Enforcement Policy And Legislative Developments - Reporting Period: October 02 - December 02

Author:Mr Silvio Venturi
Profession:Tavernier Tschanz
 
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Competition Act. The amendment of the Competition Act submitted by the Swiss Federal Council for parliamentary debate on November 7, 2001, has not yet been enacted by the Swiss Parliament. It has only been approved by the National Council on September 26, 2002. The approval by the States Council is expected in spring 2003. ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL DECISIONSMerger ControlBankingOn October 9, 2002, the FCC cleared the merger among Valiant Holding ("VHB"), IRB Interregio Bank ("IRB") and Luzerner Regiobank AG ("LRB"). The FCC held that the dealing in unlisted shares constitutes a separate products market. Information technologyOn September 25, 2002, the FCC cleared the acquisition by IBM Deutschland ("IBM") of the capital stock of PwC Consulting AG ("PwC), a company held by the partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers AG. As the undertakings concerned were active at the international level, the FCC applied the same products market definitions as the European Commission in the field of IT services (hardware maintenance, software maintenance, business management services, education and training, development and integration services, IT management services and consulting). The FCC particularly focused its investigation on the IT management services and the consulting markets, i.e. where the cumulative market share of the undertakings concerned should likely reach the 20%-30% thresholds. The FCC held that the concentration did not create or strengthen a dominant position of IBM in these markets, as they feature important growth, a high degree of innovation and strong competitive pressure. NewspapersOn December 16, 2002, after a second stage investigation, the FCC cleared the acquisition by the Edipresse group of "La Presse Riviera Chablais" and "La Presse Nord Vaudois", two daily papers which are essentially distributed in some districts of the Canton of Vaud. The FCC considered that the concentration strengthens the dominant position of Edipresse in the market of daily papers distributed in the Canton of Vaud, but not to the extent as to eliminate workable competition. The FCC held that the France-Antilles group Hersant (which publishes and distributes two daily papers in a neighbouring area of the market concerned) as well as the local and regional radio and television broadcasting networks in the Canton of Vaud are in position to exert a durable competitive pressure upon Edipresse. Further, by the end of 2002, Edipresse accepted to lift a contractual prohibition...

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