News

RWE's spending spree reaches US

Premium 05 October 2001

Germany’s second largest utility company, RWE, is transforming itself into an international multi-utility supplying electricity, gas and water, and it has just announced yet another foreign purchase. This time the versatile company has agreed a US$4.6-billion cash bid and US$3-billion debt assumption for American Water Works, the largest water provider in the United States.

Chilean airline probe draws a blank

Premium 05 October 2001

On September 26 the Chilean Antitrust Commission took an important step in its investigation of the Chilean airline market, lifting an injunction that has prevented LanChile, a Chilean airline, from undertaking essential restructuring. The move signals that the investigation is all but over.

European Court ruling gives franchisees 'bargaining chip'

Premium 05 October 2001

The European Court of Justice has recently delivered a ruling with "far reaching implications" for a host of industries including brewing, auto retailing and manufacturing — in fact any sector that regularly requires exclusivity or restrictive behaviour from distributors. From now on, some lawyers say, companies will have to think twice before insisting on restrictive provisions in contracts.

Deutsche Telekom/Liberty Media sign after meeting with German regulator

Premium 05 October 2001

Europe’s largest communications company, Deutsche Telekom, has agreed to sell majority stakes in six regional cable TV companies to a partnership centred on US media investor group Liberty Media.

Another litigator joins the FTC

Premium 05 October 2001

Michael Cowie, a former antitrust and commercial litigation partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & White in Washington DC, is the latest recruit to the new-look FTC. He joins as Senior Litigation Counsel.

Nera's Italian job

Premium 05 October 2001

The National Economic Research Associates Ltd (Nera) has announced that it is to open its first office in Italy.

First 100 per cent cartel immunity decision soon - it's unofficial!

Premium 05 October 2001

A senior EC competition official has temporarily silenced critics of the EU leniency programme by offering the following tantalising promise: expect to see the first granting of full leniency shortly - perhaps by the end of the year. Such an offer would do much to allay the misgivings of those who consider the programme a failure because it never delivers 100 per cent immunity.

Germany: Amendments to German merger control following switch to euro

Premium 01 October 2001

The changeover to the euro will mean a slight reduction in the thresholds for pre-merger notification, which were last lowered by the Sixth amendment of the ARC in 1999 from Dm2 billion (combined worldwide turnover) to Dm1 billion. Together with the effect of inflation, the new euro thresholds are expected to further increase the number of transactions which have to be notified and the overall workload of the Federal Cartel Office.

e-Commerce: P2P: the next step in the evolution of electronic commerce

Premium 01 October 2001

P2P - or peer-to-peer - commerce is the next step in the evolution of the internet as a commercial tool. The antitrust analysis of P2Ps follows closely the analysis of B2Bs. The principal difference is a greater need for participant education.

Australia: Global dimension an aggravating factor in anti-competitive conduct

Premium 01 October 2001

Key recent enforcement action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission indicates its willingness to pursue anti-competitive conduct whether it was engaged in as part of a global agreement or which has an impact on a remote rural area within Australia.