Pushing people around is the flavour of the month right now. Indeed, both companies and regulators seem to be going in for it. Take the music industry, for instance. The US entertainment giant AEG has just bought up the rights for the Wembley Arena, previously owned by that other humungous US impresario, Live Nation. AEG…

BIS Reform: Opt–out Collective Actions Regime On the 21st of January the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (“BIS”) released the results of its consultation on competition law private litigation, confirming the introduction of a limited opt-out collective actions regime for consumer competition claims. The UK has traditionally opposed the introduction of an ‘opt out’…

On 21st December 2012, the Supreme Court granted permission to Morgan Crucible to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, delivered in July, concerning the time limits for bringing follow-on claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). Court of Appeal’s Judgment By its judgment the Court of Appeal shed light on the limitation…

On 19 November 2012, the OFT appointed Lee Craddock, a former police officer and case manager at the Serious Fraud Office, as Director of Investigations and Criminal Enforcement.  His appointment follows the disastrous handling of the criminal price fixing case against British Airways (BA) executives in 2010, one of only two prosecutions of the cartel…

Right now, the leitmotif in the competition world is the anger of the ordinary citizen. You thought this was an arena dominated by sober minded analysts, regulators and business executives? Think again. Take, for instance, the investigation into Britain’s retail road fuel industry – worth about £32bn – currently being conducted by the UK’s Office…

In early July this year, the UK’s specialist competition court, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”), adopted a judgment (“Judgment”) in which it awarded a claimant (2 Travel) exemplary damages in relation to predatory pricing abuses engaged in by its dominant rival, Cardiff Bus.1)2 Travel Group PLC (in liquidation) v Cardiff City Transport Services Limited {2012}…

The Office of Fair Trading’s (“OFT”) long-running Dairy investigation has been plagued by controversies right from the outset.  Allegations have been made by the OFT and subsequently withdrawn, the scope of the investigation has been progressively narrowed and the OFT has even had to pay Morrisons £100,000 to settle a libel claim.   Against this backdrop,…

In 2007, the European Commission prohibited Ryanair’s attempted hostile bid to acquire rival Irish airline, Aer Lingus. It also refused to order Ryanair to divest its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus, which it had built up during its aborted public bid. The General Court later upheld both the prohibition of the merger and the refusal to require divestment of the minority shareholding. Subsequently, the UK Office of Fair Trading investigated Ryanair’s minority shareholding in Aer Lingus; Ryanair’s challenges to the OFT’s jurisdiction were rejected by both the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. On 1 June the Supreme Court refused Ryanair leave to appeal, thus confirming the OFT’s ability to investigate the transaction, which it referred to the Competition Commission on 15 June. However, immediately thereafter, Ryanair launched a third hostile bid to acquire Aer Lingus, leading to further litigation before the CAT to challenge the Competition Commission’s jurisdiction.
This blog post examines the complex interaction of European Commission and national authority jurisdiction to examine different transactions involving the same parties, as well as the OFT’s reasons for referring Ryanair’s minority shareholding to the Competition Commission.