18 January 2012

The OFT Tobacco Investigation: a case of smoke without fire

On 12 December 2011, after halting proceedings midway through the Appeal Hearings, the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal (‘CAT’) issued a Judgment that quashed the OFT’s Competition Act Decision against trading agreements in the tobacco sector. In the process, it annulled the record fines that had been imposed against Imperial Tobacco and the retailers that were appealing the Decision. In this Brief we assess the factors that led the OFT’s case to collapse and consider the wider implications for the assessment of vertical restraints

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