News

Zurich/BAT

Premium 01 March 1998

London-based BAT Industries plc announced its proposed merger with Zurich Investment Company in October last year to form Zurich Financial Services group (ZF group).

Bank of Montreal/Royal Bank of Canada

Premium 01 March 1998

Canada is about to witness the largest merger in its history, as its largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, prepares to merge with Bank of Montreal.

Slovak Republic: Broad scope of merger control

Premium 01 February 1998

In the corporate acquisition context, two key merger control issues which must be carefully reviewed to determine whether Slovak anti-competition law is applicable are whether the acquisition of a minority interest is relevant and how turnover is calculated. While the Slovakian Act on Unfair Competition is unclear on both of these points, the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office takes the view that merger control can apply even where only a minority interest is required if a sufficient control element exists. The Slovak Anti- Monopoly Office further takes the view that the worldwide turnover of the participants is the relevant basis for calculation. Both these factors mean a broad applicability of Slovak merger control law and underline the importance of contacting the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office at an early stage.

Shell/ BASF

Premium 01 February 1998

This joint polyethelene venture between Shell and BASF was timely in the run-up to the European Commission’s new merger guidelines, which replace the concentrative/ cooperative distinction with ‘full-function’ joint ventures.

Netherlands: Competition Act exemptions

Premium 01 February 1998

The Dutch Competition Act exempts from the provisions of Article 6 principally agreements which comply with the conditions of an EC group exemption (such as those covering exclusive distribution, exclusive purchasing, franchise and licence agreements).

Japan: Bid-rigging conspiracy

Premium 01 February 1998

Since making a commitment in 1990 to the criminal prosecution of bid-rigging (dango), price cartels and other conspiracies, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission have referred a total of four companies, and the individual company employees suspected of organising the conspiracy, to the prosecuting authorities . The most recent case, decided by the Tokyo High Court in December 1997, confirms that prison sentences of approximately six month to a year for individuals found guilty are typical.

Italy: Communications Authority opens for business

Premium 01 February 1998

The establishment of the Communications Authority and the Communications Law, along with the adoption of a law setting out the criteria for granting authorisations and licences, should fill an important regulatory gap that has existed in the sector. The changes aim to create a level playing-field on which all telecommunications service providers will be able to compete.

Zurich/ BAT

Premium 01 February 1998

London-based BAT Industries plc announced its proposed merger with Zurich Investment Company in October last year to form Zurich Financial Services group (ZF group). With assets totalling around $40 billion, the deal is set to create one of the world’s largest financial services companies.

Bank of Montreal/ Royal Bank of Canada

Premium 01 February 1998

Canada is about to witness the largest merger in its history, as its largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, prepares to merge with Bank of Montreal. In capital market terms, the merged entity will form the 22nd largest bank in the world, and the 10th largest in North America. With total assets of $453 billion, it will rank second in dollar terms in North America.

Australia: Pay TV in state of flux

Premium 01 February 1998

Pay TV in Australia has faltered at a number of hurdles which have been erected by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its determination to ensure that there are three main competitors in Australia, despite the apparent inevitability that one or more of the three will fail.