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ACCC appeals Tribunal’s Tabcorp/Tatts merger authorisation ?>

ACCC appeals Tribunal’s Tabcorp/Tatts merger authorisation

The ACCC has applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the Australian Competition Tribunal’s recent Tabcorp/Tatts merger authorisation decision. Background I outlined the Tribunal’s Tabcorp decision in an earlier blog (Tribunal Clears Tabcorp/Tatts Merger (ACL Blog, 30 June 2017)) and provided some more detailed information and case extracts on my my Tabcorp case page). Briefly the Tribunal has the power to authorise a proposed merger/acquisition (s 95AT) on public benefit grounds, provided satisfied that the ‘proposed acquisition would…

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Tribunal clears Tabcorp/Tatts merger ?>

Tribunal clears Tabcorp/Tatts merger

The Australian Competition Tribunal last week granted authorisation for the proposed Tabcorp/Tatts merger. Legal framework for mergers in Australia The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (s 50) prohibits acquisitions which would have the effect (or likely effect) of substantially lessening competition in any market (with market defined to mean a market for goods or services in Australia or in an Australian State, Territory or region).  There is no obligation for parties to seek competition approval in advance of a merger/acquisition;…

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High Court rules on meaning of ‘Market in Australia’ ?>

High Court rules on meaning of ‘Market in Australia’

The High Court has delivered its second competition law judgment this year (the first was Flight Centre), this time providing some important clarification to the meaning of ‘market in Australia’.  The case revolved around allegations of price fixing in relation to air cargo and was decided by reference to Australia’s (now repealed) price fixing provision (replaced by new cartel laws in 2009).  Despite the fact that the new cartel laws do not require that the market be ‘in Australia’, with…

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Harper Reforms: State of Play ?>

Harper Reforms: State of Play

The Harper recommendations for reform to Australia’s competition laws are being introduced in two stages, with the misuse of market power reforms being debated separately from the remaining reforms. This week the House passed the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016 (after 17 second reading speeches and some significant amendment to the original bill) and introduced the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review ) Bill 2017 containing the remaining key Harper reforms.  Debate on both bills has now been deferred…

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Senate Committee gives green light to effects test ?>

Senate Committee gives green light to effects test

The Senate Economics Committee today recommended passage of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016 which will introduce the Harper Recommendations (frequently abbreviated as the ‘effects test’). I’ve previously posted about the content and merit of the bill and won’t repeat myself here, instead focusing on what the Committee majority and the dissenting Labor Senators, as well as Nick Xenophon (who sort of agrees but wants more to be done) had to say about it. Briefly the…

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Apple goes on the attack ?>

Apple goes on the attack

There has been plenty of media this week generated by Apple’s latest submission in response to the application by four banks to collectively bargain and boycott Apple in relation to Apple Pay. Brief re-cap: the story so far The application The saga began in August 2016 when four banks (Cth, Westpac, NAB, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank) sought authorisation to collectively bargain with and boycott Apple in relation to Apple Pay.  The ACCC may grant authorsiation for conduct that would otherwise contravene the…

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High Court finds for ACCC in Flight Centre appeal ?>

High Court finds for ACCC in Flight Centre appeal

The High Court today handed down its decision in the Flight Centre appeal.  The five High Court judges produced four different sets of reasons.  The majority of four-one (Chief Justice French dissenting) concluded that the ACCC’s appeal ought to be allowed.  They reached this conclusion on substantially the same grounds. The ACCC argued that Flight Centre had attempted to induce Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates not to discount the tickets they sold directly to customers, that Flight Centre was in competition with those…

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Misuse of Market Power Bill introduced ?>

Misuse of Market Power Bill introduced

Misuse of market power bill introduced On the last sitting day of Parliament 2016, and while I was snoozing half way around the world thinking the Parliamentary year had ended without any sign of the Harper Reforms, Treasurer Scott Morrison introduced the Misuse of Market Power bill (or the more mundane Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016) I’m afraid this will be a lengthy post (that was unintended … it got a bit out of control) – the short version…

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New High Court Appointments and competition law ?>

New High Court Appointments and competition law

A competition lawyer’s guide to the new High Court appointments The Prime Minister today announced the appointment of the Honourable Justice Susan Mary Kiefel AC to become the next Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the first female Chief Justice, on 30 January 2017. Justice Kiefel will replace the Honourable Justice Robert French AC (Chief Justice since 2008) following his retirement. The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of a new High Court judge, the Honourable Justice James…

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Harper Exposure Draft Legislation Released ?>

Harper Exposure Draft Legislation Released

The Government today released Exposure Draft legislation (Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016) designed to implement many of the recommendations made as part of the Competition Policy Review (Harper Review) 2014-2015. Consultation – be quick! Interested parties have relatively little time to respond to the draft legislation (which runs to and is accompanied by a 90 page explanatory memorandum), with submissions due by 30 September 2016.  In addition to Treasury’s review of the draft legislation, the ACCC today commenced two consultations on…

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