News

Portuguese government sued over Banco Santander

Premium 01 October 1999

The European Commission has launched a second challenge to Portugal’s opposition to the merger between Spanish bank Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) and Portugal’s Champalimaud group.

BAT/ Imasco

Premium 01 October 1999

British American Tobacco is to buy the remaining 58 per cent of Canadian consumer products group Imasco it does not already own and will sell off all the group’s subsidiaries apart from the tobacco arm, Imperial Tobacco.

BAT/ Imasco

Premium 01 October 1999

British American Tobacco is to buy the remaining 58 per cent of Canadian consumer products group Imasco it does not already own and will sell off all the group's subsidiaries apart from the tobacco arm, Imperial Tobacco.

Maersk/ SeaLand

Premium 01 October 1999

One of the world’s largest shipping groups is to be created as AP Møller- Mærsk acquires the international liner business of Sea-Land Service Inc for an estimated US$800 million.

Belgium: Competition law reform - update

Premium 01 October 1999

The raising of the notification thresholds is a very welcome measure, even though there is a feeling that they are still too low to relieve business of unnecessary administrative burdens. On the other hand, the possible introduction of a simplified notification form for transactions where no 25 per cent market shares will be held will most certainly be much appreciated by business and practitioners.

Canada: Competition rules suspended as Canada’s airline industry restructures

Premium 01 October 1999

In an unprecedented move, the Canadian Government has issued an Order suspending the application of the Competition Act to enable Canada’s two national carriers to discuss and make proposals regarding the future structure of the industry. Long-awaited changes to the pre-merger notification rules which will double no-close waiting periods are expected to be implemented in October.

Denmark: Non-compete clauses in transfers of business

Premium 01 October 1999

The duration of delivery contracts for natural gas must be shortened from 20 years to 10 years.

Finland: Conditions imposed in IT takeover

Premium 01 October 1999

The Finnish Competition Authority cleared the concentration of two IT service providers on condition, among other things, that the acquirer divests the Finnish subsidiary of the target and that the leading Finnish telecommunications operator halves its minority ownership in the acquirer and the number of seats that it has on the Board of Directors of the acquirer.

France: Regulation of fixed-to-mobile call prices

Premium 01 October 1999

The ART’s action can be compared with the Vodaphone/Cellnet case, in which Oftel, with the support of the MMC, managed to impose a reduction in fixed-to-mobile call prices. Nevertheless, the ART’s action has been contested by the French operators. Although the relevant EC Directive limits national regulators’ action to controlling the prices of powerful operators, the French implementing decree extends the ART’s competence to cover excessive interconnection prices charged by all operators, irrespective of their market power.

Italy: Autorita Garante extends scope of merger control

Premium 01 October 1999

The approval of Parmalat/Cirio took almost six months instead of the normal maximum 75 days provided by the law. The proceedings entailed lengthy and difficult negotiations between the parties and resulted in dramatic changes from the original structure of the transaction. In the other case, Nutricia risks a fine of up to 1 per cent of the Italian turnover of the group in 1994 for having failed to comply with merger filing requirements at that time. These two recent cases show that antitrust issues are playing an increasingly important role in M&A deals in Italy and that it is now clearly necessary to consider formal and substantive competition issues while structuring an M&A transaction in Italy in order to avoid being faced with unexpected regulatory intervention.