United Parcel Service Inc. has walked away from a proposed $6.9 billion takeover of the Netherlands TNT Express NV, claiming European Commission regulators had demanded too many concessions for the deal to remain viable.
The Commission, the executive arm of the 27 EU countries, reviews major corporate mergers and acquisitions to ensure they do not hurt fair competition in the market. It has the power to block deals or to demand concessions, such as the sale of business parts.
Here is a glance at some of the major decisions made by the Commission's competition authority:
—In 2001, the Commission blocked General Electric Co. from buying another U.S.-based multinational, Honeywell International Inc.
—In 2004, it demanded that Sony Corp. sell its Japanese music unit as a condition of the merger of its music business with that of Bertelsmann AG. The deal created Sony BMG.
—In 2007, the Commission blocked Irish budget airline Ryanair from buying smaller the national carrier Aer Lingus.
—Also in 2007, it approved Universal Music's takeover of BMG Music Publishing, which was not part of the Sony BMG deal in 2004. Universal is owned by France's Vivendi SA.
—The same year, it allowed the carve-up of ABN Amro NV — the largest takeover in banking history — by a consortium led by RBS PLC and including Belgium's Fortis SA and Spain's Santander, with Bank of America as a side-player. The deal turned out to be a disaster for all the acquiring banks when the financial crisis struck just months later.
—In 2008, Mining giant BHP Billiton PLC abandoned an attempted takeover of rival Rio Tinto PLC after the Commission raised concerns it would hurt competitiveness in Europe.
—In February 2012, Google Inc. won unconditional approval to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
—Also in February, the Commission blocked a merger between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext, saying it would have led to a near-monopoly in European financial derivatives.
—In September, the Commission approved Universal Music Group's takeover of EMI Music, on condition that Universal, the largest global music company, sell about a third of EMI's assets.
—In December, the Commission approved the merger between commodities trader Glencore and Xstrata, a major mining group, but only on the condition that it sell its stake in Nyrstar NV of Belgium, the world's largest zinc producer.
—The Commission is due to announce later this week on a new offer by Ryanair to buy Aer Lingus.