Franchising:Australia proposes mandatory franchising code

Premium 01 June 1998

The process surrounding the promulgation of the draft Code also is troubling: the original public comment period was only two weeks. Nevertheless, the International Franchise Association and other interested parties submitted critical comments, and the Ministry has now agreed to redraft the proposed Code. However, the revision will not be published for additional comments and is likely to be enacted into law later this year.

Australia: ACCC changes tack

Premium 01 June 1998

National Foods Limited appears to have convinced the ACCC to provide clearance to its proposed acquisition of Pauls Limited without the need for it to make its usual market enquiries. In accepting a courtenforceable divestiture undertaking from National Foods to address its competition concerns, the ACCC relied on its understanding of the dairy industry. It will be interesting to see whether this case will pave the way for other proposed mergers to proceed with a similar level of cooperation from the ACCC.

France: Independent Broadcast Authority to get antitrust powers?

Premium 01 June 1998

Under the new law, the CSA may well only be able to oppose a merger or acquisition on the grounds that such would adversely affect the plurality and freedom of information, but not in respect of general competition matters. The Communication blurs the distinction between plurality/freedom of information on the one hand and competition on the other. By failing to allocate competence clearly in relation to competition matters, this draft law succeeds merely in perpetuating the confusion in relation to division of competence between the CSA and Minister of the Economy.

Cola wars

Premium 01 June 1998

PepsiCo Inc, the maker of Pepsi-Cola, has filed its first antitrust lawsuit against Coca- Cola Co in the US District Court in New York, accusing its larger rival of using its market power to keep Pepsi out of restaurants and fast food outlets in the United States.

CIBC/ Dominion

Premium 01 June 1998

Just three months after Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal unveiled their merger deal (see GCR Feb/Mar 1998), Canada’s largest bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, announced plans to merge with the fifth-largest, Toronto-Dominion Bank, which would result in the creation of the ninth-largest bank in North America.

Spain: Changes to Draft Competition Bill

Premium 01 June 1998

The draft bill on competition law is being revisited by the government. It appears that the government is backtracking on its initial proposals. The new proposals, which would maintain the TDC’s current independent status, are more in line with the trend at EU level to reinforce the independence of the competition authorities.

BTR/ Owens-Illinois

Premium 01 June 1998

The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of the UK’s BTR Packaging by Owens-Illinois Inc of the US after the companies agreed to shed all the glasscontainer business carried out by BTR Packaging, a unit of BTR plc, through its subsidiary, Rockware Group, at its four plants.

Lockheed/ Northrop

Premium 01 June 1998

A September court date has been set for the Department of Justice’s attempt to block the US$8.3 billion takeover of Northrop Grumman Corp by Lockheed Martin Corp - despite warnings from Northrop that the delay could kill the deal.

Ireland: Prohibition of takeover by state forestry company

Premium 01 June 1998

The Authority’s report is an interesting example of the divergences of view which can exist between regulators dealing with the same case. It has to be said that the minority report appears to give a more considered view of the potential effects of the merger per se than the report of the majority. If the Authority had been allowed more time to analyse the complex issues which arose in the case, it might have been possible for the differences of opinion between the Authority members to have been resolved. In any event, the Minister’s decision to prohibit the merger has dealt a major blow to Coillte’s strategic development which, ironically, was entirely consistent with the government’s strategy for the forestry sector in Ireland

Commercial Union/General Accident

Premium 01 May 1998

In the face of increasing global competition in financial services, Commercial Union is undertaking a £14.1 billion (US$23 billion) merger with General Accident, creating one of Europe’s largest insurance and asset management groups, with a significant presence in the US, Canada and Europe.