Short Reads

General Court annuls European Commission's merger blocking decision in UPS/TNT for procedural errors

General Court annuls European Commission's merger blocking decision in UPS/TNT for procedural errors

General Court annuls European Commission's merger blocking decision in UPS/TNT for procedural errors

04.04.2017 NL law

On 7 March 2017, the General Court ("GC") annulled the decision of the European Commission to block the proposed acquisition of TNT Express ("TNT") by United Parcel Service ("UPS"). The GC found that the Commission had infringed the right of defence of UPS by failing to communicate the final version of the econometric model used in the assessment.

UPS notified the Commission of its proposed acquisition of TNT in 2012. On 30 January 2013, the Commission decided the proposed acquisition was incompatible with the internal market and with the EEA agreement. The Commission decided not to grant approval for the proposed acquisition as it would lead to competitive concerns on the market for express small package delivery services in 15 Member States.

The Commission first estimated the degree of concentration on the market by using an econometric model based on variables recommended by UPS. However, in the later "prediction stage", the Commission used different variables.

UPS appealed the decision at the GC arguing that the Commission had infringed its right of defence. UPS argued that it could not effectively challenge the reliability of the econometric model used by the Commission in its decision, properly analyse the differences between the Commission’s results and its own results, or replicate the Commission's results.

The GC sided with UPS and emphasized that observing the right of the defence is a general principle of EU law which much be guaranteed in all proceedings. The GC noted that the right to a fair hearing "requires that the undertaking concerned must have been afforded the opportunity, during the administrative procedure, to make known its views on the truth and relevance of […] the documents used by the Commission to support its claim."

The GC ruled that the changes made to the final model could not be regarded as negligible. By failing to communicate the final model the Commission had infringed the right of defence of UPS. The GC concluded that UPS might have been better able to defend itself had the final version of the econometric model been at its disposal. Consequently, the GC annulled the decision.

The judgment confirms that parties should be given sufficient opportunity to comment and respond to analyses used by the Commission in merger cases. The parties are unable to refile the concentration as TNT has meanwhile been acquired by FedEx. However, the GC's ruling might form a basis for UPS to claim damages.

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

  1. Court of Justice confirms the fine imposed on Samsung in the cathode ray tubes cartel
  2. Court of Justice rules on the Hearing Officer's competence to resolve confidentiality requests
  3. European Commission proposes a new Directive to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers of EU competition law rules
  4. European Commission launches anonymous whistleblower tool
  5. District Court of Gelderland denies passing-on defense in antitrust litigation related to the GIS-cartel

Team

Related news

09.01.2020 NL law
Deleting WhatsApp chats during dawn raids may cost you dearly

Short Reads - Companies should be aware that the Dutch competition authority (ACM) will not only examine electronic records and emails, but can also check WhatsApp messages during dawn raids. The ACM recently imposed a fine of EUR 1.84 million on a company for non-cooperation with a dawn raid; its highest fine so far for non-cooperation. Several of the company’s employees had left WhatsApp groups and deleted chats before handing over their mobile phones for inspection.

Read more

16.01.2020 NL law
De Amsterdamse milieuzone voor brom- en snorfietsen: voertuigen van een bepaald jaar weren is mogelijk bij ontbreken van een redelijk alternatief

Short Reads - ABRvS 20 november 2019, ECLI:NL:RVS:2019:3865 Deze blog is het vierde deel in een reeks Stibbeblogs over gemeentelijke milieuzones. In 2017 oordeelde de Afdeling over de milieuzone voor personen- en bestelauto’s met dieselmotoren in Utrecht. In 2018 presenteerde de staatssecretaris van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat haar beleid voor harmonisatie van uiteenlopende gemeentelijke milieuzones. Een jaar geleden maakten wij in een FAQ de balans op over de harmonisatie van milieuzones.

Read more

09.01.2020 NL law
Access to the file in Dutch competition procedures: too little too late?

Short Reads - Companies beware: the ACM’s and European Commission’s approach to access to the file are not aligned. According to an interim relief judge, the ACM cannot be forced to grant a company access to a broader set of documents in competition procedures. A potential error in the administrative procedure can be remedied before a court at a later stage. This is different to the right to access to the Commission’s file during administrative procedures, as acknowledged in EU case law.

Read more

10.01.2020 NL law
Is het mededingingsrecht de reddingsboei van zwakke zzp’ers?

Articles - Het toenemende aantal zzp'ers heeft ook mededingingsrechtelijke gevolgen. Volgens de ACM werkt de markt namelijk niet goed als zzp'ers door lage uurtarieven onder het bestaansminimum komen. Jan Truijens Martinez en Simone Evans bespreken in het Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsrecht in Context hoe eventuele belemmeringen die het mededingingsrecht opwerpt bij de bescherming van zzp'ers kunnen worden beperkt en of het mededingingsrecht eigenlijk wel het juiste instrument daarvoor is? 

Read more

09.01.2020 NL law
Competition rules and globalisation to face off in 2020

Short Reads - 2020 will likely revolve around the question whether competition rules should yield to globalisation and digitisation, with suggestions ranging from mere tweaks to competition rules to complementary regulation. Greater cooperation across data protection, consumer protection and competition law appears inevitable. Speedier solutions in more informal settings may become a reality, alongside more frequent use of behavioural remedies.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring