Moving away from wordpress

5 November, 2011

It is really time consuming to maintain digital presence on all the social networking and other sites, so I have decided to move my blogging to the blog page of the Hungarian Competition Law Research Centre.

On the right side there is a specific RSS feed option only for the blog. See you there!

 


Efficiency defence in EU merger control

1 September, 2011

I have written a short working paper on the proper role of efficiency defence in EU merger control. It is available at SSRN here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1920463.

All comments welcomed.


Amendment of the Hungarian competition Act

19 August, 2011

 

The Hungarian Competition Act (Act LVII of 1996 on the Prohibition of Unfair and Restrictive Market Practices (further on: HCA) was amended in July 2011 with Act Nr. CXV of 2011. The amendments touched upon the deadlines, changing the previous calculation of working days to calendar days. It also introduced special rules for economic organisations defined as having special importance regarding the national economy (further on: economic organisation having special importance). The special rules are that the application for authorisation has to be submitted within a shorter time period. But the most important change is that there is a new provision prescribing that in the case of concentrations concerning economic organisations having special importance, the undertaking acquiring control may before receiving the authorisation of the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, the Hungarian Competition Authority, exercise its controlling rights to the extent that it is necessary to continue the ordinary course of business. This can be limited by the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal.

The amendment of the Competition Act seems to change the tacit understanding of the legal professionals that there was no suspension period in Hungarian merger control. By explicitly saying that there is no suspension period in the case of economic organisations having special importance, the amendment suggests that otherwise there is one. This might have several implications on the work of the law firms in Hungary due to the fact that they might have to change the advising practice.

Below you can find a raw first translation.

Act Nr. CXV of 2011

Article 8 (1) Section 4 shall be added as stated below to Article 28 of the Act LVII of 1996 on the Prohibition of Unfair and Restrictive Market Practices (further on: HCA):

(4) In the case of a concentration in the form of change or acquisition of control of the economic organisation or part of it which is a result of the liquidation of an economic organisation defined as having special importance regarding the national economy (further on: economic organisation having special importance) according to Article 65 of the Act XLIX of 1991 on Bankruptcy and Liquidation Proceedings, the application for authorisation has to be submitted within 15 days after – whichever is earlier – the publication of public offer, the contract or the acquisition of control.

(2) The HCA shall be amended with Article 29/A as follows:

Article 29/A (1) In case of a concentration within the meaning of Article 28 paragraph (4), Article 29 shall be applied with the exception that the undertaking acquiring control may before receiving the authorisation of the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal exercise its controlling rights to the extent it that it is necessary to follow the ordinary course of business.

(2) If according to Article 28 paragraph (4), during the authorisation procedure of a concentration, the sitting Competition Council decides to apply Article 63 paragraph (3) b) according to Article 63 paragraph (4), then in order to preserve the conditions of efficient competition or to mitigate the harmful effects on competition – with regard to the interest of the undertakings and the taking into consideration as far as possible the interest in continuation of the daily business activity – the controlling powers may be simultaneously restricted, subjected to conditions or commitments (further on together as restriction on control) until the final decision. Any transaction violating the ban on exercising control shall be deemed as void.

(3) Article 30 of the HCA shall be amended with paragraph 6 as follows:

(6) When deciding on the application for authorisation of a concentration within the meaning of Article 28 paragraph (4), account shall also be taken of the competitive effects arising due to the use of controlling rights according to Article 29/A paragraphs (1) and (2). In its decision the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal shall also state whether the exercise of the controlling powers by the acquirer of control was in compliance with Article 29/A and with the restrictions imposed by the decision on the restriction on the controlling powers.

(4) Article 63 paragraph (3) of the HCA shall be amended as follows:

(3) In the course of the control of a concentration by undertakings the resolution concluding the proceeding shall be adopted after the receipt of the complete application or the completion of the application, the time limit starting on the following day,

a) within 45 days, where

aa) there is no concentration pursuant to Articles 23 or 25, or

ab) the thresholds in Article 24 are not reached, or

ac) granting authorisation for the concentration may clearly not be refused pursuant to Article 30 paragraph (2);

b) in cases not mentioned in point a)

ba) in a case according to Article 28 (4) within 3 month,

bb) in all other cases within four month.

shall be adopted.

(5) Article 63 paragraph (6) of the HCA shall be amended as follows:

(6) The time limit for the execution period in duly justified cases may be prolonged:

a) in cases according to paragraph (2) a) twice with maximum two month each time,

b) in cases according to paragraph (2) b) twice with maximum six month each time,

c) in cases according to paragraph (2) c) with maximum two month,

d) in case according to paragraph (3) a) with 20 days,

e) in case according to paragraph (3) ba) with maximum 20 days,

f) in case according to paragraph (3) bb) with maximum two month.


Conference: Competition law and sport

21 July, 2011

On 29-30 September 2011 a conference will be hosted in Budapest about the legal issues of the sport industry. The first day of the conference is devoted solely to competition law issues.

More information is available (and registration possible) here. www.sportjog.com.

You can download the flyer here:


Not yet published and automated translations

14 July, 2011

In the judgement of the General Court it is written in para 32 that:

“In this respect, it should be recalled that it is not until the beginning of the inter partes administrative stage that the undertaking concerned is informed, by means of the notification of the statement of objections, of all the essential evidence on which the Commission relies at that stage of the procedure and that that undertaking has a right of access to the file in order to ensure that its rights of defence are effectively exercised. Consequently, the replies to the statement of objections of the other undertakings alleged to have participated in the cartel are not, in principle, included in the documents of the investigation file that the parties may consult (Case T‑161/05 Hoechst v Commission [2009] ECR II‑3555, paragraph 163).”

The Hungarian at EURLEX sais that this judgement was not yet published… what a pitty…


Third Annual Conference on Competition Enforcement in the Recently Acceded Member State

9 April, 2011

One month to go until this year’s annual conference.

This year the annual conference concentrating on competition policy in the new Member States is going to be organised in Warsaw on the 10th of May 2011. The conference is co-organised by the Hungarian Competition Law Research Centre, University of Reading and the Lazarski University under the auspices of UOKiK.

This conference is following from last year’s very successful conference in Brno and the year before in Budapest.

Countries that recently acceded to the European Union have long history with competition law. Most of these countries also represent smaller, open market economies, which have faced a rapid privatisation process. Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary have also endured several common historical events that make them face similar market situations and problems including inter alia excessive pricing, bid rigging, refusal to access as well as issues related to the current financial crisis.

The conferences in previous years have involved many practitioners, public officials and academics from several countries (See the programs: Budapest and Brno). With this year’s program we follow this tradition.

You can see the program here.

The event is sponsored by Hansberry Competition, Wardyński & Partners, White & Case and Wierzbowski Eversheds.


Two thoughts on competition and regulation

19 March, 2011

There is convergence between US antitrust law and EU competition law. But looking and the case law of the courts we have the feeling that we will have quite large differences remaining on some issues. This is clearly and partly the result of the different theoretical assessment of some market structure issues.

Two thoughts I happened to read recently concerning economic crisis and regulation are worthy to share.

“We are leaning [from the crisis] that we need a more active and intelligent government to keep our model of a capitalist economy from running off the rails. The movement to deregulate the financial industry went too far by exaggerating the resilience – the self-healing powers – of laissez-faire capitalism.” Posner, Richard A.: A failure of capitalism : the crisis of ’08 and the descent into depression. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2009) xii.

“The depression is a failure of capitalism, or more precisely of a certain kind of capitalism (“laissez-faire” in a loose sense, “American” versus “European” in a popular sense), and of capitalism’s biggest boosters.” Posner, Richard A.: A failure of capitalism : the crisis of ’08 and the descent into depression. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2009) 260.


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