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


Ocean Network Express container liner joint venture – approved subject to conditions 17.01.18

Following its investigation, the Competition Commission had prohibited a joint venture that would combine the global container liner shipping businesses of NYK., MOL, and K-Line, to form Ocean Network Express, due to concerns that the transaction would lead to coordinated effects in the container liner shipping market, as well as spill over effects in adjacent markets in which each of the joint venture parties would continue to operate independently, such as car carrier and bulk shipping services. The parties applied to the Competition Tribunal for a consideration, and an RBB team led by Patrick Smith, and assisted by Jacob Muller, submitted an expert report to the Tribunal, assessing the effect of the joint venture on competition in container liner shipping services, as well as adjacent shipping markets. The Commission ultimately abandoned its concerns in container liner shipping services, and the Commission and the Parties jointly proposed a range of conditions, that were later approved by the Tribunal, relating to the exchange of competitively sensitive information between the container liner shipping joint venture, and the parties’ adjacent and independent car carrier shipping and bulk shipping businesses. RBB was instructed by Webber Wentzel, attorneys acting for the parties.


Competition Policy for the New Era – insights from the BRICS Countries 17.01.18

A paper on excessive pricing regulation in China, South Africa, and other BRICS Member States, written by RBB economists Richard Murgatroyd, Yan Yu and Ignatius Barnardt, has been included in the book “Competition Policy for the New Era – insights from the BRICS Countries” recently published by Oxford University Press.

The paper reviews the economic framework and analytical tools that have been used in order to assess excessive pricing, and provides an overview of the relevant policy and enforcement trends relating to excessive pricing in a number of BRICS jurisdictions, focussing in particular on China and South Africa.

Chapter 12