Bulletin

Anticompetitive practices

The U.S. DOJ announces that an e-commerce company and its president have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a price-fixing conspiracy (Zaappaaz)
Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Jones Day (San Francisco)
Background Texas-based e-commerce company Zaappaaz, Inc.—doing business as WB Promotions, Inc., Wrist-Band.com, and Customlanyard.net—and its president both agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for customized promotional products sold online in the United States, including (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several companies which have implemented exclusive import agreement (Materne)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Exclusive distribution of dessert products in La Réunion and Mayotte* The Autorité de la concurrence fines Materne and its wholesaler-importer for continuing to implement an exclusive import agreement after the “Lurel Act” came into force. The “Lurel Act” bans any exclusive import agreement The (...)

The German FCO publishes a sector inquiry in cement and ready-mix concrete
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
German Federal Cartel Office publishes sector inquiry in cement and ready-mix concrete* The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has published its sector inquiry report in cement and ready-mix concrete. While the report targets the cement and ready-mix concrete sector and its particularities (...)

The German Competition Authority issues its report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector* Today the Bundeskartellamt has published the final report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "The cement and ready-mix (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objection to a pharmaceutical company regarding possible pay-for-delay agreement (Teva / Cephalon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Teva on ’pay for delay’ pharma agreement* The European Commission has informed pharmaceutical company Teva of its preliminary view that an agreement concluded with Cephalon was in breach of EU antitrust rules. Under the agreement, Teva (...)

The German Competition Authority fines three manufacturers of heat shields and their representatives for cartel (Elring Klinger Abschirmtechnik)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines on automotive part manufacturers* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines amounting to 9.6 million euros on three manufacturers of heat shields and their representatives. The companies involved are Elring Klinger Abschirmtechnik (Schweiz) AG, Sevelen (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a guidance note on the prohibition of vertical price fixing in the food retail sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes guidance note on the prohibition of vertical price fixing in the food retail sector* Today the Bundeskartellamt has published a guidance note on the prohibition of vertical price fixing in the brick-and-mortar food retail sector. The aim of the guidance note is to (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a public consultation as part of its current sector-specific inquiry on online advertising
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online advertising* As part of its current sector-specific inquiry on online advertising, the Autorité de la concurrence has launched a public consultation in order to collect stakeholder comments on several points. Stakeholders are asked to reply to the questionnaire sent out by the Autorité (...)

The German Competition Authority fines two manufacturers of industrial batteries and their representatives for cartel (Hawker)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines totalling approx. 28 million euros on manufacturers of industrial batteries* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 28 million euros on two manufacturers of industrial batteries and their representatives for agreeing between them to levy the (...)

The EU Commission fines three car lighting system producers for cartel (Automotive Lighting / Hella / Valeo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines three car lighting system producers €27 million in cartel settlement* The European Commission has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26 744 000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Valeo was not fined as it (...)

The OECD holds a workshop to address algorithms and collusion issues
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
OECD workshop addresses algorithms and collusion issues* On June 21-23, the OECD held a roundtable on the theme of “Algorithms and Collusion,” as part of a wider work stream on competition in the digital economy. The OECD roundtable reflects a shift in the debate over the antitrust implications (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a lighting supplier for price resale maintenance (National Lighting Company)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
Lighting company fined £2.7 million for restricting online prices* A lighting supplier has been fined for requiring retailers to use a minimum price when selling their products online. The National Lighting Company (NLC) supplies light fittings to a range of retailers who then sell them on. (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Court of Justice refers a case back to the General Court for re-examination (Intel)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
Major victory for Intel as CJEU sends case back to General Court for re-examination* On 6 September, the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice (CJEU), released its long-awaited decision in the Intel case, in which the Commission imposed a fine of €1.06 billion – at the time, the largest fine (...)

The EU Court of Justice quashes the 2014 judgment of the General Court that upheld a fine of €1.06 billion for an abuse of dominant position by implementing loyalty rebates based on exclusivity agreements (Intel)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On September 6, 2017 ,the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) quashed the 2014 judgment of the General Court (GC) that upheld a fine of €1.06 billion ($1.5 billion) on Intel Corporation Inc. (Intel) for abusing a dominant market position by implementing loyalty rebates based on (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides that a worldwide manufacturer of luxury sunglasses abused its dominant position by granting rebates and resorting to other exclusionary practices (Luxottica)
University of Sussex
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that the worldwide manufacturer of luxury sunglasses, Luxottica, abused its dominant position it held in the market for the wholesale of branded sunglasses by its rebate schemes which include (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a funeral company for abuse of dominance (Comtet)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Funeral services in the Ain département* The Autorité de la concurrence funeral company Comtet that, at the time of the alleged events, was running the crematorium in the town of Viriat in the département of the Ain under a public service franchise agreement with the municipal council, for two (...)

The French Competition Authority acceptes remedies proposed by a sugar producer suspected to have abused of its dominant position (Tereos)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Sugar production / Picardie* Tereos takes commitments under the French competition authority that it will open up its procurement contracts. Sugar beet growers will benefit from greater freedom to choose the sugar groups that they want to supply. The complaint by Saint-Louis Sucre France’s (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rejects the request against a French Competition Authority decision relative to practices implemented on the electricity and gas market (ENGIE)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
The settlement procedure in France The major change is that parties willing to conclude a settlement procedure will be informed of the minimum and maximum fine that may be imposed (and not of a percentage of reduction relating an amount of sanction which is not yet known). The disclosure (...)

The Regional Adminstrative Court for Latium upholds the infringement decision made by the Italian Competition Authority against a pharmaceutical lab for excessive pricing (Aspen)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By the judgement handed down in Aspen v AGCM , the Regional Administrative Court of Latium (the Court) has recently determined the appeal lodged by a South African manufacturer of generic drugs, Aspen, against the 2016 decision made by Italian Competition Authority (ICA), rejected all the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines Dutch rail operator for various abuses in winning tender (Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 June 2017, the Dutch Competition Authority (“DCA”) published the non-con dential version of a decision of 22 May 2017 imposing a €40.95 million fine on Dutch rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (“NS”) for abusing its dominant position in the context of a tender for public transport services (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance on the market of online comparison shopping service (Google)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service* The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance as a search (...)

The EU Commission imposes a record fine for abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Introduction On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed a record €2.42bn fine on Google after finding it had abused its dominant position in the search engine market by giving favourable treatment to its comparison shopping service in its search results. Background (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a gas producer for abuse of dominance (Gazprom)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Ingushia OFAS fined “Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk” Ltd. 140 million RUB* Fines are imposed for infringing the interests of small companies The decisions on abusing dominance were made after investigating several cases upon statements of small companies in the Republic of Ingushetia with (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority rejects a request for interim measures on the pharmaceutical market (Medicare-Market group)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has rejected a request for interim measures of the Medicare-Market group* The SA Medicare-Market (hereafter Medicare-Market) filed on 2 June 2016 a complaint against the Order of Pharmacists and requested interim measures on 28 April 2017. The (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears, subject to remedies, on the chemicals market (FMC/Dupont)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission conditionally clears both FMC’s acquisition of parts of DuPont’s crop protection business and DuPont’s acquisition of FMC’s Health and Nutrition business* The European Commission has conditionally approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, FMC’s proposed acquisition of parts of (...)

The EU Commission sends three separate statements of objections to companies alleging procedural breaches of the EU Merger Regulation (Merck / Sigma-Aldric, GE / LM Wind, Canon / Toshiba Medical Systems)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 July 2017, the European Commission sent three separate statements of objections (“SO”) to companies alleging procedural breaches of the EU Merger Regulation. Provision of misleading information The first SO concerns the Merck/Sigma-Aldrich transaction, which was conditionally cleared by (...)

The EU Commission sends statements of objection to three undertakings regarding possible breach of EU merger procedural rules (Merck / Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric / LM Wind and Canon / Toshiba)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Merck and Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric, and Canon breached EU merger procedural rules* The Commission has sent three separate Statements of Objections to Merck and Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric and Canon alleging they breached EU merger rules: General Electric, (...)

The French Competition Authority adopts an innovative merger decision in the health care institution sector (Elsan / MPP)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
The French Competition Authority (FCA) has adopted an innovative merger decision in the health care institution sector, assessing not only the effects of the operation on medical services (diagnostic and treatments), but also the effects on non-medical ancillary services. An innovative merge (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the chemicals market (Huber Silica / Evonik)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Huber Silica by Evonik, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation Evonik’s acquisition of Huber Silica. The decision is conditional on the divestment of some of both companies’ activities related to (...)

The US District Court rejects a "failing firm" defence and blocks the merger of nuclear waste disposal companies (EnergySolutions / Waste Control Specialists)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
Federal judge blocks merger of nuclear waste disposal companies rejecting "failing firm" defense* On June 21, 2017, US District Judge Sue L. Robinson blocked EnergySolutions, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS), applying a strict standard for the “failing firm” (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice rules that a Member State could not request reimbursement of an aid that had been granted to an undertaking in compliance with the General Block Exemption Regulation (Nerea)
Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Situation: On July 6, 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled that a Member State could not request reimbursement of aid that had been granted to an undertaking in compliance with the General Block Exemption Regulation solely because that undertaking later became the subject of (...)

The EU Commission approves a State aid for construction Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line (CDG Express)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French support for construction of €1.3 billion Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line* The European Commission has approved French support measures for the construction of an express railway line between Paris and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. (...)

Procedures

The US Democrats publish "A Better Deal" policy statement with proposals to change antitrust/competition enforcement
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
Democrats’ "Better Deal" policy statement proposes significant changes for antitrust/competition enforcement* On July 24, 2017, Democratic Party leaders unveiled “A Better Deal,” their plan to improve economic conditions for the American working class. A key element of the Better Deal plan to (...)

The UK Competition authority launches a consultation relating to a new proposal for handling leniency applications
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 30 June 2017, the CMA launched its consultation relating to a new proposal for handling leniency applications. The proposed guidance would make the CMA the “first point of contact” for leniency applicants, in an effort to make the existing system clearer for businesses in regulated sectors. (...)

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