On October 26, 2007 the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) entered into a settlement agreement with Owens Corning regarding its proposed acquisition of the glass fiber reinforcements and composite fabric assets of Compagnie de Saint Gobain (Saint Gobain). The complaint accompanying the consent agreement asserts that the deal reduces competition in the North American market for continuous filament mat (“CFM”) products. Under the terms of the consent order that would resolve the Commission’s charges and allow the deal to proceed, Owens Corning must divest its North American CFM to AGY Holding Company within 10 days of completing its acquisition of the Saint Gobain assets.
On October 24, 2007, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it will require two of the nation's largest newsprint manufacturers – Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. and Bowater Inc.– to divest a newsprint mill in Arizona. As originally laid out, the DOJ alleged that the $1.6 billion transaction would have considerably hampered competition in the production and sale of newsprint in North America.
On November 13, 2007, the Department of Justice announced that it reached a settlement that will require Vulcan Materials Company and Florida Rock Industries Inc. to divest eight quarries that produce coarse aggregate in Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia and one distribution yard in Virginia in order to proceed with their proposed $4.6 billion merger. The Department claimed that the original proposed acquisition likely would result in higher prices for purchasers of coarse aggregate in certain areas.
The Spanish Government announced on October 8, 2007, that it will bring an action before the Court of First Instance against the Commission’s decision to fine Telefónica. The Spanish Government believes that the Commission’s decision does not respect the Spanish telecoms regulator’s ("CMT") competencies.
On October 8, 2007, the European Commission (the “Commission”) initiated Phase II proceedings into the proposed acquisition of Reuters by Thomson. The in-depth assessment affords the Commission the opportunity to further examine the impact on competition of the proposed acquisition on the affected markets, notably for the supply of financial information.
GERMAN FEDERAL SUPREME COURT REFERS THE BKARTA’S SPRINGER/PROSIEBEN-SAT1 MERGER PROHIBITIONDECISION BACK TO THE HIGHER REGIONAL COURT DÜSSELDORF
In a recent judgment dated September 30, 2007, the Federal Supreme Court held that even after parties abandon their merger plans due to a prohibition decision by the German Federal Cartel Office ("BKartA"), German courts hold jurisdiction to rule on the question as to whether the BKartA was right to prohibit the proposed merger. The parties do, however, need to demonstrate a special interest in such a court review. The Federal Supreme Court acknowledged that such an interest arises in particular if the purchaser is likely to be confronted with similar arguments by the BKartA that led to the relevant prohibition when notifying potential future acquisitions.