ANTITRUST

Commission accepts binding commitments from Star alliance members. On 23 May 2013, the European Commission (Commission) announced that it had accepted commitments offered by Star Alliance members, Air Canada, United, and Lufthansa, to address the Commission’s concerns arising from the members’ cooperation under a revenue-sharing joint venture (IP/13/456). The concerns identified by the Commission focused on anti-competitive effects on the Frankfurt-New York transatlantic passenger route. The parties have offered to make slots available at Frankfurt and New York airports and to enter into agreements with competitors, allowing them to offer more attractive services. The Commission has accepted these commitments for a period of ten years (COMP/39595).

EU MERGERS

Phase I Clearance

  • M.6886 – Lindéngruppen / FAM / Höganäs (17.05.2013) (simplified review).
  • M.6888 – Otsuka / Mitsui / Claris (17.05.2013) (simplified review).
  • M.6919 – KKR / Bregal / Avenia / Cognitan (17.05.2013) (simplified review).

Phase II Clearance

Commission approves Munksjö / Ahlstrom subject to conditions. The Commission has approved the proposed merger of Munksjö AB and the label and processing paper business of Ahlstrom Corporation under the EU Merger Regulation. The clearance, which follows a Phase II investigation (IP/12/1338), is conditional upon the divestment of Ahlstrom’s abrasive paper backings and pre-impregnated paper (PRIP) business located in Germany. The Commission had concerns that the notified transaction would have allowed the merged entity, Munksjö Oyj, to raise prices in heavy weight abrasive paper backings and PRIP (M.6576).

UK MARKET INVESTIGATION

Competition Commission announces provisional findings in cement sector. On 21 May 2013, the Competition Commission (CC) published a summary of its provisional findings in its market investigation into the supply of aggregates, cement and ready mix concrete in Great Britain (Summary of Provisional Findings). The CC has provisionally concluded that coordination between the three major cement producers may be resulting in higher prices for all cement users. The CC’s finding does not relate to any explicit collusion between these producers, but rather that the established producers have an unusually high level of understanding of each other’s businesses in a concentrated market which allows for coordination. The CC is required to publish its final report by 17 January 2014 (see Aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete market investigation).

UK MERGERS

Competition Commission concludes Global Radio / GMG merger inquiry. On 21 May 2013, the CC published its findings related to the completed acquisition by Global Radio Holdings Limited (Global) of GMG Radio Holdings Limited (see Global Radio / GMG merger inquiry). The CC has determined that the merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK radio market in seven regions (Final Report). The CC has required Global to divest certain of the acquired Real & Smooth stations or its own stations to buyers to be approved by the CC (Press Release).

SPEECHES / PUBLICATIONS

Speech by the OFT Chief Executive, Clive Maxwell: ‘Competition in public services’ (23 May 2013).