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Colombia: The new Superintendency of Industry and Commerce

Premium - 01 December 2000

By issuing the new decrees, the Government has demonstrated its commitment to making competition policy part of its overall economic strategy.

Netherlands: Controller of cross-border electricity network abused dominant position

Premium - 01 December 2000

SEP has been in long-term control of the only Dutch electricity network with cross-border connections, thus controlling the transmission of electricity from abroad. When SEP made its offer to Hydro of transmission services conditional, the Norwegian company filed a complaint with the Competition Authority. In its analysis, the Competition Authority scrutinised the relationship between the competition rules and the Electricity Act. It found that SEP had commited a serious abuse and subsequently imposed a fine.

France: Pricing policy in the pharmaceutical sector

Premium - 01 December 2000

With the application of the test of perfect substitutability to the definition of the market for pharmaceutical products, manufacturers owning patents which confer a monopoly may find themselves in a position of automatic dominance. They should therefore be particularly vigilant when implementing their commercial strategy and, in particular, their pricing policy.

USA: FTC and DoJ's joint collaboration guidelines/Microsoft/Intel 'conspiracy'

Premium - 01 December 2000

Commenting on Judge Jackson’s findings of fact in the government’s monopolisation case, the general counsel of Microsoft stated that the findings represented 'only one step in an ongoing legal process that has many steps remaining'. William H Neukom went on to note his company’s belief that 'the American legal system will ultimately affirm Microsoft’s position, and conclude that Microsoft’s innovations have brought tremendous benefits to millions of people'.

Skandia, Storebrand and Pohjola

Premium - 01 December 2000

A three-way merger between a Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish insurance company is to create the largest non-life insurance company in the Nordic market. Skandia of Sweden and Storebrand of Norway are merging in February 2000, and Pohjola is due to join the group in June. The merged group will have around 20 per cent of the Nordic insurance market, but the European Commission believes the deal will have only minor effects on competition.

Allen & Overy merger

Premium - 01 December 2000

The Allen & Overy competition practice is to gain at least 10 lawyers as the firm merges with the international practice of 500- lawyer Loeff Claeys Verbeke. Tom Ottervanger, head of the Loeff Claeys Brussels team, and two of his associates will join the firm in Brussels, while in Amsterdam a team of lawyers led by Paul Glazener will add considerable weight to Allen & Overy’s Netherlands practice.

Fiesole: under the Tuscan sun

Premium - 01 December 2000

The IBA’s annual competition conference in Fiesole in the hills above Florence once again proved the indispensible autumn date for antitrust practitioners. Sebastian O’Meara sampled the lively discussion on offer - and some of the finest food to be found on the entire conference circuit.

Switzerland: Competition Commission renders first decision on a spare-part market

Premium - 01 December 2000

In an important case dealing with the camera spare-part market, the Swiss Competition Commission did not prohibit Minolta’s refusal to supply independent photo camera repair companies. In its rationale the Swiss Competition Commission took into consideration in particular that the market for cameras is highly competitive and that customers could switch to another make if spare-part prices were increased too sharply.

AMFM bought by Clear Channel Communications

Premium - 01 December 2000

The two largest operators of radio stations in America, Clear Channel Communications and AMFM, are to merge in a deal valued at US$17.4 billion. The merged entity will be the clear market leader with control over 8,300 radio stations across the United States. The deal is subject to approval by the FCC and it is expected that the two operators will divest 125 stations in order to gain approval for the transaction.

Belgium:Notification of a merger on the basis of a ‘draft agreement

Premium - 01 December 2000

Although a 'meeting of minds' within the meaning of Belgian contract law is unlikely to be required, 'draft agreement' should probably be understood as a document which at least includes a certain level of understanding between the parties, ie a document which shows a common approach to the terms of a possible final agreement and the structure of the transaction. In other words, a document, however it is entitled, which is already reasonably elaborated and drafted at a relatively advanced stage of the negotiations. Regarding the declaration requirement, it is to be hoped that the Competition Council will restrict its scope to ancillary restrictions.