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Merck and Schering-Plough Plow Through Antitrust Concerns As They Target Merger By End Of Year

Posted  11/6/09
Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough is plowing ahead as the companies addresses competitive concerns raised by antitrust enforcers. In an October 29, 2009, Consent Order, the FTC is permitting the acquisition – which would result in the one of the world’s largest prescription drug companies – to go forward provided the two companies divest of certain assets.  The European Union granted a smooth approval...

It May Be Closing Time For British Beer Consumer Group’s Pub Complaint

Posted  10/29/09
British antitrust authorities may be telling CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) that it’s closing time for its complaint charging beer prices have increased due to lack of pub competition, but the consumer group isn’t going home quietly. CAMRA is asking Lord Mandelson, Britain’s Secretary of State for Business, to refer its complaint to the Competition Commission, following the October 22, 2009, announcement...

Antitrust Foresight Brings Speedy EU Approval Of Merck’s Acquisition Of Schering-Plough

Posted  10/28/09
The European Commission’s smooth approval of Merck & Co.’s $41 billion acquisition of rival Schering-Plough Corp. could be a textbook example of how parties to a merger or acquisition can get speedy clearance by anticipating – and remedying – antirust enforcers’ likely objections at the start. One might have expected the union of these two heavyweights – which, if completed, will create the world’s...

European Commission Asks If New Ballot Can Depose Microsoft Internet Explorer

Posted  10/14/09
Anyone who doubts that ballot design can change the course of the world needs to revisit the infamous Butterfly Ballot’s pivotal role in George Bush’s unusual path to the U.S. presidency. Perhaps realizing the decisive effects ballot design can have, the European Commission is seeking comments on a proposed Microsoft Web Browser Ballot that could weaken Microsoft Internet Explorer’s global domination. The...

European Union On Verge Of Swinging Class Action Hammer

Posted  10/6/09
While the antitrust class action is historically an American enforcement tool, the European Union is on the verge of pressing this powerful hammer into the hands of its member states. Under a draft EU Directive, state bodies and nonprofit organizations appointed by national governments would be able to bring class actions in national courts against companies that fix prices or abuse their dominant market share. ...

Canadian Class Actions Take A Step Forward

Posted  10/5/09
Canadian competition law litigation took a step forward last week with the decision in Irving Paper Ltd v. Atofina Chemicals Inc. et al., in which the Ontario Superior Court certified a consolidated class of direct and indirect purchasers in a horizontal price-fixing case involving the hydrogen peroxide industry.  The case has important precedential value as it represents the first time in Canada that an antitrust...

European Commission Publicizes Intel Emails In New Tack

Posted  09/30/09
Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the newspaper.  Or in a decision of the European Commission slapping a 1.06 billion Euros fine (approximately $1.5 billion) on your company.

On September 21, 2009, the Commission released a public version of its May 13 decision in which it imposed the record fine on Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer, for...

A Warning For Corporate Parents In The EU’s Akzo Nobel Case

Posted  09/16/09
Being a parent means great responsibilities – especially if you’re a corporate parent with subsidiaries active in the European Union.  As a result of the European Commission’s Akzo Nobel case, such corporate parents now face greater antitrust liability for the conduct of their 100%-owned subsidiaries. On September 10, 2009, the European Court of Justice dismissed Akzo Nobel’s appeal of a 2007 judgment of...
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