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Austria: Merger control turnover rules

Premium - 01 December 1997

The Austrian Cartel Court’s decision to interpret the turnover calculation rules of Austrian merger control somewhat restrictively is very welcome news for all companies engaging in mergers and acquisitions. The court’s interpretation, albeit as yet unconfirmed by the Austrian Supreme Court, will go some way towards making the inclusion of turnover for the purpose of merger control, which is almost open-ended according to the letter of the law, more manageable. In effect, as long as there are no spillover effects to other partners of a joint venture concerned, the decision would seem to exclude the turnover of joint venture partners (and not of the joint venture as such).

Canada: User fees introduced

Premium - 01 December 1997

The Competition Bureau recently began charging user fees for, among other things, merger filings.

Denmark: Group exemptions under new Act

Premium - 01 December 1997

The Danish competition authority is in the process of issuing group exemptions and has published a draft group exemption for business chains within the daily consumer goods area.

European-wide impact of TV soccer rights

Premium - 01 December 1997

The UK’s first test case on collective sale of exclusive rights by a major sports association has been scheduled to begin in January 1999 in the Restrictive Practices Court. BSkyB currently has exclusive live rights over Premier League football games in the UK, but Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman is challenging the deal on the grounds of public interest. 'This is a key case for competition in the broadcasting market, where rapid developments in technology are taking place,' he said.

European Union: More cooperation

Premium - 01 December 1997

It remains to be seen whether a significant caseload is transferred by the Commission to national authorities following the adoption of this Notice. If this does result in a considerable reallocation of cases, there will inevitably be increased pressure on the resources of national competition authorities. Of particular interest in this context is that the UK Competition Bill is due to implement an EU-style competition regime in the UK in 1998. In conjunction with this, the Bill contains specific provisions authorising the Director General of Fair Trading to obtain a warrant to enter premises by force when undertaking an investigation at the request of the European Commission in connection with an Article 85 or 86 investigation which has been commenced at the EU level.

Exchanging benchmarking in competitively sensitive areas

Premium - 01 December 1997

Firms that swap internal data may be caught by antitrust regulations. Stephen M Axinn and Carter H Strickland Jr of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, New York, consider how to assess the risks

Microsoft limbers up for battle

Premium - 01 December 1997

Brussels cleared the way for Microsoft’s run-in with the US Department of Justice when it closed an important case against the software giant at the end of November.

United States: Resale price maintenance

Premium - 01 December 1997

In Khan, the Supreme Court received briefs supporting the rule of reason approach from a wide variety of sources, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, automakers, beer distributors and newspaper publishers. In contrast, a group of approximately 30 state attorneys-general opposed the overruling of the per se rule enunciated in Albrecht. In finding for State Oil, the Court implicitly rejected the argument of the Attorneys General that maximum price fixing 'displaces the free play of market forces'.

Positive outlook on Mexican trade

Premium - 01 December 1997

Latin American ministers, lawyers and politicians met in London last month to discuss the progress of trade in the Americas, and in particular the progress of NAFTA and the future of FTAA.

India: Airport development

Premium - 01 December 1997

The new airport policy allows flexibility in ownership and management at airports and has paved the way for private airports in India.