Community News

Teutonic law firms cross the divide

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European merger mayhem has spread to law firms as the first German/Austrian cross-border law firm merger was announced. Leading German business firm Bruckhaus Westrick Stegemann, with 209 lawyers, and Austria’s second largest firm, Heller Löber Bahn & Partners, with 60 lawyers, will merge on 1 January 1998, creating the strongest law firm in the German-speaking area of the EU.

Germany deals blow to predatory pricing

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The German government approved plans last month to allow anonymous tip-offs to cartel authorities as part of its programme to overhaul cartel law.

Beckett approves P&O/ Stena deal

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UK trade secretary Margaret Beckett has approved the P&O/Stena Line ferry merger despite concern from European Commissioner Karel van Miert and UK Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman, who favoured complete prohibition in the public interest.

Boeing’s point man lets off steam

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Boeing’s point man in Brussels, Ivo van Bael, claimed at the IBA’s Delhi conference last month that there were no checks on the 'tremendous power' wielded by the EU in the merger field.

Positive outlook on Mexican trade

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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.

Microsoft limbers up for battle

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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.

Top Brussels boutique adds clout to White & Case

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One of the top three boutique firms in Brussels, Forrester Norall & Sutton, has linked up with US multinational firm White & Case to form a strong European trade and competition practice.

Washington unveils global task force

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US Department of Justice antitrust head Joel Klein and Attorney General Janet Reno have unveiled a pioneering task force to help tackle international antitrust problems in the 21st century.

European-wide impact of TV soccer rights

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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.

FTC appoints new General Counsel

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FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky has appointed Debra Valentine as the Commission’s first female General Counsel in its 83-year history.