European Competition: A Year in Review

A happy 2017 from the CRA Team!

Below are some of our highlights for 2016… 

We have advised on several prominent mergers before the European Commission this year – including (for one or both merging parties) in Microsoft/LinkedIn, ChemChina/Syngenta, Arianespace/ASL, Vodafone/Liberty Global, Danone/WhiteWave and Verizon/Yahoo, and were involved for interveners in O2/Three, Wind/Three, Baker Hughes/Halliburton and Deutsche Börse/LSE.  In the UK we advised on large Phase II retail cases (Coral/Ladbrokes and Celesio/Sainsbury’s), the recently unconditionally cleared Phase II merger in toys (VTech/LeapFrog), as well as a number of Phase I clearances including Tullett Prebon/ICAP, Hammerson/Grand Central and Empire/Cineworld. We also advised interveners in BT/EE and Intercontinental/Trayport, the latter noted for being the first prohibited vertical case in the UK. In France prominent cases included Fnac/Darty and SFR/Altice Group Numericable, one of the first instances of gun jumping, and in Belgium Ahold/Delhaize for the parties, and Kinepolis/Utopolis for the Belgian authority.  We have advised on multiple acquisitions in Germany, various deals in the payments industry across Europe, as well as telecoms deals in jurisdictions from Israel to South Africa.

In antitrust we have advised parties in the ongoing investigation into Android operating system and applications, the investigation of Qualcomm’s practices, the investigation into Cross border access to Pay-TV and the continuing Hotel Online Booking cases across Europe, including German Court proceedings.  We continued to advise Centrica on the CMA’s sector inquiry into the UK energy market, which concluded this year.  We have also been heavily involved in the pharmaceutical cases being pursued by the CMA in the UK, including the UK’s first ‘pay for delay’ case Paroxetine, now being appealed in front of the CAT, and the two excessive pricing cases – Phenytoin Sodium Capsules and Hydrocortisone. We have advised on allegations of margin squeeze and other exclusionary practices by ESA and the Norwegian Competition Authority against Telenor in Norway, as well as multiple abuse cases in Italy and elsewhere.  We continued to work on pay TV matters across Europe – in the UK, Portugal, France and South Africa among others.

Damages and litigation have also been major areas of work for us in 2016. In the UK we are the economic experts for Visa Europe in the damages action brought by multiple merchants in the High Court, and we have advised Sky in their intervention against BT’s appeal of Ofcom’s VULA regulation at the CMA, as well as of Ofcom’s WMO deregulation at the CAT (both of which were concluded successfully). We are also involved in multiple follow-on damages claims, such as Ball Bearings, and Trucks across Europe. In France, we have been the experts for Novandie in Fresh Dairy Products before the Paris Court of Appeal, and in the commercial litigation between Numericable and Orange. In Germany we have been particularly busy in damages actions, inter alia as experts for defendants in Detergents and Wood Chipboard, Cement and Coffee in the German courts, as well as Elevators in Austria, and for claimants in Südzucker/Nordzucker/Pfeifer & Langen.

We continue to be active in the area of IP and SEPs, including the landmark case on “fair” use of essential patents, Huawei v Unwired Planet at the High Court in London, and GSK v Sandoz in the Netherlands IP court among others.