decided to clear the acquisition of the British firm Courtaulds plc by Akzo Nobel NV of the Netherlands, subject to commitments by the two firms to divest their interests in aerospace coatings and sealants, thus eliminating any overlap in these markets.

Universal/Polygram

Premium 01 September 1998

The plans of Seagram’s president and CEO to turn the venerable drinks company into an entertainment colossus continue with the announcement that Seagram’s Universal Studios arm is spending US$10.6 billion to acquire PolyGram NV – creating the world’s largest music company.

Germany: Revised Competition Act passed

Premium 01 August 1998

The two main goals of the reform of the ARC, which has been publicly debated for over two years, were the simplification of its complicated rules and harmonisation with EU competition law. Some of the new rules will certainly make life easier for competition lawyers and regulators as a number of provisions, in particular in respect of merger control, become simpler and clearer. Also, the new domestic turnover threshold (Dm50 million) and revised de minimis exemptions will remove the requirement formally to notify a significant number of mergers (especially foreign mergers) which have no impact on competition in Germany. However, it is doubtful whether the second goal of the reform, ie the harmonisation of German competition law with European standards, can in fact be achieved, as a number of conceptual peculiarities of German competition law, such as the treatment of vertical restraints, the remaining exemption from the cartel prohibition and the comprehensive list of events constituting a merger for merger control purposes remain in place.

Denmark: Flaws in notification timetable

Premium 01 August 1998

The transition period under the Competition Act for the notification of agreements entered into before 1998 expired on June 30 1998.

Akzo/ Courtaulds

Premium 01 August 1998

The European Commission has decided to clear the acquisition of the British firm Courtaulds plc by Akzo Nobel NV of the Netherlands, subject to commitments by the two firms to divest their interests in aerospace coatings and sealants, thus eliminating any overlap in these markets.

Belgium: Notification following the announcement of a public bid

Premium 01 August 1998

It would seem that the notification of a concentration must be filed within one week of (i) the official announcement of the public bid by the Finance and Banking Commission in the case of public bids made in Belgium or (ii) the publication in the press in the case of public bids made abroad. This can lead to differences with regard to the time when the notification must be lodged.

Air France

Premium 01 August 1998

Air France has lost out in a European court battle with some of its competitors, who claimed that the Commission had failed to justify its 1994 approval of Fr20 billion in state aid to the beleaguered national carrier.

Snecma/Messier Dowty

Premium 01 August 1998

The European Commission has authorised the takeover by the French stateowned company Snecma, specialised in jet engines, of Messier Dowty, which was jointly controlled with the UK company IT Group.

Universal/ Polygram

Premium 01 August 1998

The plans of Seagram’s president and CEO to turn the venerable drinks company into an entertainment colossus continue with the announcement that Seagram’s Universal Studios arm is spending US$10.6 billion to acquire PolyGram NV - creating the world’s largest music company.

Norway: Competition authority proposes revision of 1993 Act

Premium 01 August 1998

The findings of the expert group recommending a new 'incentiveoriented competition analyses' has prompted the Norwegian Competition Authority to propose that work on revision of the Norwegian Competition Act of 1993 begin. The new method is thought to be more effective in identifying areas where there might be insufficient competition and a better tool for assessing competition policy measures. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to convince the government of the need to initiate revision. There are, however, other reasons for such revision such as bringing the Norwegian Competition law further into harmony with EEC/EEA competition law and enabling the Norwegian Competition Authority to enforce EEC/EEA as well as Norwegian competition law.