News

France: Multi-merger notification form

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The new common form may give rise (perhaps unintentionally) to an increase in pre-notifications and possibly full notification in France. It will also formalise the pre-notification contact with the DGCCRF.

United Kingdom: Common merger application form

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As an attempt to simplify procedures, the move to a uniformly recognised questionnaire should be welcomed. As a practical matter, however, the benefits of the new system are limited. The new form reflects the difficulties involved in achieving effective simplification.

Sweden: Posten AB v Competition Authority

Premium 01 December 1997

The Swedish court has examined the burden of proof on the Competition Authority in predatory pricing cases. It found that where the alleged infringer had utilised generally accepted accounting principles, answered the Authority’s questions and not concealed information, the burden of proof was on the Authority to prove that the alleged infringer had abused its dominant position.

India: Airport development

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

Belgium: Conditional clearance

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The previous case law of the Council suggested that it had adopted the EU Commission’s approach that undertakings could be accepted in both stage I and stage II decisions. (The amended EU merger regulation, which comes into effect on 1 March 1998, incorporates a new provision confirming that the EU Commission may make stage I (and stage II) clearance decisions conditional on undertakings.)

Reed Elsevier/ Wolters Kluwer

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Anglo-Dutch publishing company Reed Elsevier last month agreed a £20 billion merger with Amsterdam-based publishing company Wolters Kluwer.

ITT/ Starwood Lodging

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Starwood Lodging, the largest hotel real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire ITT Corporation, owner of the Sheraton hotel chain, on 20 October.

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.

Finland: Customers illegally tied

Premium 01 December 1997

In its decision to increase the fine proposed by the Office of Free Competition from Fmk3 million to Fmk5 million in a case relating to abuse of a dominant market position, the Competition Council mentioned as an aggravating factor the fact that the form of abuse concerned was both generally condemned and also prohibited under EC Competition Law.

Canada: User fees introduced

Premium 01 December 1997

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