The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has a duty to refer a transaction for an “in depth” phase 2 investigation in instances where it believes that there is a realistic prospect of a transaction resulting in a “substantial lessening of competition”, subject to certain exceptions. This includes a de minimis exception in markets of “insufficient importance”, where the costs involved in investigating the transaction would be disproportionate to the size of the market concerned.
Matthew undertook an eight-month secondment at the Office of Fair Trading (the UK competition regulator, now the Competition and Markets Authority) during which he provided legal advice on a number of competition enforcement cases.
Matthew joined Orrick as a trainee in August 2008 and also gained experience working with the Commercial Litigation, Financial Markets and Real Estate groups as part of his training.
Examples of engagements on which Matthew has worked include the following:
- Acting for Telenor on the combination of its and TeliaSonera's mobile network operators in Denmark.
- Advising the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in relation to the acquisition of Formula 1 by Liberty Media.
- Acting for Thales Group in its acquisition of Vormetric, Inc., a provider of data protection solutions in physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.
- Acting for IronPlanet in its acquisition by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world's largest industrial auctioneers.
- Acting for AVG Technologies,
a developer of security software applications, in its acquisition by Avast.
- Acting for Planet Labs, Inc. in its acquisition of Terra Bella Technologies, a division of Google providing satellite imagery.
- Acting for Apigee, a cloud computing company, in its acquisition by Google.
- Acting for LINTEC Corporation in its acquisition of MACtac Americas, a manufacturer and distributor of pressure sensitive labels.
- Acting for Social Finance, Inc. in its acquisition of Zenbanx, a company offering mobile multi-currency bank accounts.
- Acting for Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products, in its acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings, provider of unattended payment systems.
- Representing Sony Europe Limited in its damages action before the High Court against AU Optronics and others.
- Acting for Nippon Soda Co., Ltd. in its acquisition of a European chemical and metal producer.
- Acting for Exxaro Resources Limited on the combination of its mineral sands business with Tronox Incorporated.
- Representing Enron Coal Services Ltd (in liquidation) in its private damages claim against English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd.
- Acting for Telenor on the acquisition of Globul, the Bulgarian mobile telecommunications operator, and in the sale of Telenor's mobile telecommunications assets in Russia and Ukraine to Vimpelcom Ltd.
- Advising companies in several different industry sectors in relation to potentially abusive behaviour of dominant entities.
Posts by: Matthew G. Rose
The long list of practices violating EU competition law just got longer: in Container Shipping, the European Commission confirmed that the unilateral publishing of pricing information, in public media, can violate Article 101 TFEU.
In this case, the Commission expressed concern that the practice of fourteen container liner shipping companies (“Carriers”) to publish intentions to increase prices may harm competition. The Carriers regularly announced intended increases of freight prices on their websites, via the press, or in other ways. The announcements were made several times a year and included the level of increase and the date of implementation. The Carriers were not bound by the announced increases and some of them postponed or modified the price increases after announcement.
On 4 July 2016, just as European football takes centre stage at the final stages of the UEFA European Championships in France, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued a decision ordering Spain to recoup tens of millions of euros of unlawful State aid granted to seven Spanish football clubs, including two of the best-known clubs in the world, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
The Commission’s probe was launched in December 2013, with three parallel investigations into certain public support measures granted to Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Athletic Club Bilbao, Club Atlético Osasuna, and three Valencian football clubs, Valencia CF, Elche CF and Hercules CF.
“Protect the level playing field”
In announcing the rulings, Margrethe Vestager, Competition Commissioner, stated: “Using tax payers’ money to finance professional football clubs can create unfair competition. Professional football is a commercial activity with significant money involved and public money must comply with fair competition rules. The subsidies we investigated in these cases did not.” The Commission’s press release cites its application of State aid rules in these investigations as “protect[ing] the level playing field” for competing professional football clubs against State measures that could “prevent rivals from growing and being competitive.”
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) comes into force today, 1 October 2015.1 It introduces major reforms to the antitrust damages actions regime in the UK.2 In particular, the CRA broadens the type of cases that can be heard by the UK’s specialist antitrust court, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “CAT”), to include opt-out class actions, and makes other procedural amendments aimed at facilitating and streamlining private damages actions in the UK.