Dow/DuPont, Qualcomm/NXP and Maersk Line/Hamburg Süd win at GCR Awards 13.04.18

Three mergers on which RBB Economics advised have been recognised at the recent Global Competition Review Awards 2018 in Washington, DC. Dow/DuPont, in which RBB worked with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom for the parties, was awarded Matter of the Year. The economics of the European Commission’s innovation theory of harm in that transaction are discussed in RBB Brief 54. Qualcomm/NXP, in which RBB worked with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan for Qualcomm, won European Merger Control Matter of the Year. Maersk Line/Hamburg Süd, in which RBB worked with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, won the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa Merger Control Matter of the Year.


European Commission approves Essilor/Luxottica unconditionally, after a Phase II review 05.03.18

The European Commission has approved unconditionally the proposed merger between Essilor and Luxottica after a Phase II investigation. Essilor is a global manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses and owns brands such as Varilux, Crizal and Transitions. Luxottica is a global manufacturer of spectacle frames and sunglasses, and owns several brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol. RBB Economics assisted both Parties in the context of this merger investigation.

At the end of its Phase I review, the Commission had raised concerns that the merged entity could engage in anti-competitive bundling or tying practices by using Luxottica’s brands to convince opticians to buy Essilor lenses, thereby foreclosing rival lens suppliers. The Commission also raised concerns in the opposite leveraging direction: that the merged entity could use Essilor’s brands to foreclose rival manufacturers of spectacle frames or sunglasses.

Following the submissions made by the Parties and RBB Economics during Phase II, which were confirmed by the Commission’s own market investigation, the Commission decided to clear the merger unconditionally. Since Commissioner Vestager is in office, only two other cases have gained clearance with no remedies after an in-depth review (FedEx/TNT, on which RBB Economics advised FedEx, and Siemens/Dresser-Rand).

RBB Economics is also advising the Parties on the merger’s filing in other jurisdictions, most of which have already resulted in an unconditional clearance.


Discovery/Scripps TV merger approved with behavioural remedy 07.02.18

The European Commission has cleared at phase I the acquisition of Scripps by Discovery, a transaction combining two suppliers of wholesale TV channels. During the investigation concerns arose in respect of bargaining power potentially deriving from Scripps’ TVN24 news channel in Poland. These concerns were addressed by a commitment to supply TVN24 at a “reasonable fee” for seven years. RBB, working with Debevoise & Plimpton, advised Discovery during the Commission investigation.


RBB speaks about “Economic Analysis in Mergers” at the Competition Law Nordic conference 02.02.18

RBB Principals Petter Berg and Niklas Strand will speak about “Economic Analysis in Mergers” at the Competition law Nordic conference in Stockholm on 8 February 2018.

The conference, that is sponsored by RBB Economics, is the only truly pan-Nordic forum bringing together in-house counsel from major multinational companies, regional competition authorities and other experts to discuss key developments, challenges and practical solutions as they develop across the region. For more details click here


Qualcomm NXP wins EU approval 26.01.18

The European Commission has approved Qualcomm’s $47bn proposed acquisition of NXP. Qualcomm is a supplier of baseband chipsets (BC) for smartphones, while NXP is a supplier of several types of semiconductors, including near-field communication (NFC) and secure element (SE) chips.

Following its Phase I investigation, the Commission had raised concerns that the merged entity would engage in a range of commercial strategies in order to harm rival suppliers, including mixed bundling, pure bundling and tying of BC, NFC and SE. However, during the Phase II process the Parties were able to demonstrate that the primary concerns relating to bundling and tying were unfounded. A number of RBB papers addressing these issues were submitted to the Commission.

A narrow set of remaining concerns were resolved by remedies relating to IP licensing and interoperability, avoiding a statement of objections (SO). RBB advised Qualcomm during the merger notification, in conjunction with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan