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2006. Visa motivated its refusal with the argument that Morgan Stanley was a competitor and that as such, according to an internal rule, it could have not been accepted as a member. The Commission objected that at the time of the infringement Morgan Stanley was not present in the EU market. Moreover, the exclusion of Morgan Stanley from Visa membership was found to hinder significantly the competitiveness of Morgan Stanley on the market for providing merchants with credit card capabilities in the United Kingdom (as retailers expect banks to offer card acceptance contracts as a package including both Visa and MasterCard). The case ended with an unusual settlement. In August 2004 the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Visa, which then concluded a settlement agreement with Morgan Stanley in September 2006 and admitted the latter as a member. As a consequence, Morgan Stanley withdrew its complaint but the Commission still went ahead and fined Visa.

In October 2007 the Commission intervened against the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires under art. 81 of the Treaty. The Groupement managed the system of payments by “CB” card which accounts for over 70% of card payments in France. The examination concerned some price measures adopted by the Groupement which hindered the issuing of cards in France at competitive rates by certain member banks. In particular, banks that were not “sufficiently” active in terms of acquisition of merchants or installation of ATM had to pay a fee of up to €11 on each card issued. These measures were motivated by the need to combat free-riding on the investments made by the main incumbent banks and to encourage new competitors to be fully active on both sides of the market. The Commission found, however, that these measures, although applicable in principle to all members, had been applied only against certain, smaller members thus restricting competition in the French payment card market. Since the Groupement had voluntarily notified the measures to obtain a decision of compatibility with the competition rules, the Commission ordered the annulment of the current measures and the prohibition to impose similar ones in the future without imposing any fine. It can be argued, however, whether the Commission in its analysis took proper account of the two-sided nature of the credit card market (issuing cards and acquiring merchants). Indeed, in a two-sided market for a practice to be anti-competitive it has to be shown that it constitutes a barrier to entry to


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