News

Tobacco manufacturers cleared from concerted practice allegations in Serbia 22.05.19

On 21 May 2019 the Serbian Commission for Competition Protection officially dropped its investigation against tobacco manufacturers, including Imperial Tobacco, over a possible infringement of Article 10 of the Protection of Competition Act, consisting in alleged price coordination between producers of factory made cigarettes. In line with the findings of RBB’s report submitted to the authority, the Serbian Commission dismissed the case on the ground that there was not enough evidence that the observed parallel behaviour was a result of coordination rather than the market structure and regulatory framework. RBB Economics assisted Imperial Tobacco alongside law firms Ashurst and BDK Advokati throughout the investigation.

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German bookstore merger cleared unconditionally 09.05.19

On 9 May 2019 the German competition authority (the Bundeskartellamt) unconditionally cleared the merger between Thalia and Mayersche following a phase one investigation. Following the merger, the Parties will be Germany’s biggest bookstore chain. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt noted that the authority had examined the merger “very closely”, focusing in particular on regional markets across North Rhine-Westphalia where the parties have a relatively high combined share of book retail sales. Despite this, the authority concluded that due to the growth of sales online and competition from a large number of traditional medium and smaller-sized retailers, the merger is not expected to significantly impede effective competition. The eBook and eBook reader markets were also examined and found unproblematic, in particular due to competitive pressure from market leader Amazon. RBB Economics advised both parties during the investigation.

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French television group cleared from abuse of dominance allegations 25.04.19

On 25 April 2019 the French Competition Authority dismissed all allegations that TF1 Publicité, the advertising arm of leading free-to-air television group TF1, abused its alleged dominant position on the market for television advertising. The 5 year-long investigation analysed in detail possible issues concerning exclusivity rebates, fidelity rebates and bundling. RBB assisted TF1 alongside law firm Vogel & Vogel.

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Breakfast Seminar: Competition Amendment Act and Draft Regulations 07.03.19

On 14 March 2019, RBB Partner, Patrick Smith, will speak at a Breakfast Seminar on the topic of the Competition Amendment Act and the Draft Regulations on price discrimination and buyer power. Patrick will appear on a panel with Anthony Norton, Judge David Unterhalter, Jerome Wilson SC, and Avias Ngwenya.

The Seminar will allow business to better understand the commercial implications of the Competition Amendment Act and the proposed draft regulations.

The seminar is scheduled from 8:00 am – 10:00 am with registration from 7:30 am, at the Radisson Blue Gautrain Hotel, corner West St and Rivonia Rd, Sandton. RSVP here.

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Chilean competition authorities clear acquisitions in salmon farming and lithium compounds 07.01.19

On December 12 the Fiscalía Nacional Económica of Chile (FNE) unconditionally cleared Agrosuper’s acquisition of AquaChile. The transaction created the second largest farmed salmon producer globally. The FNE’s investigation focused on the scope for the transaction to give rise to unilateral effects, finding that the merger was unlikely to give rise to price increases. RBB Economics advised Agrosuper alongside Barros y Errázuriz throughout the proceedings.

Earlier in October, Chile’s Competition Tribunal (TDLC) cleared an agreement between the Fiscalía Nacional Económica and Tianqi Lithium, approving Tianqi Lithium’s $4 bn acquisition of a 26% stake in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM). The transaction had been challenged by the Chilean government, on the grounds that it would create a structural link between the largest and the third largest producers of lithium compounds globally. The transaction was ultimately approved subject to behavioural commitments. RBB Economics advised Tianqi Lithium alongside Carey.

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