Short Reads

District Court of Rotterdam upheld ACM's decision to clear lottery merger

District Court of Rotterdam upheld ACM's decision to clear lottery mer

District Court of Rotterdam upheld ACM's decision to clear lottery merger

01.08.2017 NL law

On 27 July 2017, the District Court of Rotterdam dismissed the appeal brought by Lottovate Nederland B.V. and Stichting Speel Verantwoord against the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets' (ACM) clearance decision in the lottery merger. The District Court confirmed that by resorting to a regression analysis the ACM had used an academically sound method to assess the nature and degree of competition between the merging parties. Using this method, the ACM correctly concluded that competition between the merging parties was very limited.

In December 2015, after a Phase II investigation, the ACM cleared the merger between Stichting Exploitatie Nederlandse Staatsloterij (SENS) and Stichting Nationale Sporttotalisator (SNS) [see our January 2016 Newsletter]. According to the ACM, competition between the merging parties was very limited and customers would not easily switch from one party to the other when (sales) conditions changed. This is mainly a result of strict regulation, which required companies in each market segment to apply for a specific licence. As a consequence, every license-holder on the market operates within its own market segment (with its own range of games and target audience) and there are limited incentives to compete with other segments. For these reasons, the ACM concluded that the merger would not significantly impede effective competition on both the lotteries and lottos market, and the potential online market.

Lottovate and Stichting Speel Verantwoord appealed the ACM decision by arguing, among other things, that the ACM (i) erroneously left open the precise market definition and (ii) did not appropriately examine the effects of the merger on the markets for lotteries and lottos.

On the first point, the District Court reiterated that defining the relevant market is a starting point and tool for analysing market power, but it is not a goal in itself. It is established practice for both the ACM and the European Commission to leave open the exact market definition if the concentration does not raise competition concerns under any plausible market delineation. The District Court concluded that the ACM had sufficiently substantiated why the precise market definition could be left open in the case at hand.

On the second point, the District Court found that the ACM had appropriately analysed the market data and concluded on solid grounds that competition between the notifying parties was very limited. The Court found that the appellants arguments against the scope of the ACM's study were unfounded and effectively rebutted by the ACM. The District Court more generally considered the method used by the ACM ('regression analysis') as valuable and academically sound. The accuracy of that method had also been confirmed by an independent economic expert. Furthermore, the ACM sufficiently explained why it chose not to take into account the results of a study into consumer preferences.

Overall, the District Court concluded that the ACM's clearance decision should be upheld.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of August 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Court of Justice dismisses Toshiba's appeal against the gas-insulated switchgear fine
2. Recent enforcement action demonstrates an increasing focus on compliance with procedural EU merger rules
3. Trade and Industry Appeals annuls fine imposed on real estate traders
4. ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of evidence of consumer harm
5. District Court of The Hague rules on ACM's powers to select and inspect digital data

Team

Related news

20.06.2018 NL law
Op weg naar één Europese spoorwegruimte: de aanpassing van de Nederlandse wetgeving aan het Europese recht

Articles - Het zogenaamde 'Vierde Spoorwegpakket' zal belangrijke gevolgen hebben voor de Europese spoorwegruimte. De Nederlandse regering maakt goede vaart met de aanpassing van het nationale recht aan de eisen die uit het Vierde Spoorwegpakket voortvloeien. Inmiddels is een daartoe strekkend wetsvoorstel aanhangig bij de Tweede Kamer. De vaste commissie voor Infrastructuur en Waterstaat heeft eind vorige maand het verslag van haar bevindingen ten aanzien van het wetsvoorstel uitgebracht.

Read more

01.06.2018 EU law
European Court of Justice rules EY did not violate stand-still obligation in Danish merger

Short Reads - On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ernst & Young (EY) did not illegally implement the acquisition of KPMG Denmark (KPMG DK) before obtaining antitrust clearance.  Following the announcement of the transaction, KPMG DK terminated a cooperation agreement. According to the Court, that act cannot be regarded as a violation of the stand-still obligation since it did not contribute to the change of control of the target undertaking.

Read more

20.06.2018 NL law
Naar een volwaardig recht op toegang tot de rechter en een eerlijk proces onder het EVRM?

Articles - Het recht op een toegang tot de rechter en een eerlijk proces van artikel 6 EVRM is één van de hoekstenen van dit verdrag. Naast strafzaken en zaken over bestuurlijke boetes vallen de meeste andere geschillen onder het toepassingsbereik van deze bepaling. Dit omdat er volgens de autonome Straatsburgse uitleg al snel sprake is van een geschil over de vaststelling van ‘civil rights and obligations’ als bedoeld in artikel 6 EVRM.

Read more

05.06.2018 EU law
New EU rules to reduce marine pollution

Articles - Plastic pollution has become a key environmental concern. And it is not surprising why: according to a recent study, of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics that have been produced so far, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of this plastic waste, 79% is accumulating either in landfill sites or in the oceans. Therefore, on 28 May 2018 the EU Commission issued a new draft Directive aimed at tackling marine litter by addressing single use plastic items and abandoned fishing gear.

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring