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Brussels, 26 th November 2009

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Gatwick Airport by Global Infrastructure Partners

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP- of the US of Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL from its current owner, BAA of the UK. Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

GIP is a private equity fund which invests in infrastructure and infrastructure-related assets, is managed by Global Infrastructure Management LLC and jointly controlled by General Electric Company and the Credit Suisse Group. Its portfolio includes a 75% joint ownership interest in London City Airport.

The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of London City airport and Gatwick airport were limited and that, therefore, the transaction would raise no competition concerns. Indeed, London City is mainly a niche airport focusing on short haul flights for business passengers, while Gatwick is a large airport serving predominantly leisure passengers.

This transaction was initiated following the outcome of an investigation of the UK Competition Commission into the airport services market in the UK. On 19 March 2009, the UK Competition Commission published its final report with respect to this investigation and required BAA, which controls several airports in the UK including Heathrow and Stansted airports, to divest inter alia Gatwick Airport. On 5 November 2009, the UK Competition Commission gave its final consent to GIP as a suitable buyer of GAL. The Commission's investigation under the Merger Regulation is not connected with the antitrust procedure of the UK Competition Commission.

More information on the case will be available at:

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