M&A

The following has been reported in the newspapers referred to below: 

  • On November 19, 2007, US brewer SABMiller announced its intent to make a €816m offer to buy Dutch brewer Grolsch (FT, November 20, 2007, p. 13, 20; WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 6) 
  • On November 19, 2007, Swiss insurance company Swiss Life sold its Dutch and Belgian businesses to Dutch financial services group SNS Reaal for €1.54bn (FT, November 20, 2007, p. 15; WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 21) 
  • UK private-equity firm Candover Investments PLC has agreed to acquire French tax-advisory group Alma Consulting for about €800m (WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 23) 
  • On November 19, 2007, French financial services company Credit Agricole acquired an additional 14.99% stake in Spanish bank Bankinter for an amount of €809m, increasing its total stake to 19.53% (FT, November 20, 2007, p.16; WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 21) 
  • Japanese camera and medical devices company Olympus is set to acquire UK-based medical equipment maker Gyrus Group for US$1.9bn (FT, November 20, 2007, p. 20; WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 7) 
  • US-based semi-conductor-equipment maker Applied Materials Inc. has agreed to acquire Italian solar cell technology company Baccini SpA for €225m (WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 7) 
  • The following concentrations have been notified to the European Commission: 
  • DZ Equity Partner/Welle Holding/PAIDI Moebel — Candidate case for simplified procedure (furniture for babies, kids and teenagers) (OJ C 277, 20 November 2007, p. 15) 
    • Avnet/Acal IT Solutions — Candidate case for simplified procedure (wholesale distribution of IT products and services) (OJ C 277, 20 November 2007, p. 16) 
    • Leoni/Valeo CSB (EDS, plastic components, body controllers and electrical energy management systems and components) (OJ C 277, 20 November 2007, p. 19) 
  • The following concentration has been cleared by the European Commission: 
    • Nutreco/BASF (production of chemicals, plastics, oil and gas, agricultural and nutritional products) (OJ C 277, 20 November 2007, p. 2)

State Aid

  • The European Commission has decided that operating aid worth around €80m granted by Italy in the form of a preferential electricity tariff since 2005, is incompatible with the Single Market and needs to be recovered from the beneficiaries among which are steel company ThyssenKrupp, cement company Cementir and chemical company Terni Nuova Industrie Chimiche located in the Umbria Region. The European Commission concluded that the prolongation of the electricity tariff until 2010 constitutes operating aid because it can no longer be considered compensatory in nature and its only effect is to improve the beneficiaries’ competitive position (RAPID, November 20, 2007)

Other

  • The European Commission has imposed a total of €74.79m fines on Japanese companies Sony, Fuji and Maxell for fixing prices for professional videotapes sold to customers in Europe, in violation of the EC Treaty’s ban on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81) (RAPID, November 20, 2007) 
  • UK mortgage lender Northern rock PLC has stated that it has received proposals to invest in the business or buy parts of it, but added that the proposals so far are well below the company’s value (WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 7) 
  • On November 19, 2007, Irish-based aircraft carrier Aer Lingus Group PLC filed a complaint in the European Court of First Instance in a move to force its main rival Ryanair Holding PLC to sell its shares in Aer Lingus (WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 7) 
  • On November 19, 2007, Swiss luxury goods company Cie. Financière Richemont SA announced plans to spin-off its tobacco operations by selling its 19.3% stake in British American Tobacco (FT, November 20, 2007, p. 16; WSJE, November 20, 2007, p. 6)