News

Two acquisitions by Tempcon unconditionally cleared after Phase II review 21.10.21

On the 14th of October the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) cleared the refrigerated transports company Tempcon’s two acquisitions of the companies Lincargo and Erling Andersson after two separate Phase II reviews.

The SCA stated in its decisions to open in-depth reviews, that the transactions would not only make Tempcon the largest supplier of refrigerated transports in Sweden on a national level but also an important distributor of refrigerated goods in the northern parts of the country.  Moreover, according to the SCA, the merger could potentially have led to foreclosure of competitors from the northern parts of Sweden.

In its clearance decisions the SCA concluded that the transactions will not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position and that the parties are not particularly close competitors. The SCA also concluded that the customers exert countervailing buyer power as they can switch supplier or set up internal transportation. The SCA found no support for the foreclosure concerns raised by customers and competitors.

Working alongside Baker McKenzie, RBB assisted Tempcon in Phase II by preparing submissions to the competition authority and by providing standalone economic reports.

The SCA decisions can be found here and here.

 

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RBB contributes to ex-post competition cases study 20.10.21

RBB partners Benoît Durand and Daniel Gore have co-authored two chapters in a newly published book on ex-post assessments of European competition cases and remedies.  Their chapters cover the Microsoft Media Player and Browser bundling cases, and pharmaceutical parallel trade cases.  The book collates a two year research project run by the Global Competition Law Centre at the College of Europe.

Ex Post Evaluation of Competition Cases, edited by Assimakis Komninos and Nicolas Petit, is published by Kluwer Law International.

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The Swedish Competition Authority clears Axfood/Bergendahl’s, subject to conditions 20.09.21

The Swedish Competition Authority approved Axfood’s acquisition of Bergendahl’s wholesale and a minority share of City Gross food retail after a Phase II review and voluntary committments. Axfood is Swedens second largest food wholeseller and third food retailer with brands such as Hemköp, Willys and Tempo.  The merger will create substantial scale economies and create a stronger number two in the Swedish food retail market.

The Swedish Competition Authority had concerns regarding independent retailers that are not part of any integrated supply chain and that have previously been buying from either of the parties.

The Swedish Competition Authority ultimately cleared the transaction subject to a commitment by the parties to offer equal or better terms to the independent retailers and to offer non-discriminatory terms to new innovative online retailers up until 1 Jan 2030.

RBB Economics assisted Axfood in the context of this merger investigation alongside Kastell law firm. RBB submitted both a detailed local market analysis of the retail markets and a quantitative simulation-model that assessed the joint effects of the merger to both the wholesale and retail markets.

The SCA decision can be found here.

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Webinar highlights: Economic Analysis and the Competition and Markets Authority’s New Merger Assessment Guidelines 14.07.21

On 2 June 2021, RBB Economics held a webinar to discuss the new Merger Assessment Guidelines (MAGs) released by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Simon Bishop held a Q&A session with Mike Walker, which was followed by a panel discussion between Adrian Majumdar, Alexander Baker and Amelia Fletcher, moderated by Ethel Fonseca. Below are the highlights of the webinar and our reactions to some of the issues discussed. The views of Walker indicate that much tougher merger enforcement in the UK is to be expected.

The full document can be downloaded here and the webinar can be watched here

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No Penalty for TasPorts in the ACCC’s first case under the new misuse of market power test 05.05.21

TasPorts is the owner and operator of the majority of ports in Tasmania, and the sole supplier of towage and pilotage services at all major ports on the island.  In its Concise Statement to the Federal Court of Australia, the ACCC alleged that TasPorts had engaged in six types of conduct with the purpose and/or the effect, and/or that was likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in the markets for towage and pilotage services in northern Tasmania.

The Court made orders by consent on 4 May 2021 dismissing all allegations that TasPorts’ conduct had the ‘purpose’ or ‘actual effect’ of substantially lessening competition.  As part of the settlement, TasPorts agreed to admit that its conduct in relation to one allegation had the ‘likely effect’ of substantially lessening competition.  No penalties will be paid by TasPorts. TasPorts has provided the ACCC with an enforceable undertaking, ensuring that Engage Marine – a new entrant in Tasmania – has access to berth space for tug boats in northern Tasmania on reasonable commercial terms, access to port communication systems, and that TasPorts’ charges for regulatory functions at Port Latta are reasonable.

George Siolis, a Partner with RBB Economics in Melbourne, prepared an expert economic  report which examined the nature and extent of any anti-competitive effects of the conduct identified in the ACCC’s Concise Statement.  George was instructed by Arnold Bloch Leibler, acting for TasPorts, and was assisted by Chris Hart and Jackson McDonough in Melbourne and Dr Iestyn Williams in London.

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