The EU’s Court of First Instance overturned on 22 October a decision by the Commission’s Competition Authority to bar a merger between French companies Schneider and Legrand.
The Court of First Instance annuled the Commission’s decision because “the Commission’s economic analysis is vitiated by errors and omissions which deprive it of probative value…”. However, the Court does not as such authorise the merger.
Four months ago, the Court overturned another Commission decision to block the merger between the UK travel groups Airtours and First Choice (see
It remains to be seen if these rulings will have any implications on the EU’s current review of its merger rules. Critics of the EU’s merger rules say that the fundamental flaw of the European merger procedure lies in the fact that the Commission’s competition authority is undertaking both the investigation and the decision to halt a merger. In the US system, the merger authority has to prove its cases in court before deals are blocked.