16 April 2014

The End of an Era - RBB Economics successfully involved in the two final merger decisions of the UK Competition Commission, prior to the creation of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 1 April 2014

On 27 March, the Competition Commission unconditionally cleared the anticipated acquisition by Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson of Creative Broadcast Services Holdings. Both Ericsson and Creative are leading players in the broadcast services sector. They overlap primarily in the supply to channels broadcast in the UK of outsourced linear playout services, whereby content is prepared and compiled for transmission. Although both Ericsson and Creative are leading suppliers, the Competition Commission found that the bidding nature of competition and the presence of other credible bidders meant that the merger was not expected to give rise to an SLC. RBB Economics advised both parties alongside Slaughter and May.The CC also formally cleared on 28 March the completed joint venture between Tradebe Environmental Services Limited and SITA UK Limited, in relation to healthcare waste. Significantly, despite finding that the transaction would reduce the number of effective competitors from three to two in some geographic areas, the Competition Commission concluded that the merger would allow for a creation of a stronger competitor to the largest supplier of HRW services (SRCL), and also found that some customers would benefit from lower prices due to efficiencies resulting from the merger. RBB Economics advised Tradebe throughout the Phase II investigation, alongside Hogan Lovells, Pannone and Shoosmiths.As well as being the two final merger decisions of the Competition Commission, before its own merger with the Office of Fair Trading to create the Competition and Markets Authority became effective on 1 April 2014, both cases provide examples of CC panel members' dissensions from the majority decisions. In the healthcare waste merger, the provisional findings were reached by a majority of three to one, while in Ericsson/Creative Broadcast services, the panel chairman Martin Cave issued a note of dissent to the majority decision.

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