The General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgement on Spar Österreichische Warenhandels-AG’s (“Spar”) appeal against the Commission’s decision to approve, subject to conditions, the acquisition of Adeg Österreich Handels AG (“Adeg”) by Billa AG (part of the REWE group; “Billa”). The Commission approved the acquisition on the condition that the parties divest 24 outlets in so-called critical districts, as it considered that such measure would remedy its concerns that the acquisition would lead to increased prices in the Austrian retail and wholesale markets for everyday consumer goods. Spar, a significant operator in the market, appealed the decision to the GC, seeking the annulment of the Commission’s decision on various grounds. The GC held that the Commission had not erred in its assessment of the relevant market and market shares. The Commission had neither erred in its assessment of the competitive effects of the acquisition, as the parties’ post-merger combined market shares, between 30-35 %, were moderate, and the Commission had not underestimated Adeg’s competitive power or overestimated the other competitors’ market power. Further, the GC found that the Commission had not erred in not opening an in-depth investigation on the case and that the commitments offered were sufficient to remedy the Commission’s competitive concerns. Finally, the GC found that the Commission had not committed any procedural error, as Spar’s right to a fair hearing had not been breached and the Commission had not failed to provide sufficient reasons for its decision. Source: Case T-405/08 Spar Österreichische Warenhandels-AG v Commission 7/6/2013