Bulletin

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry into online price comparison websites
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into comparison websites* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry into "online price comparison websites". Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "Every day millions of consumers gather information by using price comparison (...)

The EU General Court holds that watch manufacturers are allowed to restrict the supply of watch parts only to approved repairers (CEAHR)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In July 2004, the European Confederation of Watch and Clock Repairers’ Association (“CEAHR”) led a complaint with the Commission arguing that there was (i) an agreement or a concerted practice between a number of luxury watch manufacturers and (ii) an abuse of dominant positionresulting from (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering for cartel (Tarkett)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité has imposed sanctions totalling €302 million on the three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering, as a penalty for price fixing among other pratices.* Background Acting on information submitted by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs (...)

The EU Commission fines several truck manufacturers for cartel (Scania)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Scania €880 million for participating in trucks cartel* The European Commission has found that Scania broke EU antitrust rules. It colluded for 14 years with five other truck manufacturers on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet (...)

The UK CMA annonces the launch of a market investigation into investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services
Morgan Lewis (London)
On 14 September 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that, following a reference from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it was launching a market investigation into investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services to and by institutional investors (...)

The French Supreme Court refers a case on online platform sales ban back to the Paris Court of Appeal without waiting for an upcoming ruling of the EU Court of Justice on a similar case (Caudalie / eNova)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 September 2017, the French Supreme Court ordered the Paris Court of Appeal to rehear a case for failing to sufficiently substantiate its finding that an obligation in Caudalie’s selective distribution system constituted a probable restriction of competition by object. In the selective (...)

The EU General Court reduces the fine after re-hearing the bathroom fixtures and fittings cartel case (Laufen Austria)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 September 2017, the General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgment on an appeal lodged by Laufen Austria, a bathroom equipment manufacturer, against a Commission decision in connection with the bathroom fixtures and fittings cartel case, which was referred back to it for determination by the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU General Court issues a ruling on mandatory access and interoperability in the software industry (Contact Software)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Amsterdam)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
The European General Court’s ("GC") decision relates to a complaint filed with the European Commission ("EC") by Contact Software, a German software supplier of Product Data Management ("PDM"). Contact Software alleged an abuse of dominance by Dassault Systèmes and Parametric Technology Corp., as (...)

The EU Commission fines a Lithuanian Railways company for abuse of dominance on rail freight market (Lietuvos geležinkeliai)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Lithuanian Railways €28 million for hindering competition on rail freight market* The European Commission has fined Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) an amount of €27 873 000 for hindering competition on the rail freight market, in breach of EU antitrust (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to a chemical and consumer goods company suspected to have abused of its dominance (Henkel)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
The Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that it has notified Statements of Objections to Henkel AG & Co KGaA and its subsidiary GPM Henkel Ltd jointly and severally regarding a prima facie infringement of Section 6(1)(b) of the Protection of Competition Laws of 2008 and (...)

The EU Court of Justice accepts an alternative to the United Brands test to establish excessive pricing (AKKA / LAA)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
On replying to the preliminary questions referred by the Supreme Court of Latvia (SCL), in AKKA v LAA the CJEU has accepted a methodology other than the two-limb United Brands test to establish an excessive pricing practice. The CJEU also clarifies the criteria to set the amount of the fine (...)

Advocate General Mengozzi takes a new look at exhaustion of trademark rights and seems prepared to accept erosion of such rights (Schweppes)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 12 September 2017, Advocate General Mengozzi (“AG”) delivered an opinion in the Schweppes case in the context of a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) from a Spanish Court. In particular, the AG proposed to develop the case-law on the exhaustion (...)

The EU Court of Justice modernizes abuse of dominance (Intel)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
(“CJEU”) set aside General Court’s 2014 Intel judgment, upholding a European Commission (the “Commission”) decision fining Intel €1.06 billion for abuse of dominance through exclusivity rebates . The CJEU held that the General Court had erred in failing to examine all of Intel’s arguments calling (...)

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 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 revisits forty years of case law on when a dominant company’s rebate scheme may be abusive (Intel)
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
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Baker McKenzie (London)
In its ruling on the European Commission’s 500 page Intel decision, in a crisp 150 paragraphs, the EU Court of Justice (the Court) revisited forty years of jurisprudence on when a dominant company’s rebate scheme may be abusive. Though no final decision for Intel, the case marks a potentially (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a General Court ruling that upheld the fine imposed by the Commission for an abuse of dominance (Intel)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
What happened? The European Court of Justice ("ECJ") set aside a General Court ruling that had upheld a €1.06 billion fine imposed by the European Commission on Intel for abusing its dominant position in the market for x86 central processing units ("CPUs"). Background In its 2009 decision, (...)

The EU Court of Justice endorses an effects-based assessment of rebates (Intel)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 6 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU" or "Court") essentially held in Intel that the European Commission ("Commission") cannot consider rebates, and in particular loyalty rebates, as per se illegal. Rather, the Commission needs to show that a specific rebates (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues landmark judgment on legal treatment of fidelity rebates granted by dominant companies (Intel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) issued its long-awaited judgment in the Intel case (Case C-413/14 P), setting aside the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment. The GC must now re-assess the legality of the Commission’s decision in light of the ECJ’s ruling. Intel was (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority, after its market study into online video platforms, finds no dominant market power among online video streaming platforms (Youtube)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
No dominant market power among online video streaming platforms* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted a market study into online video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Dumpert. ACM did not find any indications for anticompetitive risks on the (...)

Mergers

The US FTC files a complaint challenging a proposed acquisition (Red Venture / Bankrate)
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
On November 3, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint challenging Red Ventures’ proposed acquisition of Bankrate. The FTC alleged that the deal likely would have lessened competition in the market for thirdparty paid referral services for senior living facilities—even though Red (...)

The EU General Court sets aside the Commission’s approval decision of a merger in the market for television and telecommunication services (KPN - Liberty Global / Ziggo)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By the judgment recently rendered in the KPN/Commission case , the General Court of the EU (GC) has quashed the decision previously made by the European Commission by which it gave a conditional go-ahead to the Ziggo acquisition by Liberty Global. The appeal was filed by a competitor of the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the cured meat products market (Financière Turenne Lafayette/ Coorperl Arc Atlantique)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of full control of the cured meats’ division of Financière Turenne Lafayette (Paul Prédault, Madrange…) by Coorperl Arc Atlantique (Brocéliande)* Parties to the operation On 4 May 2017, Cooperl Arc Atlantique (VériTable, L’atout prix or (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears an acquisition of joint control over a dairy milk company subject to commitments (Delta Foods / Mevgal)
Prentoulis Gerakini Law Partnership (Athens)
Under its decision No. 650/2017 the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved the acquisition of joint control of Mevgal SA by Delta Food SA and members of the Hatzakou family. Delta Food S.A., member of the Vivartia Group of companies, produces and distributes dairy products such as, (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the market of medical devices (Bard / BD)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Bard by BD, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Bard by BD. Both companies supply medical devices. The decision is conditional on the divestment of BD’s core needle biopsy (...)

The UK Government proposes greater intervention in national security and infrastructure mergers
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On October 17, 2017, the UK Government published legislative proposals that would give it greater powers to intervene in mergers that raise national security considerations or involve national infrastructure. In the short-term, any transaction involving a party active in the manufacture or (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the market of automotive equipment (FTE / Valeo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of FTE by Valeo, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of FTE by Valeo, both automotive equipment suppliers. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Valeo’s passive (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the vending services market (Pelican Rouge / Selecta)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Pelican Rouge by Selecta, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of vending services provider Pelican Rouge of the Netherlands by Selecta of Switzerland. The clearance is (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine of more than EUR 78,000 on a consumer eggs producer for gun-jumping (Fermy Drobiu Woźniak)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 19 September 2017, the Polish Competition Authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, hereinafter referred to as the “PCA”) fined Fermy Drobiu “Woźniak” sp. z o.o. (hereinafter referred to as the “FDW”) the amount of PLN 339,000.00 (approx. EUR 78,000.00) for failure (...)

The EU Commission proposes a new regulation that would allow the Commission and Member States to adopt rules for screening foreign direct investment
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 September 2017, the European Commission proposed a new regulation to allow the Commission and the Member States to adopt rules for screening foreign direct investment (“FDI”) in the EU that raises concerns on grounds of security or public order (the “Proposal”). The Proposal aims to (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the online property advertising (Logic-Immo.com / SeLoger.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has begun an in-depth examination as part of the review of the take-over of Concept Multimédia (Logic-Immo.com) by the Axel Springer group (SeLoger.com)* The Axel Springer group, which is active mainly on the online property adverting market via SeLoger.com, (...)

The EU Court of Justice renders a judgement regarding the rules governing the notification of mergers resulting in the creation of joint ventures (Austria Asphalt)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
On 7 September 2017, the European Court of Justice issued its preliminary ruling in Case C-248/16 Austria Asphalt. The judgment clarifies that a change from sole to joint control over an existing undertaking is a notifiable concentration under the Merger Regulation only if the resulting joint (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the application of the EU merger control rules to joint ventures (Austria Asphalt)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
European Court of Justice clarifies application of European Union merger control rules to joint ventures* On 7 September 2017, the European Court of Justice issued a decision (Decision) on the interpretation of the European Union Merger Regulation (EUMR). The Decision clarifies the conditions (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides EU merger control rules can only apply to joint control transactions if the resulting entity is a ‘full-function’ joint venture (Austria Asphalt)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
On September 7, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that, where joint control is acquired over a new or existing undertaking (or parts of an undertaking), that transaction can only fall within the scope of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) where the resulting entity will be (...)

The EU Commission refers back to the French Competition Authority a merger in the waste management sector (La Poste / Suez groups)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission has referred the review of the creation of a joint venture between the La Poste and Suez groups, in the waste management sector* The European Commission referred the review of the creation of a joint venture between the La Poste and Suez groups. The two companies (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation in the agrochemicals market (Monsanto / Bayer)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer* The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the merger may reduce (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries (United Kingdom)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) opened an in-depth investigation into UK statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries of UK corporate taxpayers from UK tax. The Commission’s investigation will focus on whether the UK Controlled (...)

The EU Commission pursues Ireland before the Court of justice for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from an American multinational technology company (Apple)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers Ireland to Court for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as (...)

The EU Commission concludes that Luxembourg has granted undue tax benefits to an electronic commerce company (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million* The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay (...)

The EU Commission confirms that Ireland granted State Aid to a company (Apple)
Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
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Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
On 30 August 2016, the EU commission confirmed that in their view, Ireland granted illegal State Aid to Apple. Such State Aid is allegedly granted in the form of a selective tax treatment. The decision is the latest in the EU Commission’s moves to use State Aid principles in a direct tax (...)

The EU Commission refers Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to recover illegal tax benefits (Apple)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The European Commission has referred Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with its Decision of 30 August 2017. In the said decision, the Commission established that Ireland had granted certain tax benefits to Apple allowing the la er to pay substantially less tax (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice rules the prohibition on selling at a loss laid down by Spanish legislation relating to retail commerce contrary to EU law (Europamur Alimentación)
Broseta (Madrid)
In the context of a preliminary ruling, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) concluded, through judgement of 19 October 2017 (Case C-295/16, Europamur Alimentación, S.A.), that the prohibition on selling at a loss (or sale at a loss) stated in Article 14 of Law 7/1996, regulating retail commerce (...)

The UK High Court renders a judgment significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions (Emerald Supplies)
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
On 4 October 2017, the High Court gave a judgment on a preliminary issue significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claimants’ claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions. This judgment is the last in a series of adverse judgments for the claimants in these proceedings. Background (...)

The Vietnam National Assembly publishes 5th draft of the new Competition Law
Baker McKenzie (Hô Chi Minh-Ville)
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Baker McKenzie (Hô Chi Minh-Ville)
On 15 September 2017, the 5th draft of the new Competition Law (the 5th Draft) was published on the National Assembly Office Portal for public review and comments. The 5th Draft is being reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly and is expected to be passed in May 2018. The (...)

Regulatory

The German Competition Authority publishes a paper on ’Big Data and Competition’ as Big Data and digital markets remain in the focus of EU competition authorities
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
I. Introduction On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (’FCO’) launched its new series of papers on ’Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy’. The first paper deals with ’Big Data and Competition’. The same day, a ’real-life example’ of competition enforcement in Big Data (...)

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