Tobii AB (Publ) v Competition and Markets Authority

Area of law:

10 January 2020

Matthew O’Regan recently represented Swedish technology group Tobii AB before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in its challenge to the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority that Tobii’s acquisition of Smartbox, a British supplier of augmentative and assistive communications products, restricted competition and should be prohibited, with Tobii being required to sell Smartbox.

Challenges to merger decisions of the CMA are rare. The Tribunal’s judgment addresses a number of important aspects of the CMA’s investigation of mergers, including its duty of procedural fairness, its approach to the gathering and assessment evidence, market definition and its analysis of the competitive effects of both horizontal and vertical mergers. The Tribunal upheld part of Tobii’s challenge, finding that the CMA did not have sufficient evidence for its finding that the merged entity would have harmed competitors, and thus customers, by increasing the price or degrading the interoperability of Smartbox’s ‘Grid’ software.

Matthew was instructed by Preiskel & Co LLP and was led by Aidan Robertson QC of Brick Court Chambers.

The CAT’s judgment is available here.