February 22, 2005

Tetra Laval/Sidel--The European Court of Justice Clarifies the Standard of Proof and the Role of Behavioural Commitments in Merger Cases

Arnold & Porter Advisory

On February 15th, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") dismissed the European Commission's appeal in the Tetra Laval/Sidel (Case C-12/03P) merger case. The ECJ largely affirmed the decision by the Court of First Instance ("CFI") overturning the Commission's decision to block the proposed merger between Tetra Laval and Sidel. The CFI had held that the Commission did not have sufficiently strong evidence that the merger would be anti-competitive and had failed to take due account of certain behavioural commitments offered by Tetra Laval to alleviate the Commission's concerns. The Commission's pleas that the CFI had imposed on it an excessive standard of proof and that behavioural commitments are largely unworkable in merger cases were rejected by the ECJ.

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