On 28 September 2007, the concentration of Tecteo / Brutele – Câble wallon was notified to the Belgian Competition Council. This is the first merger filing under the new Belgian Competition Act which is not subject to the simplified procedure (a fast track procedure applying to unproblematic mergers). Under the new procedure, the Competition Council had forty working days in which to make a decision. However, the clock was stopped because the Council referred three preliminary questions to the Supreme Court.
The suspension was triggered by a request from Belgacom to be heard by the Competition Council and to get access to the file. As Belgacom is active on the same markets as the notifying parties, the Council decided that Belgacom could be heard. However, the Council did not make a decision as to whether to grant Belgacom access to the file, based on the provisions in the 2006 Competition Act. It decided to ask for a preliminary ruling from the Supreme Court in order to find out if, and on what basis, a third party can gain access to a file, and if access should be granted, what the procedure should be regarding the deletion of confidential data therein.
The clock for the merger review will start running again when the Supreme Court has decided on these preliminary questions.