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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Four Years Later...
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The European Court of Justice holds that the European Competition Commission was wrong to block the WorldCom-Sprint merger one day after the companies called it all off anyways. Talk about crossing the "limits of antitrust."

According to the EU Observer:
This ruling sets a crucial legal precedent as it means that companies may now pull out of merger deals if they fear an unfavourable ruling from the EU's competition body.

Let's not get carried away here. For instance, I would guess that this doesn't really set a "crucial legal precedent" for domestic telcos, who already need to withstand superfluous* antitrust scrutiny before the DOJ, FCC and 50 state PUCs. But it does illustrate that a wildly aggressive EU will only add to the transaction costs and uncertainty when these deals are contemplated.

*Today's Communications Daily reports that an Illinois appeals court reversed an Illinois Commerce Commission decision which required SBC to invest $600 million annually in its network as a merger condition when it acquired Ameritech in 1999. According to the article, SBC has invested 3.7 billion in its Illinois network since then.

posted by @ 7:17 PM | General

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