Our experience extends across the full range of issues arising under competition law and related commercial litigation and disputes across a wide range of jurisdictions. This experience includes:

Our economists have worked for the merging parties on one third of all EU Phase II mergers in the last five years, many more Phase I cases, and on numerous cases before national authorities.

This work has routinely included the analysis of the standard competition concerns potentially raised by both horizontal and vertical mergers, as well as less common issues such as the impact of mergers on buyer power, media plurality and the public interest.

Mergers and Acquisitions example cases

IAG/bmi (2012)

RBB Economics advised IAG (the holding company of British Airways and Iberia) in connection with its successful application for regulatory clearance for the acquisition of British Midland (bmi) by the European Commission – EC Case No COMP/M.6447

Anglo-American/Lafarge (2012)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the UK Competition Commission investigation of their proposed joint venture – Anglo-American plc/Lafarge SA, Competition Commission

Alpha Flight Group/LSG Lufthansa (2012)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the UK Competition Commission investigation of their proposed joint venture in airline catering – Alpha Alpha Flight Group/LSG Lufthansa Competition Commission

Western Digital (WD)/Hitachi (2011)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the European Commission investigation of the acquisition by WD of the hard disk drive business of Hitachi – EC Case No COMP/M.6203

Shell/Total (2011)

RBB Economics advised Shell on its 2011 acquisition of a portfolio of Total motor fuel retail sites in the UK during its investigation by the UK OFT – OFT Case No.ME/5191/11

Tsogo Sun/Gold Reef (2010)

RBB Economics advised casino operator Tsogo Sun during the South African Competition Tribunal investigation of its merger with Gold Reef – SA CT Case No. 26/LM/May10

COFEPP/QFS (2011)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the French Competition Authority’s phase II investigation of COFEPP’s acquisition of branded and unbranded spirits producer QFS – French Competition Authority decision 11-DCC-187

American Airlines/British Airways/Iberia (2010)

RBB Economics advised AA, BA and Iberia on the European Commission investigation of their alliance – EC Case No. COMP 39596

Oracle/Sun Microsystems (2010)

RBB Economics advised Oracle during the investigation by the European Commission of its acquisition of Sun – EC Case No COMP/M.5529

Walmart/Massmart (2011)

RBB Economics advised both parties to the acquisition by Walmart of Massmart during its investigation by the South African Competition Tribunal – SA CT Case No. 73/LM/Nov10

Ticketmaster/Live Nation (2010)

RBB Economics advised Ticketmaster during the UK Competition Commission investigation of its merger with Live Nation – Ticketmaster and Live Nation, Competition Commission

Zipcar/Streetcar (2010)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the OFT and UK Competition Commission investigation of their merger – Zipcar and Streetcar, Competition Commission

BHP Billiton/Rio Tinto (2008)

RBB Economics advised BHP Billiton on its proposed acquisition of Rio Tinto, and in the subsequent proposed West Australian Iron Ore Production Joint Venture with Rio Tinto, before the European Commission as well as national competition authorities in Australia and China – EC Case No COMP/M.4985

Nokia/Navteq (2008)

RBB Economics advised both parties in the European Commission and US DOJ investigation of their merger, in relation to the provision of digital maps and vehicle navigation services – EC Case No COMP/M.4942

Google/DoubleClick (2008)

RBB advised Google on its proposed acquisition of DoubleClick, a provider of internet advertising services, during its investigation by the European Commission – EC Case No COMP/M.4731

Lloyds TSB/HBOS (2008)

RBB Economics advised HBOS during its acquisition by Lloyds TSB – Decision by Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Business, not to refer to the Competition Commission the merger between Lloyds TSB Group plc and HBOS plc under Section 45 of the Enterprise Act 2002

Campina/Friesland Foods (2008)

RBB Economics advised both parties during the investigation of the merger of their dairy businesses by the European Commission – EC Case No COMP/M.5046

TUI/First Choice (2007)

RBB Economics advised both merging parties during the investigation of the transaction by the European Commission – EC Case No COMP/M.4600

Sony/BMG (2007)

RBB Economics advised the parties during the European Commission investigation of their merger, its appeal before the CFI, and its subsequent reinvestigation by the European Commission – EC Case No COMP/M.3333

Ryanair/Aer Lingus (2007)

RBB Economics advised Ryanair during the 2007 European Commission investigation of its bid for Aer Lingus and in its subsequent appeal to the General Court – EC Case No COMP/M.4439

Analysis prepared by our economists has been deployed in EC and domestic cartel cases, as well as in other cases involving horizontal agreements, such as collaborative joint ventures and the collective selling of sports rights

Cartels and Horizontal Agreements example cases

Freight Forwarding (2012)

RBB Economics advised Panalpina during the European Commission’s cartel investigation in relation to freight forwarding – EC Case No. COMP/39462

Wire Mesh (2011)

RBB Economics advised Aveng during the SA Competition Tribunal hearing into alleged coordination in the supply of reinforcing wire mesh in South Africa – SA CT Case No.8/CR/Feb11

Refrigeration Compressors (2011)

RBB Economics advised Danfoss, a major producer of refrigeration compressors, in relation to the European Commission’s investigation into alleged collusive behaviour. The case was settled in December 2011 – EC Case No. COMP/39600

Bathroom Fittings (2011)

RBB Economics advised Sanitec in relation to the European Commission’s investigation into alleged coordination in the supply of bathroom fixtures and fittings – EC Case No. COMP/39092

LCD (2010)

RBB advised one of the manufacturers in the LCD industry during the European Commission’s cartel investigation – EC Case no COMP/39309

Temporary workers (2009)

RBB Economics advised Vedior (now Randstad) in relation to the investigation by the French Competition Council into alleged collusion between temporary worker agents – French Competition Council decision No, 09-D-05

Motor Fuels (2008)

RBB Economics advised Shell during a 2007 investigation by the Greek Competition Authority into alleged coordination in the supply of motor fuels – Hellenic Competition Authority Case No.421/V/2008

Banana Importers (2008)

RBB advised Fyffes/Interweichert, one of the major banana importers in the EU, in the Article 101 investigation of alleged coordinated behaviour achieved through bilateral exchanges of information. RBB experts prepared a report providing extensive empirical analysis and also provided oral evidence at the Commission’s Hearing on this matter. The Commission’s decision on this case was issued in October 2008 – EC Case No. COMP/39188

Milk (2008)

RBB advised J Sainsbury’s, one of the major UK grocery retailers, in connection with an investigation by the OFT into cartel activity in the setting of retail and wholesale milk prices in the UK. Sainsbury’s reached a settlement with the OFT

Jet Fuel (2006)

RBB Economics advised Total during the investigation by the Italian competition authorities into an alleged cartel in the supply of jet fuel – Italian Competition Authority Press Release 20 June 2006

Carbonless Paper (2002)

RBB Economics advised Arjowiggins during its appeal to the CFI of the European Commission findings in its investigation of alleged cartel conduct in the supply of carbonless paper – EC Case No. COMP/36212

Cement (2012)

RBB advised AfriSam throughout the South African Competition Commission’s three year investigation into alleged coordination amongst the major cement producers in South Africa, and the information exchanges that had taken place between these participants – Case settled

Our economists’ experience includes supporting the owners of some of the best known brands in defending their distribution and retailing arrangements. We have also advised on vertical agreements in a wide range of industrial sectors, in entertainment and in distribution.

Our experience in the field of vertical agreements includes supporting the owners of some of the best known brands in defending their distribution and retailing arrangements, whether in-house, exclusive, or selective in nature. In addition, we have analysed the competition consequences of various intellectual property licensing regimes in a wide variety of commercial and sector contexts.

Vertical Agreements example cases

Imperial Tobacco (2011)

RBB Economics advised Imperial during the OFT investigation and Competition Appeal Tribunal hearings into its retail agreements – CAT Case No. 1160/1/1/10

Royal Canin (2011)

RBB Economics advised Royal Canin/Mars in the investigation by the French Competition Authority of vertical agreements such as RPM, territorial exclusivity, customer exclusivity and single-branding – French Competition Authority decision No. 12-D-10

Heineken (2007)

RBB Economics advised Heineken during the European Commission investigations of its distribution arrangements in various countries – EC Case No.37766

Race Course Association (RCA) (2005)

RBB Economics advised ATR on the collective selling of data rights during the UK OFT investigation of the British Horse Racing Board – CA98/2/2004

Hasbro (2003)

RBB Economics advised Hasbro during the UK OFT investigations into restrictive arrangements in the wholesaling and retailing of toys and games – OFT Case No. CA98/8/2003

Shell (2002)

RBB Economics advised Shell during an investigation by the Dutch NMa into the provision of margin support for independent petrol stations – Case closed

We have been involved in several of the leading Article 102 and national abuse of dominance cases concerning issues such as price discrimination, predation, excessive pricing, and market foreclosure.

These cases have covered an extremely diverse set of potential competition concerns, including refusal to supply, price discrimination, exclusionary discounting, price and non-price predation, excessive pricing, the creation of switching costs, and the raising of barriers to entry.

Dominance and Monopoly Inquiries example cases

JUHI (2012)

RBB Economics advised the joint venture participants in the Joint User Hydrant Installation (JUHI) at Sydney Airport, in relation to the Australian NCC investigation into whether the supply of jet fuel airport infrastructure should be deemed an essential facility

Butagaz/Shell (2012)

RBB Economics advised Butagaz/Shell in relation to the French Competition Authority’s investigation into alleged abuse of collective dominance in the supply of LPG – French Competition Authority’s decision No. 10-D-36

South African Airways (SAA) (2011)

RBB Economics advised SAA during the SA Competition Tribunal investigation of its incentive payments to travel agents – SA CT Case No.18/CR/Mar01

Ofcom/BSkyB (2011)

RBB Economics presented expert economic advice at the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal on behalf of the English Premier League, regarding wholesale of premium sports rights

Intel (2009)

RBB Economics advised AMD during the European Commission investigation of the rebate and selling practices of Intel – EC Case No. COMP 37990

BAT (2009)

RBB Economics advised international tobacco supplier JTI in its complaint before the South African Competition Tribunal against the commercial practices of BAT South Africa – SA CT Case No. 55/CR/Jun05

British Airways (2007)

RBB Economics advised British Airways during the UK OFT investigation of alleged predation against Scotair – OFT Case No. CE/4424-04

Energy Market Authority of Singapore (EMA) (2004)

RBB Economics advised SEMA during the appeal against its findings of abuse of dominance against incumbent generators in Singapore

Aberdeen Journals (2002)

RBB Economics advised Aberdeen Journals during the UK OFT investigation of alleged predation and subsequent appeal to the Competition Appeals Tribunal – OFT Case No.CA98/14/2002

Google (ongoing)

RBB Economics is advising Google in relation to the ongoing European Commission’s investigation of third parties’ allegations that Google has engaged in an abuse of a dominant position. The investigation covers a number of areas including the manner in which Google displays its search results and contractual provisions with partners on the websites of which Google delivers search advertisements

Sasol (2010)

RBB Economics advised Sasol during the SA Competition Commission investigation into allegations of excessive pricing and anti-competitive price discrimination in the South African fertiliser industry – Case settled

The testimony of our experts has been regularly used in litigation proceedings before the courts involving claimed or decided breaches of competition law, in arbitration cases and in reaching out-of-court settlements.

Our reports and the testimony of our experts have been regularly used in litigation proceedings before specialists and general courts. These proceedings involve claimed or decided breaches of competition law, arbitration cases, and out-of-court settlements.

Litigation and Damages example cases

South African Airways (2012)

RBB advised South African Airways in relation to damage claims before the South African High Court arising from an abuse of dominance investigation regarding the incentive arrangements offered to travel agents

Imperial Tobacco (2011)

RBB Economics advised Imperial during the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal hearings into its retail agreements – CAT Case No. 1160/1/1/10

Ofcom/BSkyB (2011)

RBB Economics presented expert economic advice at the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal on behalf of the English Premier League, regarding wholesale of premium sports rights

London Stock Exchange (LSE) v PLUS Markets (2009)

RBB Economics acted for PLUS Markets in its competition-related litigation against the LSE – Case settled

Virgin Media v BSkyB (2008)

RBB Economics advised Virgin Media during its competition-related litigation against BSkyB – Case settled

British Phonographic Institute (BPI) (2007)

RBB Economics advised BPI during the UK Copyright Tribunal investigation into the royalties paid for selling music downloads – Copyright Tribunal Case No.CT84-90/05

FHH v EWS (2007)

RBB advised FHH in relation to a damage claim before the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, following a 2006 finding by the UK rail regulator that EWS abused its dominant position by entering into exclusionary contracts, discriminating against ECSL and engaging in predatory pricing – Case settled

Generics UK v UK Department of Health (2005)

RBB Economics advised Generics UK during competition-related litigation brought against it by the UK Department of Health – Case settled

Days Medical Aids (DMA) v Pihsiang (2004)

RBB Economics advised DMA and acted as economic experts in competition litigation before the English High Court – High Court Case No: 2002 Folio 178 [2004] EWHC 44 (Comm)

SAMPRA (2011)

RBB Economics advised the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) in relation to its dispute with radio broadcasters over the royalties broadcasters were required to pay SAMPRA in return for playing music. This included providing expert witness testimony before the South African Copyright Tribunal

RBB economists have worked with companies in the media, energy, telecoms, and transport sectors. Regulators have also employed this expertise in developing their own thinking on market liberalisation and reform.

Regulatory Issues example cases

Moody’s (2012)

RBB Economics advised Moody’s in relation to the European Commission’s proposal for new regulation and directive regarding credit rating agencies (CRA III)

UPC (2012)

RBB assisted Dutch cable operator UPC in the context of market assessments by Dutch telecom regulator OPTA. This included an assessment of the Dutch TV market, in which OPTA sought to impose access and tariff obligations on the Dutch cable operators. After a long process covering a number of years, two market assessments and appeal procedures before the Dutch court, OPTA ultimately decided that there was no need for regulatory measures, in particular in view of the increased competition between cable operators and operators of other infrastructures. OPTA’s decision was upheld in court – Judgment of the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), cases AWB 12/161, 12/163 en 12/165

KPN (2011)

Dutch telecom operator KPN asked RBB for advice in a procedure relating to the Dutch telecom regulator’s assessment of the wholesale market for unbundled local loops (ULL). On the issue of market definition, OPTA concluded that local loops of fiber networks in business areas (FttO) would be part of the same relevant market as copper local loops and local loops of fiber networks in residential areas (FttH), and therefore that similar unbundling and access measures should apply to FttO networks. On appeal, the court found, also based on a report prepared by RBB, that OPTA had not proven FttO local loops to be part of the same market, and hence prevented OPTA to impose regulatory obligations with regard to FttO loops – Judgment of the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), cases AWB 10/498, 10/536 and 10/545

In some jurisdictions, the authorities have the power to investigate an entire market or sector, and we have worked on many such investigations, usually with market-leading firms. Through this work we help the authorities to identify whether competition is working effectively and, where not, whether this is an intrinsic and unavoidable feature of the market, the result of the commercial conduct of one or more firms, or the by-product of the legal and regulatory regime under which they operate.

Sector Enquiries example cases

Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete and Cement, UK (2012)

RBB Economics advised both Lafarge and Tarmac during the UK Competition Commission market inquiry into the supply of aggregates, cement, and ready mixed concrete – Aggregates, Cement, and Ready-Mixed Concrete market investigation, Competition Commission

Local Bus Services, UK (2011)

RBB Economics advised The Go Ahead Group during the UK Competition Commission’s investigation into Local Bus Services in the UK – Local bus services market investigation, Competition Commission

Grocery Retail, South Africa (2010)

RBB Economics advised Woolworths during the South African Competition Commission’s investigation into grocery retailing in South Africa

Banking, South Africa (2008)

RBB Economics provided advice to First National Bank (FNB) throughout the South African Competition Tribunal investigation of the banking sector – Banking Enquiry of the Competition Commission of South Africa

Payment Protection Insurance, UK (2007)

RBB Economics advised HBOS during the UK Competition Commission’s investigation into payment protection insurance

Groceries, UK (2006)

RBB Economics advised Sainsbury’s during the UK Competition Commission investigation into grocery retailing, the subsequent appeal, and its re-investigation

RBB has assisted a number of firms across a range of sectors in the area of State aid, including the financial sector. There is increasing emphasis on economic aspects of the assessment of State aid measures by the European Commission. This includes issues such as the conformity of state investments with the Market Economy Investor Principle, the assessment of competitive effects, and the design of appropriate compensatory measures to counterbalance such effects. The latter has been particularly relevant in the context of the global financial crisis, which has resulted in a large number of State aid procedures in the financial sector.

State Aid example cases

Glasvezelnet Amsterdam (2007)

RBB Economics advised cable operator UPC in its complaint against the participation of the municipality of Amsterdam in a local fiber to the home project – Decision C 53/2006 of 11 December 2007

Financial Crisis (2008-2012)

RBB Economics advised a number of financial institutions in the context of State aid granted to remedy the effects of the financial crisis in Europe on banks and insurers