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Bigger Is Better. . .Or Maybe Not: The Siemens/Alstom Railway Merger

The European Commission recently reaffirmed that industrial policy objectives have no role to play when it comes to applying the EU merger control rules. Despite unusually intense industrial and political pressure to get the Siemens/Alstom railway merger done, Competition Commissioner Vestager has forcefully reiterated that the substantive test under the EU Merger Regulation remains exclusively competition based. Read the full article.

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Overview of the Proposed Reforms of the EU Merger Control Regime

In the past couple of years, the European Commission has decided to review and evaluate the functioning of different aspects of the EU merger control regime regulated by EU Regulation No. 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (the EU Merger Regulation), its implementing regulation and related notices and guidelines. The process started in 2014 when the Commission adopted a White Paper titled “Towards More Effective EU Merger Control” (the White Paper), which presented the Commission’s view that EU merger control worked well and that no fundamental overhaul of the system was needed. The Commission did, however, identify specific amendments to the EU Merger Regulation to make it more effective. In the wake of the positive feedback it received during the consultation it organised following the publication of the White Paper, the Commission launched another public consultation in October 2016 on the “Evaluation of...

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Significant Number of Dawn Raids Shows Increased Antitrust and Criminal Law Enforcement in Italian Pharmaceutical Sector

On 27 November, the Italian Competition Authority dawn raided a major South African company for alleged excessive pricing of its oncology products in Italy. According to a complaint by one of the most active consumer associations in Italy, the group would have required the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) to align the price of its products, which are covered by the National Health Service (NHS), with the higher prices applied in other European countries, threatening the withdrawal of the products from the Italian market. This new investigation is just the latest of many dawn raids that have taken place in Italy throughout 2014 relating to alleged bid rigging and other antitrust and criminal law infringements by pharmaceutical companies, including their participation in public tenders for the supply of products to the NHS. The significant number of dawn raids this year shows increased antitrust and criminal law enforcement in Italy in the pharmaceutical sector....

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Merger Control Notifications in Several EU Member States – Best Practices on Cooperation Between Competition Authorities

by Martina Maier and Philipp Werner The European Union’s (EU) national competition authorities (NCA) and the European Commission have agreed upon best practices on cooperation in cross-border mergers.  The best practices’ stated aim is to enhance cooperation in merger cases where the European Commission Merger Regulation does not apply and the merger needs to be notified in more than one EU Member State.The best practices follow a public consultation on draft best practices started earlier this year. The best practices do not make cooperation between NCAs compulsory. The merging parties will not be able to insist that NCAs should cooperate in a multi-jurisdictional filing. Rather, NCAs will apply them in cases where they think cooperation could be beneficial for the NCAs, the merging parties and third parties, in particular where the merger raises similar comparable jurisdictional or substantive questions and concerns similar or the same...

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Cooperation Between Competition Authorities in Merger Review in the EU

by Philipp Werner and Christoph Voelk The European Commission started a public consultation on a draft document which seeks to establish best practices on cooperation between national competition authorities (NCAs) in the EU when reviewing mergers.  Although cooperation between NCAs exists already, especially through the European Competition Network (ECN), the best practices seek to formalize the cooperation between NCAs and thus providing more security and predictability for the parties and their legal advisers. The best practices should enhance cooperation between NCAs in cases where the same merger is assessed by several NCAs because it does not meet the thresholds for review under the EU Merger Regulation.  The Commission considers cooperation between NCAs as beneficial not only for the authorities but also for the merging parties:  it will speed up the investigation process, reduce burdens on the merging parties and may help NCAs in...

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