It DOES make sense to spend money to get rid of a competitor (I´m still not saying HB was a competitor, I wouldn´t have paid more than € 20).
I remember when the German government auctioned off mobile phone frequencies. There were six companies bidding for 12 frequencies - in order to run a mobile phone network, you apparently need two frequencies. They all could have offered 1 Cent and walk home with what they needed, but a few companies decided to bid on THREE frequencies, in order to eliminate at least one competitor. In the end, the German government raised almost 50 billion Euros.
Oh and the EU wouldn't even bother looking at this. Perhaps a national competition watchdog would take a look but not a supranational one - they have much bigger fish to fry.
Exactly my point.
Don´t panic yet about the commission. IMHO, HW could have raised it to 15% or 20% already a long time ago. They might have lost some market share to HB, but still made more money than before. Except, of course, HB would surely have shouted "me too" and raised the commission as well.