Copyright (c) 2002 University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law
ARTICLE: HOW DARE THEY? EUROPEAN MERGER CONTROL AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S BLOCKING OF THE GENERAL ELECTRIC/HONEYWELL MERGER
23 U. Pa. J. Int'l Econ. L. 325
In light of the growing globalization of markets and industries it is inevitable that antitrust authorities, as the guardians of fair competition, are increasingly unable to restrict their investigations to their own soil and markets. 1 This applies not only to national authorities like the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice ("DOJ") or the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") in the United States, but also to supranational authorities such as the European Commission. 2 These authorities must look at the mergers that take place in their own backyards as well as in other jurisdictions and assess what effect these "foreign" mergers may have on their own markets. Therefore, it is not surprising that mergers that first appear to be purely American in nature, such as Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, 3 AOL and Time Warner, 4 or MCI WorldCom and Sprint (the first U.S. merger which the Commission prevented), 5 have been the subject of intense scrutiny by the Commission. 6
The decision of the Commission on July 3, 2001 7 to stop the merger between General Electric Company ("GE") and Honeywell International, Inc. ("Honeywell") on the basis of EC merger control 8 was groundbreaking. It was the first time the Commission stopped a U.S. merger that had already received clearance from its "home" authority, in this case the DOJ. This broke a tacit understanding between merger regulators that if two big American organizations plan to merge, the American authorities would usually rule first and the Europeans would follow ...
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