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Teutonic law firms cross the divide

Premium - 01 December 1997

European merger mayhem has spread to law firms as the first German/Austrian cross-border law firm merger was announced. Leading German business firm Bruckhaus Westrick Stegemann, with 209 lawyers, and Austria’s second largest firm, Heller Löber Bahn & Partners, with 60 lawyers, will merge on 1 January 1998, creating the strongest law firm in the German-speaking area of the EU.

European-wide impact of TV soccer rights

Premium - 01 December 1997

The UK’s first test case on collective sale of exclusive rights by a major sports association has been scheduled to begin in January 1999 in the Restrictive Practices Court. BSkyB currently has exclusive live rights over Premier League football games in the UK, but Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman is challenging the deal on the grounds of public interest. 'This is a key case for competition in the broadcasting market, where rapid developments in technology are taking place,' he said.

Fiesole to go annual

Premium - 01 December 1997

The International Bar Association’s seminar on the future of merger control in Europe, held in September at the European Institute in Fiesole, was so successful that Committee C, the IBA’s section on antitrust and trade law, which organised the forum, has decided to make it an annual event.

MTV must supply information

Premium - 01 December 1997

At a preliminary hearing in the UK High Court last month, Vice Chancellor Sir Peter Scott dismissed music video company MTV Europe’s argument that they should not have to supply an alleged cartel with confidential information, which MTV alleged would in itself be contrary to Article 85.

Developments in US international competition cooperation

Premium - 01 December 1997

Nina Hachigian, an advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, believes that two recent agreements signed by the US represent a positive step towards greater international cooperation on competition. The Boeing/McDonnell Douglas merger brought to light a fact about antitrust enforcement in the modern era that competition authorities have been living with for some time. As commerce goes global, antitrust enforcement regimes will increasingly overlap and occasionally collide.

Microsoft limbers up for battle

Premium - 01 December 1997

Brussels cleared the way for Microsoft’s run-in with the US Department of Justice when it closed an important case against the software giant at the end of November.

France: Multi-merger notification form

Premium - 01 December 1997

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.

New Dutch Competition Act: Culture shock in the Netherlands

Premium - 01 December 1997

Ten years ago the Netherlands was known as the ‘cartel paradise’ of Europe; indeed there are still a disproportionate number of Dutch cases before the European Commission. But over the last decade Dutch business has been faced with a complete change of culture, which has swung from the government-condoned collusion of the 1980s to the point where Parliament has approved an Act thought by many to be the ‘most important piece of legislation this century’, and established an independent authority with real teeth - and the apparent willingness to use them. Fenella Quinn investigates how the Dutch business and legal community is coping.

Department of Justice v Microsoft

Premium - 01 December 1997

The US Department of Justice hopes to clarify some problems in the antitrust field in relation to technology when it prosecutes computer software giant Microsoft. The DoJ has filed a petition in the District of Columbia asking a judge to find the company in breach of a consent decree of 1995 requiring the company to alter the way it supplied software to personal computer manufacturers.

Merrill Lynch/ Mercury Asset Management

Premium - 01 December 1997

US investment bank Merrill Lynch is attempting to surge ahead of rival global fund managers with its proposed US$3.1 billion takeover of Mercury Asset Management.