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European M&A Risks: Potential Responsibility of the Japanese Purchaser for Prior Infringements

February 11, 2010

By Pierre Kirch and Josselin Lucas

The European Court of Justice has reaffirmed the potential attribution of liability to parent companies for cartel infringements committed by an acquired company before an acquisition.

In a cartel case involving a group of leading Austrian banks and known as the "Lombard Club" case, the European Court of Justice has reaffirmed -- in a ruling of September 24, 2009 -- the potential responsibility of parent companies for anti-competitive conduct by an acquired company before the acquisition itself.

In the following Stay Current, we examine the three fundamental principles which were at stake in the Lombard Club case, the possible risk to a Japanese purchaser, and how to reduce the possible risk.