Brussels 20th April – Commission Informs Google of Android Concerns.
The European Commission announced the preliminary findings of its Google investigation. The Commission’s preliminary view is that Google has abused its dominant position by implementing a strategy on mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search. First, the practices mean that Google Search is pre-installed and set as the default, or exclusive, search service on most Android devices sold in Europe. Second, the practices appear to close off ways for rival search engines to access the market, via competing mobile browsers and operating systems. In addition, they also seem to harm consumers by stifling competition and restricting innovation in the wider mobile space. The Commission’s concerns are outlined in a Statement of Objections addressed to Google and its parent company, Alphabet.
Dublin 21st April – CCPC Drops Kerry Appeal.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission announced that it has decided not to pursue its Supreme Court appeal in relation to Kerry Foods acquisition of Breeo Foods. The CCPC’s predecessor, the Competition Authority blocked the merger in 2008 but this decision was overturned on appeal to the High Court in what is the only appeal against a decision by the CA/CCPC since responsibility for deciding on mergers was assigned to it in July 2003. According to media reports the CCPC is to pay half of Kerry’s High Court costs. Compecon advised Kerry on the transaction.
Gijon 6th May – EU Commission Decision on Football Broadcasting did not Benefit Consumers.
Compecon Director Patrick Massey presented a paper at the XI Gijon Sports Economics Conference which analysed the effect of the 2006 EU Commission decision which prevented the FA Premier League from selling rights to live broadcast of matches to a single broadcaster. The paper which was co-authored by Dr Robbie Butler of UCC found that in the 5 years before the Commission decision the price per match fell by 33% in real terms but has increased by 65% in real terms since the Commission decision.
Brussels 19th July – Commission Announces Record Fines in Trucks Cartel.
The EU Commission announced that it had imposed record fines totalling €2.93 billion on various truck manufacturers which had operated a cartel for 14 years. The firms involved were MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF. MAN avoided penalties as it had informed the Commission of the existence of the cartel.
London 21st July – CMA Fines Online Seller of Sports and Entertainment Merchandise for Price Fixing. The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced that Trod Limited an online seller of licensed sport and entertainment merchandise and related products had admitted to operating a cartel with one of its competitors. GB eye Limited (trading as ‘GB Posters’), The two firms had agreed not to undercut each other’s prices for posters and frames sold on Amazon’s UK website. The agreement was implemented by using automated repricing software which the parties each configured to give effect to the illegal cartel. Both firms sold merchandise including posters, frames, badges, stickers and mugs, with popular images from the sport and entertainment world, such as One Direction and Justin Bieber. Trod has been fined £163,371. Amazon was not involved in the cartel.
University College Cork 22nd July – Compecon’s Patrick Massey Addresses Sports Economics Workshop.
Compecon’s Patrick Massey presented a paper analysing the performance of Republic of Ireland football managers since 1970 to the second Annual UCC Sports Economics Workshop. The paper was co-authored with David Butler and Ollie O’Brien.
Dublin 16th August – CCPC Clears Panda Acquisition of Greenstar.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) announced that it had has cleared the proposed merger whereby PandaGreen Limited (‘PandaGreen’) would acquire the entire issued share capital of Starrus Eco Holdings Limited, which trades as Greenstar, subject to binding divestment commitments which require PandaGreen to sell Greenstar’s domestic waste collection businesses in Fingal and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. Compecon advised PandaGreen in this case.
Brussels 30th August – EU Commission Finds Apples’ Irish Tax Arrangements Constituted Illegal State Aid.
The EU Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits to Apple and that these benefits constituted illegal State Aid. The Commission stated that the tax benefits given to Apple over a number of years were worth up to €13 billion. The Commission decision follows an in-depth investigation which began in June 2014.
Groningen 1stand 2nd September – Compecon Director Patrick Massey Presents Papers at ESEA Conference.
Patrick Massey presented two papers at the annual European Sports Economics Association Conference at the University of Groningen. The first paper co-authored with Dave Butler UCC and Oliver O’Brien applied a production frontier model to analyse the efficiency of the Republic of Ireland football team in European Championship and World Cup qualifying campaigns from 1970 to 2016.
The second paper co-authored with Prof Paul Downward of Loughborough University and Dr Peter Dawson of the University of East Anglia analysed the issue of referee decision making in rugby’s Heineken Cup.
Brussels 7th October – EU Commission Clears Joint Acquisition of Slaney Foods and Slaney Proteins by ABP and Fane Valley.
The European Commission announced that it had cleared unconditionally the proposed acquisition of joint control of Slaney Foods JV and Slaney Proteins by meat processor ABP Group and farmer-owned agri-food company Fane Valley (United Kingdom). Compecon advised Fane Valley in respect of the transaction.