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2019


Dublin 21st January – CCPC clears acquisition of Greene Farm

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission announced that it had cleared the proposed acquisition of Greene Farm Fine Foods by Goldreed without conditions. Both parties are engaged in the supply of processed cooked meats. Compecon advised the parties on the transaction.


Brussels 6th February – EU Commission Blocks Siemens’ Proposed Acquisition of Alstrom.

The EU Commission announced that it had taken a decision under the EU Merger Regulation prohibiting Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstrom. The Commission stated: “The merger would have created the undisputed market leader in some signalling markets and a dominant player in very high-speed trains. It would have significantly reduced competition in both these areas, depriving customers, including train operators and rail infrastructure managers of a choice of suppliers and products.” The parties failed to put forward remedies that were capable of addressing the Commission’s concerns.


Dublin 6th February – CCPC accepts Panda commitments in relation to Knockharley Landfill acquisition.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission announced that it had cleared the proposed acquisition by Pandagreen Limited (Panda) of a landfill located at Knockharley, County Meath, having received binding commitments from Panda in relation to the operation of the landfill. These include a commitment that capacity at the Knockharley Landfill would be made available for both disposal and recovery uses by third party operators, and that a cap would apply to Panda’s use of the existing capacity at another landfill at Ballynagran, County Wicklow. Compecon advised Panda in relation to the transaction.


Brussels 5th March – EU Commission Announces €368 Million Fine for Car Safety Equipment Cartel. Three companies had taken part in two cartels for the supply of car seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to European car producers. According to the Commission all three undertakings acknowledged their involvement in the cartel. The Commission fined two of the undertakings – Autoliv and TRW – a total of € 368,277,000 A third undertaking – Takata  – was not fined as it revealed the cartels to the Commission.


Dublin/London 5th March – Cross-border Dairy Merger cleared in Ireland and UK.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and UK Competition and Markets Authority both announced that they had cleared the proposed merger of dairy co-ops Lakeland and LacPatrick Dairies unconditionally following a Phase 1 review. According to news media reports the merged entity will be the second-largest dairy processor on the island of Ireland with a cross-Border milk pool of 1.8 billion litres produced by 3,200 farms with a combined turnover of €1 billion. The fact that the parties operate in both the Republic and Northern Ireland but were below the EU Merger Regulation thresholds meant that the transaction had to be notified and approved by both the Irish and UK competition authorities. Compecon advised the parties in relation to the transaction.


Brussels 20th March – EU Commission Imposes €1.49 Billion Fine on Google for Abuse of Dominance.

The EU Commission announced that it had imposed a fine of €1.49 billion on Google for abusing its dominant position. The Commission press release stated: “Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.” It is the third fine imposed on Google by the Commission for abusing a dominant position in two years.


Gijon May 2019 – Compecon’s Director Presents Paper at Gijon Sports Conference.

Patrick Massey presented a paper analysing the financial success of cricket’s Indian Premier League at the XIV Gijon Annual Sports Economics Conference.


Dublin 10th July – CCPC Clears Laundry Acquisition Subject to Conditions in Longest Merger Investigation.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission announced that it had decided to clear Berendsen’s acquisition of King’s Laundry subject to conditions following its longest ever merger investigation. The transaction was notified to the CCPC on 7th August 2018. The transaction was cleared after Berendsen submitted legally binding commitments that a set of contracts with healthcare customers that were serviced by Berendsen prior to the proposed transaction would be sold to another supplier, approved by the CCPC, to ensure sufficient competition remains in the healthcare market. The Sale must be completed before the merger can go ahead. Compecon advised Berendsen in this case.


Brussels 18th July – EU Commission fines Qualcomm for predatory pricing.

The EU Commission has fined Qualcomm €242 million having found that the US company had engaged in predatory pricing. According to the Commission, Qualcomm sold chipsets to two large customers at prices which did not cover their cost of manufacture with the explicit aim of forcing smaller competitors out of the market.


Luxembourg 30th July – CJEU Clears Way for National Cases Against Truck Cartel Participants.

The Court of Justice has ruled that an action for damages by a Hungarian firm against DAF trucks could be decided by Hungarian courts even though the meetings at which truck manufacturers fixed prices had taken place in Germany. The judgement opens the door for Irish entities who bought trucks from members of the cartel between 1997 and 2011 to pursue claims for damages through the Irish courts.  


Brussels 2nd August – EU Commission Concludes that Ryanair Benefitted from Illegal State Aid on Services to Montpellier Airport. The EU Commission ruled that approximately €8.5 million paid to Ryanair and its subsidiary AMS for promoting Montpellier on its website constituted illegal State Aid and has ordered the French government to recover this money. Ryanair has indicated that it will appeal the decision.


Dublin 11th September – US antitrust action has tech companies sweating on their home turf

Karlin Lillington criticises lack of action by US Federal antitrust agencies to tackle tech giants such as Google and Facebook in today’s Irish Times. Last Monday, however, 50 States Attorneys General announced that they were launching a combined investigation into Google. While commentators on this side of the Atlantic tend to focus on action at federal level in the US, it is important to remember that State antitrust laws are also important. An article by economist Carl Shapiro in the latest issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives points out that the lack of Federal enforcement action is due, at least in part, to the fact that conservative courts have steadily scaled back the scope of US antitrust laws over the past 20 years making it much more difficult to take action against dominant firms. He suggests that actions are more likely to be brought under EU competition law. The Shapiro article was one of several in a symposium on antitrust and can be found at https://lnkd.in/dRg37eK


London 24th September – Sage Handbook of Sports Economics Published.

Compecon Director Patrick Massey contributed a chapter entitled “Rugby Union’s Late Conversion to Professionalism: An Economic Perspective” to the recently published Sage Handbook of Sports Economics.

For more information on this publication click image.


Le Monde 18th November – Saracens Breach Premiership Rugby Salary Cap.

Report in today’s Le Monde on Saracen’s alleged breach of Premiership Rugby salary cap cites work by Compecon Director Patrick Massey and Dr Vincent Hogan of UCD on sports economics and salary caps. Rugby: une coupe d’Europe sous pression pour les Saracens

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