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Commission v. Tetra Laval BV

2005 E.C.R. I-987 (2005)

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Commission v. Tetra Laval BV

European Union Court of Justice

2005 E.C.R. I-987 (2005)

Facts

Tetra Laval BV (Tetra) (defendant) owned Tetra Pak, a company that made carton packaging for liquid. Tetra Pak held the dominant position in the aseptic-carton-packaging market and a leading position in the nonaseptic-carton-packaging market. Tetra wanted to acquire Sidel, a worldwide leader in the production of equipment used to make plastic bottles to package liquid. The European Commission (commission) (plaintiff) found that the merger was illegal because it was likely that the merged conglomerate firm would engage in exclusionary conduct after the merger. Tetra appealed. On appeal, the general court held that the commission was required to apply the convincing-evidence standard of proof in conglomerate-merger cases and, in failing to do so, the commission had failed to meet its burden against Tetra. The commission appealed to the European Union Court of Justice, arguing that the lower court’s convincing-evidence standard did not account for the proper level of discretion courts should exercise in analyzing the commission’s decision to prohibit a merger.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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