December 2006Antitrust &Competition InsightIn association with Hogan & Hartson LLPIssue 4
ContentsForeword2European M&A Antitrust: A Round-up of 20063Aer Lingus/Ryanair: A Tumultuous Irish Affair9North American M&A Antitrust:a Round-up of 200612Regional Round-Ups18Private Equity Firms and the DOJ22Live Deals Timetable23Part of The Mergermarket Groupwww.mergermarket.com91 Brick LaneLondon, E1 6QLUnited Kingdom895 Broadway #4New York, NY 10003USASuite 2001Grand Millennium Plaza181 Queen’s Road, CentralHong Kongt: 44 (0)20 7059 6100f: 44 (0)20 7059 [email protected]: 1 212 686-5606f: 1 212 [email protected]: 852 2158 9700f: 852 2158 [email protected]
ForewordWelcome to this fourth edition of the Antitrust & Competition Insight – brought to you bymergermarket in association with international law firm Hogan & Hartson LLP.This report aims to supply an update on key deals and issuesaffecting M&A activity in North America, Europe and beyond.We hope that this quarterly newsletter will provide corporate,advisory and investor readers with timely, informed andobjective intelligence.In addition, the Antitrust & Competition Insight leverages offmergermarket’s sister company dealReporter – bringing youa listing of live deals sitting with the regulatory authorities.Furthermore the report provides features and case studiesthat explore and help resolve many of the problems facedby corporations and bankers when conducting M&A andavoiding unnecessary antitrust and competition complicationsin their daily operations.In the first article Marceline Tournier of Hogan & Hartsongives a round up of the key European M&A antitrust issuesin 2006 in terms of deals and legislative changes. Likewise,on page 12 Joseph Krauss, Hogan & Hartson partner, sumsup the major North American antitrust issues from thisyear. Meanwhile Sandra Pointel, dealReporter’s regulatorycorrespondent, profiles Ryanair’s hostile bid for Aer Lingusand the subsequent antitrust issues that have arisen at EU – Antitrust & Competition Insight mergermarket 2006level. Also in this edition of the newsletter are mergermarketregional round ups of various antitrust issues across theglobe, which can be found on page 18.In the final article of this edition on page 22, Hogan & HartsonAntitrust Chair, Philip Larson, examines the Departmentof Justice’s probe and related private litigation regardingprivate equity firm “club deals” and other “going private”transactions.We hope you find this fourth edition of interest, and welcomeany feedback you might have for the forthcoming newsletterin March.Hogan & Hartson Antitrust,Competition & Consumer Protection GroupPhilip C. LarsonChairWashington D.C.Catriona HattonDirectorBrusselsJohn PheasantDirectorLondon/BrusselsSharis Arnold PozenDirectorWashington D.C.
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006Merger DecisionsIncreased merger and acquisition activity in Europe led to anumber of interesting European Commission (Commission)merger decisions reviewed pursuant to the EC MergerRegulation (ECMR).O2/TelefónicaOn 10 January 2006, the Commission cleared the proposedacquisition by the UK mobile telecommunications operatorO2, of the Spanish fixed and mobile telecommunicationsoperator Telefónica, after a first phase (Phase I) investigation.The clearance was subject to behavioural remedies in respectof international roaming services.Telefónica was a member of the international roamingservices alliance, FreeMove, along with three other of thelargest EEA incumbents France Télécom (Orange), TelecomItalia (TIM) and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile).Adidas/ReebokO2 was a member of the Starmap alliance, along with smallernetwork operators.The Commission approved the acquisition of the US Reebokby the German Adidas–Salomon on 24 January 2006, after aPhase I investigation.The Commission was concerned that the acquisition wouldresult in O2 moving to FreeMove or aligning its behaviourwith FreeMove, resulting in reduced opportunities forStarmap members and independent network operators toexchange roaming traffic in Germany and the UK, whichcould lead to increased prices.The two parties are global suppliers of sports and leisureequipment, footwear and clothing. The Commission wasnot concerned by the creation of a leading European andworldwide group because the parties would face significantcompetitors with strong brands and market shares.Telefónica committed to leave the FreeMove alliance, andundertook to not rejoin FreeMove without the Commission’sprior consent.E.ON/EndesaThe Commission’s focus on roaming alliances was surprisingto some industry commentators, particularly as the futureof these alliances and their role in the marketplace may bedifficult to predict.The Commission cleared E.ON’s public takeover bid forEndesa in a Phase I decision on 25 April 2006.E.ON, headquartered in Germany, was active in thegeneration, transmission and supply of electricity and gas inEurope (but not Spain) and the United States. The Spanishelectricity operator Endesa, was active in Portugal, France,Italy, Germany, South America and North Africa. Endesa wasalso active in the Spanish gas sector.The Commission’s market investigation indicated thatrelevant energy markets remained predominately national.Antitrust & Competition Insight – mergermarket 2006
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006The Commission did not identify any competition concerns onthe basis that E.ON was not a likely entrant in Spain, and anyincreases in overlapping electricity market shares were minor.The Commission’s relatively straightforward clearance of thistakeover was in stark contrast to the controversial involvementand role of the Spanish authorities in their attempts to frustrateand complicate the takeover.T-Mobile Austria/tele.ringThe Commission cleared T-Mobile Austria’s proposedacquisition of the Austrian mobile telephone operator tele.ringon 26 April 2006 after an in-depth (Phase II) investigation, onthe condition that the combined entity would divest certaintele.ring UMTS frequencies and mobile telephony sites.The Commission found that the proposed acquisition wouldlead to the significant impediment of competition in theAustrian market for the provision of mobile telephony servicesto final consumers.Inco/FalconbridgeFollowing a Phase II investigation and an agreed divestiturepackage, the Commission approved Inco’s proposedacquisition of Falconbridge on 4 July 2006.T-Mobile and tele.ring were the number two and four playersout of a total of five Austrian mobile network operators. Theleading player was Mobilkom.Inco and Falconbridge are Canadian companies active inthe mining, processing, refining and sale of various metals,including nickel and cobalt.The Commission noted that tele.ring was a particularly activecompetitor in respect of price, and exerted considerablepressure on T-Mobile and Mobilkom. This decision isan interesting example of the Commission identifyinga “maverick”, whose impact on competition may besubstantially more significant than its market position. TheCommission also noted that the removal of tele.ring from themarket would lead to two remaining large comparably sizednetwork operators (T-Mobile and Mobilkom).The Commission identified concerns in respect of thesupply of nickel in the EEA to the plating and electroformingindustry, and the supply of high purity nickel used in superalloys and high purity cobalt for super alloys used in safetycritical parts (e.g. for aircraft engines) on the global markets.The Commission concluded that the elimination of a mainalternative supplier in the relevant sectors would decreasecustomer choice and could lead to increased prices.T-Mobile agreed to divest UMTS frequencies and mobiletelephone sites to smaller competitors, including twoUMTS frequencies to the new entrant, H3G (a subsidiary ofHutchinson). The divestiture to H3G as aimed at enabling itto compete in Austria without relying on a national roamingagreement with Mobilkom. – Antitrust & Competition Insight mergermarket 2006The Commission noted that claimed upstream marketefficiencies were unlikely to be passed downstream tocustomers.The parties agreed to sell Falconbridge’s Nikkelverk refinery inNorway with related assets to LionOre, an international miningcompany already active in the nickel sector. The Commissionapproved LionOre as a purchaser, on the basis that it wouldbecome an independent and viable competitor in the nickeland cobalt sectors.
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006Gas de France/SuezPursuant to a Phase II investigation and a substantial remediespackage, the Commission cleared the merger of Gaz de France(GDF) with Suez on 14 November 2006. The agreed remedieswere consistent with the aims of the Commission’s ongoingenergy sector inquiry (see below), which has highlighted theneed for ownership unbundling, and separation of supply andinfrastructure in the electricity and gas sectors.GDF is the incumbent gas operator in France, and had jointcontrol of SPE, the second largest player in the Belgian gasand electricity market. In Belgium Suez was the incumbentgas operator (Distrigaz) and electricity operator (Electrabel),and controlled gas infrastructure (Fluxys). In France, Suez wasa new entrant in the gas and electricity sectors.Alcatel/LucentThe Commission cleared the proposed merger of the Frenchcompany Alcatel and the US firm Lucent Technologiespursuant to a Phase I decision on 24 July 2006. Nocommitments were required.Both undertakings were active in the supply oftelecommunications equipment and services to worldwidecommunications network operators.In particular, the Commission reviewed the impact of thepotential merger on the supply of optical networking productswhich are used for long distance transmission, and broadbandaccess solutions.The Commission determined that despite the significantcombined market shares post merger, these product areaswould remain competitive due to the presence of theremaining effective competitors, and the countervailing buyerpower of the network operator customers. The presence ofcountervailing buyer power is typical of bidding markets.The Commission initiated a Phase II investigation in June2006, as it had identified significant competition concerns.The merged entity would combine the supply activities ofthe two main Belgian gas and electricity operators, combinetwo out of the three main French gas operators, controlthe majority of French and Belgian gas imports, and controlessential infrastructure.The Commission identified a number of concerns in Franceand Belgium, including the removal of the competitive forcewhich the parties had increasingly exerted upon each other,and the structure and integration of the gas and electricitysectors.The remedies package included Suez’s divesture of Distrigazto a third party to be approved by the Commission, GDF’sdivesture of its 50% shareholding in SPE, the reorganisationof Fluxys and relinquished control over the Fluxys regulatedactivities. It also included a number of other commitmentsincluding investment projects.Antitrust & Competition Insight – mergermarket 2006
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006Sector InquiriesThe Commission launched a number of sector inquiries in2005, pursuant to Article 17 of Regulation 1/2003, and theseinquiries have progressed in 2006.Energy Sector Inquiry UpdateThe Commission launched its inquiry into competition in thegas and electricity sectors in 2005.A preliminary report was published on 16 February 2006identifying market concentration at the wholesale levels,vertical foreclosure preventing new entry, limited cross-bordertrade and lack of information transparency.The final report with potential legislative, structural andenforcement recommendations is expected in early 2007.Policy ReviewsFinancial Services Sector InquiryThe Commission opened inquiries in 2005 into the retailbanking sector, focusing on market fragmentation andbarriers to competition, and the business insurance sector,focusing on characteristics of the sector, the behaviour ofmarket players including the nature of horizontal and verticalrelationships and barriers to market entry.During the course of 2006, the Commission progressed itsreform of state aid and Article 82 of the EC Treaty.State Aid ReviewThe Commission split out the retail banking sector inquiry into(1) current accounts and related services, and (2) paymentcards, and published interim reports on 17 July 2006 and 12April 2006, respectively.State aid refers to benefits provided directly or indirectly bya national, regional or local government to companies. Incertain circumstances state aid is viewed as anti-competitiveas it may give a company an unfair competitive advantage.State aid can take a number of forms including direct grants,tax breaks and loan guarantees.The interim reports set out the results of the Commission’sfactual findings and understanding of the industries andinvited comments thereon. The interim report on paymentcards focused comparatively more on profitability andrevenues.In February 2006, the Commission published the results ofits consultation on the State Aid Action Plan (launched inJune 2005), which aims to reform state aid rules in order toimprove administration and procedures, and introduce a moreeconomic based approach.In 2006 the Commission conducted its fact finding exerciseinto business insurance.On 19 July, the Commission adopted Risk Capital Guidelineswhich provide guidance on when state aid for risk capitalinvestment in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) willbe compatible with state aid rules. The guidelines capture jointfunding by the state and private investors in SMEs who are atan early stage of development. These guidelines form part of awave of measures intended to reflect a more refined economicbalance, and simplify the application of state aid rules. – Antitrust & Competition Insight mergermarket 2006
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006On 24 October 2006 the Commission adopted a new “blockexemption regulation” on regional investment state aid,which will apply from 1 January 2007. The Commissionconsiders block exemption regulations useful tools forreducing administrative burden on Member States and theCommission. The regional investment block exemption seeksto simplify notification procedures and exempt a greaternumber of regional investment aid schemes.On 22 November 2006, the Commission adopted a newframework to clarify how Member States may provide aidto research, development and innovation projects withoutinfringing state aid rules.Other legislation is also being reviewed, such as the deminimis regulation which exempts state aid below a definedthreshold.Article 82 ReviewIn 2005, the Commission began a review of Article 82, the ECTreaty provision dealing with abuses by dominant companiesresulting in the exclusion of competition. The Commission’sreview focuses on abusive conduct that aims to excludecompetitors from the market (exclusionary conduct) anddoes not yet cover so-called “exploitative” or discriminatoryabuses.The Commission progressed its review in 2006, includingholding a public hearing in June 2006. The Commission aimsto introduce a more economics based approach to Article 82enforcement but its proposed approach as regards certaintypes of potentially exclusionary conduct, such as fidelityrebates, remains controversial. Furthermore, the Commissioncan only review the application of Article 82, but it cannotrevise its normative content. Therefore, the results of theCommission’s review remain subject to the European Courts’own interpretation of Article 82 in future, and this will notnecessarily coincide with that of the Commission.Legislative DevelopmentsDraft Jurisdictional Merger Control GuidanceOn 28 September 2006, the Commission launched a publicconsultation on draft guidelines (notice) clarifying theCommission’s current practices when dealing with mergercontrol jurisdictional issues.Where concentrations (mergers) meet defined financialthresholds and other criteria, these must be notified to theCommission pursuant to the ECMR.Once adopted, the new notice will replace the four individual1998 notices on what constitutes a notifiable concentration,what constitutes a notifiable full function joint venture,which undertakings to consider when assessing a notifiableconcentration, and the calculation of turnover for determiningwhether a concentration meets the ECMR financialthresholds.The draft notice aims to be more user-friendly, and to reflectcase law development on jurisdictional issues and changesresulting from the revision of the ECMR in 2004.The Commission aims to finalise and adopt the noticetowards the beginning of 2007.Antitrust & Competition Insight – mergermarket 2006
European M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006New Guidelines for Fines for Cartel ActivitiesThe Commission adopted new guidelines for setting finesfor companies found guilty of participating in cartel activitiescontrary to Article 81 EC Treaty (Article 81), on 28 June 2006.The new guidelines replace the 1998 guidelines and aim toincrease the deterrent effect of fines.Pursuant to Regulation 1/2003, companies infringing Article81 may be fined up to 10% of their total preceding year’sturnover. Within this limit, the new guidelines allow for finesup to 30% of a company’s annual sales to which the cartelactivity relates to, multiplied by the number of years theinfringement took place.The Commission may also add a so-called “entry fee”, basedon 15–25% of relevant yearly sales, for “entering” the cartelin the first place.New Leniency NoticeOn 7 December 2006, the Commission adopted a revisednotice on immunity from and reduction of fines in cartelcases. The leniency notice came into force on 8 December2006.The new notice introduces a number of changes includingclarity on the information and evidence required forleniency applications, clarification on the level of continuouscooperation required and the preservation of information,the introduction of a discretionary marker system wherebyan applicant’s place for leniency may be preserved whilst itsearches for the requisite evidence (the level of immunityis usually determined by the order of applications with acompetition authority), and procedures for protecting thedisclosure of corporate statements given by companies underthe leniency notice from claimants pursuing civil damages.The leniency notice does not clarify the overlapping rolesof the Commission and the national competition authoritiesin pursuing cartels and accepting leniency applications.Companies need to consider all applicable competitionauthorities when contemplating a leniency application. – Antitrust & Competition Insight mergermarket 2006The guidelines also provide for increased fines up to 100%for “repeat offenders”, taking into account past Commissioninfringement decisions, as well as Member State infringementdecisions. While the effect of the new guidelines will vary onthe facts of each cartel, they are generally expected to lead toa significant increase of fines in EU cartel cases.By Marceline Tournier, Hogan & Hartson, London
Aer Lingus/Ryanair:A Tumultuous Irish AffairThe hostile bid by Irish low-cost airline Ryanair for incumbentAer Lingus has sparked an outcry in Ireland. Since the launchof the 2.80 per share, the Irish government, which has25.1% stake in Aer Lingus, has strongly opposed the deal,saying a combination of the two would impede competitionsince the companies would have around 70% of theUK/Ireland market between them. The European Commissionis currently looking at the deal and, although the IrishCompetition Authority (ICA), did not ask for a referral, thegovernment raised its concerns at EU level.Ryanair’s offer now runs until 22 December but, as it stands,the deal is very unlikely to be successful. The companydisclosed on 6 December it had received acceptances fromless than 1% of Aer Lingus’ shareholders and indicated thatit would neither grant further extension nor increase its offer.Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary previously said that ifits offer does fail, the company would keep its 20% stake andexert whatever power it can. Despite opposition from majorshareholders, including the government and the EmployeeShare Ownership Trust (ESOT), which owns 12.58% of AerLingus, it has been suggested that Ryanair would not let itsoffer lapse to wait for the outcome of the EC review. Thepostponement of the offer period followed the Commission’sdecision to push back its own deadline to 20 Decemberafter Ryanair offered remedies. It has been suggested thatan approval by the EC could be key if the low-cost companywanted to re-bid after a 12 month waiting period. Indeed,Ryanair held an EGM for its shareholders on 14 December toapprove its bid for Aer Lingus and received the green light tolaunch a new offer for Aer Lingus.Despite claims by politicians, competition experts familiarwith the industry have suggested the deal could be cleared atphase one if Ryanair offer the right concessions upfront. Sofar, merger transactions in the airlines sector have tended tobe cleared at phase one – even Air France/KLM, which wasnot an easy deal. Furthermore, the Aer Lingus/Ryanair tie-upis unlikely to raise as many significant issues as other mergersin the same sector, as long haul slots are not an issue, andproblems with short hauls can be solved with remedies.These would likely focus on surrenders of slots, a widelyused remedy in airlines mergers, where remedies are mainlybehavioural because structural ones are not readily available inthe sector.One key element in the Commission’s competition analysisof an airlines merger is that the focus is on worldwide routesrather than market shares. Such an approach relates to thenature of the business, which depends very much on thetraffic and, as a result, high market shares do not necessarilymean leverage. The EC looks at the market in terms of originand destination for city pairs rather than the sizes of theairline. Previous assessments have also shown that althoughmarket shares are important, some deals have been cleared inthe past even when they had high market shares.One option would be for the Commission to allow the mergeron condition that the parties agree to divestiture of slots if acompetitor wanted to start a new route or increase its servicesin those markets where the deal leads to concerns. In thealliance between Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, for example,the Commission had found that, on some of the routes,the parties would have 100% of the market. While the ECaccepted that part of these routes were too small for an extracarrier to come in, it imposed a pricing remedy. This saw thecompanies committed to reduce fares on certain routes wherethey did not face any competition to an extent similar to thefare reduction on city pairs where rivals started operations.Antitrust & Competition Insight – mergermarket 2006
Aer Lingus/Ryanair:A Tumultuous Irish AffairAdditionally, following 9/11 and the subsequent downturn inthe industry, traditional airlines have moved towards offeringlow cost services. Aer Lingus, which has moved to lowcost operations, provides a good example of such trend.As a result, Aer Lingus and Ryanair’s business models havebecome much closer and it will be difficult for the low-costcompany to argue differences in services.Although, remedies offered by Ryanair have not beendisclosed yet, the London to Dublin routes where Ryanair fliesto Luton, Gatwick and Stansted while Aer Lingus goes onlyto Heathrow, have come up as an issue. Aer Lingus disclosedthat Ryanair had offered concessions based on the surrenderof slots to prospective new entrants, including slots at LondonHeathrow Airport and elsewhere controlled by Aer Lingus.The Commission looks at the airline market on a point-oforigin to point-of-destination basis. Overlaps are likely to befound at airports to and from Ireland since both companiesfly from Shannon and Dublin where there is only one airportand the focus will be on European routes since Ryanair doesnot cover transatlantic journeys. Once the Commission hasidentified overlapping routes, it sets its market definitionand analyses other services that compete with that route toimpose remedies. The Commission would look at competitionbetween airports and see whether they are close enoughto compete. Ryanair tends to fly to airports for cheapairlines and sometimes organises bus transfers where othertransportation is not available. The Commission will look at theregional airports that Ryanair flies to and assess how easy it isto access the main city from them.Traditionally, the Commission has been differentiatingbetween time-sensitive passengers, such as businesspassengers, who are ready to pay higher prices, and thosewho are willing to accept longer routes if the prices are lower.However, this differentiation is less the case now as thetwo categories have moved together and all passengers aremore price-sensitive. In the Lufthansa/Eurowings merger, theCommission has accepted that even for business passengers,low cost operators can be an alternative.10 – Antitrust & Competition Insight mergermarket 2006However, the Irish government could well be in positionto limit Ryanair’s room to manoeuvre in its negotiationswith the EC. Indeed, the government, which in the paststated it considered that the slots at Heathrow were vitalfor Ireland’s access to the outside world, has the means tooppose any divestment on these or any other slots by AerLingus. According to Aer Lingus articles of association, anyshareholders which hold more than 20% of the companycan convene an EGM to consider proposed disposals. TheIrish government with its 25% stake has sufficient shares torequest a vote on the divestment of slots at Heathrow andveto any changes to Aer Lingus’ articles of association. TheIrish Minister of Finance, which is advised by the Ministryof Transport, clearly indicated on 2 October that it “wouldunlikely support a proposed disposal of any ‘slot pair’ relatingto services between London Heathrow and Dublin that wouldresult in the interval between air services operated using slotson this route exceeding 90 minutes. Moreover, it is likely torequest an EGM to consider such proposal. The Ministry ofFinance would only need 5% more than its own holding toblock the motion to sell the slots at an EGM.
Aer Lingus/Ryanair:A Tumultuous Irish AffairAer Lingus, which argued that the remedies offered byRyanair did not address the issues of dominance at Dublinairport and the elimination of competition between the twocompanies, believes “the Irish legal and regulatory restrictionsprevent Ryanair from offering any remedies affecting AerLingus without the support of minority shareholders.” Inaddition, there are restrictions on disposing of the Heathrowslots in Aer Lingus’ articles of association. This means Ryanaircannot offer Heathrow slots as remedies if the Minister ofFinance and the ESOT do not support the proposals, it added.It has been suggested that the Commission could thenrequire disposals on Ryanair’s Dublin to London routes, whichcould be unprofitable for Ryanair.Another blow to Ryanair could be for the Commission to rulethat it does not have jurisdiction for the deal although thisappears unlikely at this stage. A review by national authorities,including the ICA, may not play in favour of Ryanair and couldhelp Aer Lingus to escape the acquisition. The jurisdictionaluncertainty, which the EC has up to 20 December to ruleon, came up after Aer Lingus provided data claiming thatnational competition authorities should be looking at the deal.According to competition experts, turnover calculations forthe jurisdictional assessment are usually a black and whiteexercise but disputes can arise in hostile takeovers as thetarget will often try to find ways to fend off the unwantedapproach. An argument about jurisdiction will be seen asparticularly worthwhile when one competition authority isseen more likely to be stricter on the deal than another.A previous dispute on whether the Spanish competitionauthority or the EC had jurisdiction over the deal betweenenergy companies Endesa and Gas Natural provides a goodexample of this. While the deal had been notified in Spain,the target Endesa, which expected the Commission to betougher on the deal, had submitted new figures, allegingthe transaction should be considered at EU level. TheCommission eventually had to recognise it could not usethese new accounts, no matter how much it would have likedto look at the deal.As for the Aer Lingus/Ryanair deal, observers are adamantthere will be no room for discretion in the Commission’sdecision on the jurisdiction, even if the authority is in favour ofconsolidation in the airlines sector. Moreover, the EC will bewell aware that whatever decision it takes on the matter, itsruling could be appealed at the European Court of Justice ashappened with Endesa/Gas Natural situation.By Sandra Pointel, additional reporting by Alex CainAntitrust & Competition Insight – 11 mergermarket 2006
United States M&A Antitrust:A Round-up of 2006The US antitrust authorities have had an active year withrespect to merger enforcement and policy. Although thenumber of enforcement actions was lower than in previousyears, the agencies addressed several significant mergersby requiring divestitures or other affirmative relief. However,the agencies also cleared several significant deals withoutany relief. Filings in the US have increased in the last fewweeks and so 2007 may be considerably more active. Belowis a summary of the principal merger actions by both theDepartment of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.Key MergersFTC Required Divestitures to Allow Teva’s 7.4bn Acquisition of IVAXUnder a consent agreement announced January 23, 2006,the Federal Trade Commission allowed Teva PharmaceuticalI
Adidas/Reebok The Commission approved the acquisition of the US Reebok by the German Adidas–Salomon on 24 January 2006, after a Phase I investigation. The two parties are global suppliers of sports and leisure equipment, footwear and clothing. The Commission was not concerned by the creation of a leading European and