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MyTravel claiming takeover damages.

Holiday firm MyTravel is seeking damages of pounds 518 million from the European Commission for thwarting its attempt to take over a rival.

The claim marks the first time a company has demanded damages from the Commission after an EU court overturned a decision to block a takeover.

The claim arises out of the Court of First Instance's ruling more than a year ago that the Commission had been wrong to stop MyTravel, formerly known as Air Tours, buying smaller package holiday rival First Choice. MyTravel has now asked the CFI to award it pounds 517.9 million or an amount the court sees fit.

It said the Commission's deci- sion to block its purchase of First Choice in 1999 had lost it profits and other income to the amount alleged.

A spokeswoman for the Euro- pean Commission said: 'The Commission believes that it is not liable for the alleged damages and that the Court will conclude that the action must be rejected.'

However, a competition expert was less certain.

'Certainly it's never been done before,' said Alec Burnside of law firm Linklaters. 'It's a high hurdle to get damages from the Commission but not an impossi- ble one.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 20, 2003
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