The General Court of the European Union has annulled a European Commission ruling, which blocked a 2012 merger between express delivery companies United Parcel Service (UPS) and TNT.

In 2012, UPS notified the Commission of its plans to acquire TNT, but the deal was denied Jan. 30, 2013 on competition grounds.

UPS appealed the decision and, in its March 7 ruling, the General Court said: “By today’s judgment, the General Court upholds the action and annuls the Commission’s decision.”

This latest development is largely a moot point as TNT has since been acquired by FedEx, despite objections from UPS.

The General Court said the annulment was based on a “procedural irregularity,” because the Commission did not discuss its final econometric analysis with UPS. A company has the right to know the facts that the decision is based on so that it can defend itself.

“The Court finds that the econometric analysis used by the Commission in its decision of Jan. 30, 2013 was based on an econometric model different from that which had been the subject of an exchange of views and arguments during the administrative procedure. The Commission made non-negligible changes to the analyses previously discussed with UPS. In view of those changes, the Commission was required to communicate the final econometric analysis model to UPS before adopting the contested decision. By failing to do so, the Commission infringed UPS’ rights of defense,” the General Court said.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com