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Mar 16, 2017

USP & TNT Merger * Europe - Court says the European Commission infringed on UPS’s right of defense

* Belgium - Merger in 2013 on procedural missteps

--- The European Union’s second-highest court on Tuesday annulled a 2013 decision by the bloc’s antitrust watchdog to block United Parcel Service Inc.’s $7 billion bid for Dutch parcel-delivery company TNT Express NV on the basis of procedural missteps by the regulator... The general court of the EU said the European Commission had made “non-negligible changes” to the economic analyses previously discussed with UPS but didn’t... American UPS agreed to buy Dutch delivery group TNT Express for €5bn in 2012. After an in-depth probe, then-Competition Commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, blocked the merger in January 2013, citing concerns the deal would have ‘drastically reduced choice’ and likely increase prices for small-parcel delivery in the EU... But the General Court of the EU has now found that the European Commission “infringed UPS’ rights of defence” by basing its final decision on an econometric analysis that had changed from the one discussed with UPS during the process... It is unusual for the bloc's top courts to overturn decisions by the bloc's executive, the European Commission. However, in antitrust cases, the court generally overturns commission decisions primarily on the basis of procedural irregularities... 
(Photo)  --  Brussels, Belgium - The Financial Times (UK), by NATALIA DROZDIAK - March 7, 2017

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