EU MERGERS

European Commission publishes prohibition decision in Ryanair / Aer Lingus III. The European Commission (Commission) has published the full text of its February 2013 decision to prohibit the proposed acquisition by Ryanair of Aer Lingus (M.6663) (see Volume 1, Edition 17). The Commission concluded that the combination of the two leading airlines operating from Ireland would have led to very high market shares on 46 routes, resulting in higher prices for passengers (see IP/13/167, MEMO/13/144 and SPEECH/13/164). The Commission also identified the existence of high barriers to entry, and concluded that there was no prospect that any new carrier would enter the Irish market after the merger to challenge the new entity on a sufficient scale. Commitments offered by Ryanair were deemed inadequate by the Commission. Ryanair has appealed to the General Court seeking the annulment of the Commission's decision (T-260/13 - Ryanair Holdings v Commission, Action brought on 8 May 2013).

Phase I Clearance

  • M.6934Norges Bank / Assicurazioni Generali / Group of Buildings in Paris (simplified review) (29.07.2013).
  • M.6986Bain Capital Investor / Maisons du Monde Group (simplified review) (31.07.2013).
  • M.6929Lotte Chemical Corporation / Versalis / JV (simplified review) (31.07.2013).
  • M.6972BC Partners / Springer Science + Business Media (simplified review) (31.07.2013).

UK MERGERS

UK OFT refers acquisition by Optimax of Ultralase to Competition Commission. On 29 July 2013, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced the reference of the completed acquisition by Optimax Clinics Limited (Optimax) of Ultralase Limited (Ultralase) to the Competition Commission (CC) (ME/5898/13). The OFT considers that the merger between close competitors raises a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in at least six local areas (CC Press Release).

UK ANTITRUST

CAT ruling on Albion Water costs in follow-on damages action. On 31 July 2013, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) handed down a ruling on costs following the award of damages to Albion Water under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 (see Volume 1, Edition 21). In March 2013, the CAT awarded Albion Water damages for losses resulting from a breach of the Chapter II Prohibition by Dwr Cymru. The CAT ruled that Albion Water was entitled to recover all of its costs in relation to the compensatory damages claims. In relation to the exemplary damages claim (which was dismissed by the CAT), Albion Water could recover some but not all of its costs (Case No 1166/5/7/10).

EU SANCTIONS

Al-Qaida

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 731/2013 (OJ L 203/10, 30.7.2013) amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with the Al-Qaida network. The Implementing Regulation removes a designated person from Annex I.