The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today (4 March) dismissed an appeal by Marine Harvest (now Mowi) against a European Commission (EC) decision fining the firm EUR 20m for jumping the gun on its takeover of rival Morpol.
The ruling did not follow the non-binding opinion of Advocate General (AG) Evgeni Tanchev , which in September suggested that the ECJ should halve the fine on the grounds that the EC cannot impose separate fines for breaches of the merger notification requirement and the standstill obligation as they arise from the same conduct.
In December 2012, Marine Harvest acquired a 48.5% stake in Morpol, which was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Under Norwegian law, an acquirer of more than one-third of the shares in a listed company is obliged to bid for the remaining shares. As a result, Marine Harvest submitted a public offer for the rest of the company’s shares, ultimately increasing its shareholding to 87.1%.
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