News Archive 2017

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London 6th January – CMA Clears NI Rendering Merger.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced that it had cleared the acquisition of Ulster Farm By-Products by Linergy without conditions following a Phase 2 investigation. Both parties are engaged in animal rendering, but the CMA concluded that the transaction had not resulted and was not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition. Compecon advised the merging parties in this case. Click here for further details.


Dublin 16th February – CCPC Clears Cooked Meats Merger.

The CCPC announced that it had cleared the acquisition of Faughan Foods Limited by Silvereed. Both companies produce cooked meats.  The transaction was cleared without conditions following a Phase 1 investigation. Compecon advised Silvereed in relation to the transaction.

European Sports Management Quarterly 16th February.
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Paper written by Compecon’s Patrick Massey with Vincent Hogan (UCD) and Shane Massey (TCD) analyses the determinants of attendances at matches in Rugby’s Heineken Cup from 1995/96 to 2013/14. The paper finds that the quality of the home team and whether it is in contention to reach the knock-out stages of the competition are among the main drivers of attendances.

Analysing Match Attendance in the European Rugby Cup: Does Uncertainty of Outcome Matter in a Multinational Tournament?, European Sports Management Quarterly, 17(3) 2017.


Universidad de la Laboral, Gijon 5th May – Compecon’s Patrick Massey Addresses Gijon Annual Sports Economics Conference.

Patrick Massey presented paper analysing attendances in Rugby Union’s Pro-12 league at Annual Gijon Sports Economics Conference. Paper co-authored with Vincent Hogan of UCD shows that Irish teams recorded faster growth in attendances than teams from Scotland and Wales. The faster attendance growth recorded by the Irish teams appears to be largely due to the fact that they have been more successful and do not face direct competition from top tier soccer clubs.

Dublin 10th May – CCPC Clears VHI Acquisition of Swiftcare Clinics.

The CCPC approved VHI’s acquisition of sole control of the VHI Swiftcare clinics located in Dublin and Cork. The transaction was cleared without conditions following a Phase 1 investigation. The VHI had previously held a 50% share in the business. Compecon advised VHI in relation to the transaction.

International Journal of Sport Finance – Rugby Teams’ Response to Changed Rewards.

In an article co-authored with Dr Vincent Hogan of UCD published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Sport Finance, Compecon’s Patrick Massey analyses the effect of changes in the relative value of different types of scoring in Rugby Union. Economics generally holds that individual and firms respond to incentives. Over time the rules in rugby have changed to increase the value placed on scoring a try relative to other forms of scoring such as penalties or drop goals. In 1889 a converted try was equal to 1.5 penalty goals but by 1993 its value had increased to 2.33 penalty goals as the sport’s administrators sought to encourage more exciting play. The article which analysed results in the Six Nations Championship since 1883 concludes that the changes had a positive effect on the number of tries scored. It also found, however, that the number of penalty goals had also increased suggesting that the rule changes may have had the unintended consequence of encouraging teams to concede penalties rather than more costly tries.

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Teams Responses to Changed Incentives: Evidence from Rugby’s Six Nations Championship, International Journal of Sport Finance, 12(2) May 2017.

Brussels 18th May – EU Commission Fines Facebook €110m for providing misleading information on 2014 WhatsApp Takeover.

The EU Commission announced that it has fined Facebook €110m for providing misleading information in relation to its 2014 takeover of Whatsapp. At the time of the takeover Facebook told the Commission that it would be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts. The Commission decision states that the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility. According to the Commission the possibility of matching did not affect its decision allowing the transaction to proceed.


Dublin 4th July – EU Commission Raids Motor Insurers.

A number of motor insurance providers in Ireland were subject to raids by EU Commission officials investigating allegations of anti-competitive behaviour.


Dublin 10th August – Inching Toward Bus Competition in Dublin.

The National Transport Authority announced that UK bus operator Go-Ahead has been selected as the preferred bidder for the contract relating to the operation of 24 Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus routes in the Dublin metropolitan area. According to the NTA Go-Ahead is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the end of November 2018 and all routes by February 2019.

Paderborn 30th August 2017 – Patrick Massey Presents two Papers at European Sports Economics Association Annual Conference.

The first paper which was o-authored with Dr Vincent Hogan of UCD employed a production frontier model to measure the efficiency of teams in rugby’s Pro-12 league. The model measures how efficient teams are in terms of winning matches given the playing resources available to them. The results indicate that Irish teams were more efficient than most of the other teams with Leinster, Munster and Ulster among the four most efficient teams with efficiency levels in excess of 90%.

A second paper co-authored with Dr Robbie Butler of UCC and Dr Liam Lenten of La Trobe University in Melbourne analysed the impact of bonus points on team behaviour in rugby’s Heineken Cup. The analysis found that bonus points increased the likelihood that teams, particularly home teams would score four tries but reduced the incidence of teams scoring more than four tries suggesting that teams tended to ease off once they achieved the bonus target. Click here to download a copy of this presentation.


Luxembourg 6th September 2017 – CJEU Overturns Intel Ruling on Appeal.

The Court of Justice of the European Union upheld an appeal by Intel against a finding that it had abused its dominant position by paying loyalty rebates to computer manufacturers who used its processors in their products. The Court ruled that the EU Commission “is not only required to analyse, first, the extent of the undertaking’s dominant position on the relevant market and, secondly, the  share of the market covered by the challenged practice, as well as the conditions and arrangements for granting the rebates in question, their duration and their amount; it is also required to assess the possible existence of a strategy aiming to exclude competitors that are at least as efficient as the dominant undertaking from the market.” The Court went on to state that when analysing the capacity of such rebates to foreclose the market it was also necessary to ascertain whether there was an objective justification for such rebates and whether any negative effect on competition might “be counterbalanced, or outweighed, by advantages in terms of efficiency which also benefit the consumer”. This requires an analysis of whether a practice is capable of foreclosing equally efficient competitors.


Luxembourg 20th December 2017 – CJEU Rules that Uber is Providing a Taxi Service.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Uber was a provider of taxi services. The judgement arose following a referral to the Court for a preliminary ruling by Spanish Commercial Court No. 3 in Barcelona in a case brought by a Spanish taxi drivers’ association challenging UBER for providing an unauthorised taxi services. The Spanish Court asked whether UBER should be regarded as information society services, transport services or a combination of both. The CJEU held that, in principle, UBER’s activities met the criteria for classification as an ‘information society service’ within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Directive 98/34 and Article 2(a) of Directive 2000/31. However, the Court went on to rule that an intermediation service such as that provided by UBER, the purpose of which is to connect, by means of a smartphone application and for remuneration, non-professional drivers using their own vehicle with persons who wish to make urban journeys, must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service and, accordingly, must be classified as ‘a service in the field of transport’ within the meaning of Article 58(1) TFEU.

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