News

MCI/ WorldCom cleared

Premium 01 August 1998

The European Commission recently cleared the US$37 billion merger between MCI Communications and WorldCom, followed a few days later by the US Department of Justice. Both decisions specify that the companies must divest MCI’s Internet assets to an approved buyer, the idea being to ensure the buyer provides effective competition to the merged company. Britain’s Cable and Wireless plc agreed to buy both MCI’s wholesale Internet assets and, more recently, the retail side of the business.

Brussels tackles broadcasting

Premium 01 July 1998

EU Competition Commissioner Karel van Miert has had two important broadcasting cases on his agenda that are seen as critical to the future of digital television in Europe: British Interactive Broadcasting, a joint venture of British Sky Broadcasting and British Telecom in home shopping and banking, and in Germany the proposed digital TV alliance between erstwhile rivals Kirch Gruppe and Bertelsmann AG alongside Deutsche Telekom, whose cable network is to carry the service.

CIBC/Dominion

Premium 01 July 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.

BTR/Owens-Illinois

Premium 01 July 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 glass-container business carried out by BTR Packaging, a unit of BTR plc, through its subsidiary, Rockware Group, at its four plants.

Cola wars

Premium 01 July 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.

Lockheed/Northrop

Premium 01 July 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.

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.

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.

EU: Collective Dominance and the EC Merger Regulation

Premium 01 June 1998

Despite the evidential difficulties involved, the ECJ’s acceptance that the concept of collective dominance applies in Merger Regulation cases is an important step in ensuring the preservation of competition in highlyconcentrated markets. It is clear from the judgment that the evidential burden on the Commission to prove that a collective dominant position exists is high and the ECJ will not be easily satisfied that a situation of collective dominance has been proved by the Commission to exist.

United States: FTC resolves Intel concerns

Premium 01 June 1998

The FTC settlement in the Intel/Digital matter continues the US antitrust enforcement agencies’ activist stance in the area of intellectual property rights. The agencies will closely examine the transfer of such rights between significant competitors, particularly where the transfer results from an out-of-court resolution of intellectual property litigation. As a result, parties should structure such arrangements so as to ensure that they do not unreasonably restrict opportunities and incentives for product and technological innovation.