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"Our duty is to foresee the best we can the consequences of a given operation and to react to it if it is likely to create competition concerns. Oh, by the way, the Mets in six."
—Mario Monti

MARIO TAKES A BITE
OUT OF THE APPLE

EU Commish Will Not Throw Out First Ball
At Subway Series

European Union competition chief Mario Monti, fresh off his committee's decisions on three mega-mergers, visited New York today, where he told an audience regulators should play a major role in the transition to the so-called "new economy."

Of course, our idea of a new economy is getting paid by check instead of wampum and firewater.

Monti said the development of the Internet and related new business sectors could actually spur competition.

The EU chief had come in for strong criticism for setting tough conditions for approving high-tech mergers, as he did in blocking telecommunications giant WorldCom Inc.'s proposed takeover of Sprint Corp.

Critics accused him of misunderstanding the new economy and applying old world measure to judging the effects of high-tech mergers on competition.

"The constant reallocation of resrouces from the declining firms or sectors to the emerging and fast-growing ones is a corollary of a well-functioning market economy," Monti told the antitrust conference at the Fordham Corporate Law Institute. "It is of paramount importance not to hinder this reallocation and to allow transformation and restructuring to take place in a non-traumatic way… And how about that Timo Perez?"

"Our duty is to foresee the best we can the consequences of a given operation and to react to it if it is likely to create competition concerns. Complexity or uncertainty should not be reasons for us not to act. Oh, by the way, the Mets in six."

Monti's tough line in recent cases has his critics saying he is stifling the development of new technologies and that he discriminates against U.S. firms in favor of European ones.

Worldcom has filed a suit against the commission for blocking its merger, saying Monti's officials "fundamentally misperceived" the Internet market. Monti insisted he acted consistently to prevent the creation of "gate-keepers" which could shut others out of emerging markets.

He has also come down on theYankees' Roger Clemons for "chickening out of playing at Shea Stadium," where he'd be forced to come to bat after hitting Mike Piazza with a pitch to the head last July.

He said his decisions to clear AOL's acquistion of Time Warner Inc. and Vivendi's purchase of Seagram were possible only after the companies agreed to major divestments and bet all their money on the Mets.

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