The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has dismissed an appeal against a Court of First Instance judgment that upheld the Commission’s 2002 retroactive approval of a joint venture between Cementbouw Handel & Industrie BV (Cementbouw) and Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH (Haniel). Through a series of transactions, Haniel and Cementbouw had acquired joint control of CVK, a co-operative of 11 Dutch sand-lime producers. This acquisition was not initially notified to the Commission who discovered it in the context of another enquiry and the parties retrospectively notified it for clearance. Although the deal was eventually cleared, the Commission had rejected the parties proposed conditions and imposed more stringent remedies. Cementbouw challenged the findings of the CFI that the series of acquisitions had formed a single transaction dismissing claims that the Commission had lost jurisdiction over the matter when the parties had proposed remedies that would have brought the deal under the jurisdictional thresholds of the EC Merger Regulation. The ECJ confirmed the Commission’s competence to examine the merger concluding that the merger met the notification requirements at the time, and held that jurisdiction is not lost by virtue of partial amendments by the parties; unless the changes are so substantial that the merger has effectively been abandoned.
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