April 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority refers a cartel case against metal packaging manufacturers to the EU Commission
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Cartel proceeding against metal packaging manufacturers: Bundeskartellamt refers case to the European Commission* As part of the cooperation within the network of European Competition Authorities (ECN), the Bundeskartellamt has referred its ongoing cartel proceeding concerning metal packaging (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants penalty reductions to all 3 members of a cartel in zinc-carbon dry batteries due to the members’ leniency applications, including a historic 100% penalty reduction to the first priority leniency applicant (Panasonic / Eveready / Nippo)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) grants first-ever 100 percent reduction in penalty* The CCI by its order dated April 19, 2018, has awarded a 100 (One Hundred) per cent reduction in penalty to the leniency applicant, Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd (‘Panasonic’) in a case involving (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines battery manufacturers’ cartel after a 6-year investigation including 2 leniency applications (Eveready Industries India / Indo National / Panasonic Energy India / Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturer)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI Penalizes Batter Manufacturers’ Admitted Cartel - Decised Its Second Leniency Case* Competition Commission of India (CCI) by an order dated 19 April 2018, in its second decision on a leniency application, has awarded a 100 (One Hundred) per cent reduction in penalty to the leniency (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority concludes that a price comparison system for advertisers does not violate competition law (Yurddaş)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction The Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) has concluded its investigation against Diye Danışmanlık Eğitim ve Medya Hizmetleri Tic A.Ş.’s (“yurddaş + partners”) Media Barometer services. It is decided that Media Barometer, which is a media performance measurement service that includes a price (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority warns five security companies for alleged prohibited agreements in public procurements
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC warns the security sector about the high bid-rigging risk* In this year, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) has warned five security companies for alleged prohibited agreements in public procurements. To reduce bid-rigging risk in the future, the CC in cooperation with the (...)

The Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal confirms the sanction imposed for cartel on the camping card market (Campingrådet)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Horizontal agreements in the framework of Campingraadet* The Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld the findings of the Danish Competition Council that the horizontal agreements described below, and entered into in the framework of the Danish umbrella organization “Campingrådet”, had as (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections concerning distribution of sports media rights and other related rights
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections concerning distribution of sports media rights and other related rights* The European Commission can confirm that on 10 April 2018 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority disqualifies two company directors for their roles in price fixing cartel (Abbott / Frost)
Gowling WLG (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (the ’CMA’) has secured the disqualification of two directors following an investigation into a cartel agreement by six estate agencies in the Burnham-on-Sea area to fix the minimum level of commission fees for the provision of traditional residential (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the road freight transport sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the road freight transport sector* Following authorization from the liberty and custody judge, the Investigation Services of the Autorité de la concurrence have raided (...)

The Turkish Competition Board publishes its reasoned decision regarding anticompetitive practices in the Pharmacies sector and provides explanations on the calculation of the fine after its first decision was annulled on appeal (Turkish Pharmacists Association)
ELIG Gürkaynak (Istanbul)
A. Introduction The Competition Board (“Board”) has recently published its reasoned decision in its reassessment of the Turkish Pharmacists Association (Türk Eczacıları Birliği) (“TPA”) case, following the annulment decision rendered by the 13th Chamber of the High State Court (“High State Court”). (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Court of Justice rules on requirements to establish price discrimination by a dominant undertaking (MEO – Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 April 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) delivered a judgment holding that investigations of price discrimination under EU competition law should involve an examination of all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to assess whether there is a “competitive (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies how to assess whether a practice of differential pricing by a dominant undertaking is capable of distorting competition on a downstream market (MEO - Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
Facts This preliminary ruling arose following a complaint lodged with the Portuguese Competition Authority by Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia SA (“MEO”) alleging that GDA, a non-profit-making collecting cooperative which manages the rights of artists and performers, had abused its dominant (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides new guidance on price discrimination by dominant market players (MEO / Autoridade da Concorrencia)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Amsterdam)
In April 2018, the CJEU provided guidance in assessing the validity of discriminatory pricing practices under EU rules governing dominant market players, in a preliminary ruling in case C-525/16 MEO v. Autoridade da Concorrencia. The central issue—price discrimination—is notoriously contentious (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines equestrian competition organizers for lack of implementation of provisional measures (Fédération Equestre Internationale / GCT / GCL)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposed penalty payments on the FEI, the SPRL Global Champions League and the SPRL Tops Trading Belgium* The Competition College of the BCA has imposed on 13 April 2018 penalty payments on the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the SPRL Global Champions League (...)

The President of the Brussels Commercial Court rules that a collecting society abuses its dominant position through its pricing practice (SABAM)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
Since 2017 , SABAM increased its tariffs for concerts and music festivals to 17% for average-sized festivals and 37% for large festivals, with the pricing for small festivals remaining the same. As a result, several festivals and the federation of Flemish music festivals sued SABAM. The (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court orders restarting the investigation of a complaint for abuse of dominant position (Oracle)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 26 February 2013, Hewlett Packard and Hewlett Packard Española, S.L. (jointly, HP) filed a complaint against Oracle Corporation and Oracle Ibérica, S.R.L. (jointly, Oracle) before the NMCC denouncing restrictive practices of competition in the field of relational database management systems, (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the steel wheels manufacturing market (Mefro Wheels / Accuride)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Mefro Wheels by Accuride, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of steel wheels manufacturer Mefro Wheels by its competitor Accuride. The decision is conditional on the divestment (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture market (Bayer’s Crop Science / BASF)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of parts of Bayer’s Crop Science business by BASF, subject to conditions* The European Commission has conditionally approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of parts of Bayer’s Crop Science business by BASF. This transaction is related to the (...)

The EU Commission publishes its decision in a gun-jumping case (Alice / PT Portugal)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 24 April 2018, the European Commission (Commission) fined Altice NV (Altice) €124.5m for breaching both Article 4(1) and 7(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 (the EU Merger Regulation or EUMR). Article 4(1) EUMR contains the “notification requirement” under which relevant transactions (...)

The EU Commission imposes record € 125 million fine to a multinational cable and telecommunications company for gun jumping (Alice / PT Portugal)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 April 2018, the European Commission fined Altice, a Dutch-based telecom operator, € 125 million for procedural infringements of the EU Merger Regulation. By way of background, on 9 December 2014, Altice entered into an agreement to acquire sole control of PT Portugal. Altice notified the (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the pharmaceutical sector (A&D Pharma / Glebi)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council authorized with conditions the taking over of A&D Pharma holdings nv by Glebi holdings plc* The Competition Council authorised with conditions the transaction by which Glebi Holdings PLC takes over A&D Pharma Holdings NV. Glebi Holdings PLC is part of Penta (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the market of music recognition for smartphones, tablets and PCs (Apple / Shazam)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of Shazam* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger could (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the online advertising market (Aufeminin / TF1)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online advertising* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Aufeminin by TF1 On 16 March 2018, TF1 notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its acquisition of sole control of Aufeminin. Following the consultation of competitors and TF1’s clients along with an analysis of the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears two separate mergers in the footwear distribution market (Sarenza / Monoprix and André / Spartoo)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Footwear distribution* The Autorité de la concurrence clears two separate acquisitions but which raise similar questions: Sarenza by Monoprix (Casino group) André by Spartoo On 16 March Monoprix, and subsequently on 4 April 2018, Spartoo notified the Autorité de la concurrence of two distinct (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger between tour operators (Escalatur / Nortravel)
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Porto)
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Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Porto)
On March 23rd 2018, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) was notified of a merger where Escalatur – Viagens e Turismo, Unipessoal, Limitada (Escalatur), a company within the Barceló Group, which operates in the tourism sector and is active in various countries, aimed to acquire exclusive (...)

The Supreme Court of India applies a strict interpretation to the requirement of notifying the Competition Commission prior to the implementation of a merger (Thomas Cook/ Sterling)
Economic Laws Practice (Mumbai)
On 17 April 2018, the Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”) handed down a decision according strict interpretation to the requirement of notifying the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) prior to consummation of a combination under the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”). The Supreme Court set (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice puts an end to proceedings concerning a measure of support for the development of digital television in a region of Spain (Cellnex)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
By judgment on April 26, 2018, the Court of Justice put an end to proceedings concerning a measure of support for the development of digital television in a region of Spain with a low level of urbanisation. As a result of this judgment, the development in question cannot be considered a SGEI (...)

Procedures

The UK Competition and Markets Authority issues updated guidance on the appropriate amount of penalties to be imposed for infringements of competition law
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 18 April 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority issued updated guidance on the appropriate amount of penalties to be imposed for infringements of competition law in the UK. This replaces the previous guidance issued by the Office of Fair Trading (which the CMA replaced in 2014) and (...)

Advocate General Wathelet recommends setting aside the General Court judgment that dismissed the claims brought by one participant to the smart card cartel case without carrying an extensive review of the conduct challenged by the undertaking and of the amount of the fine (Infineon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 April 2018, Advocate General (“AG”) Wathelet delivered an opinion in which he recommended that the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) set aside the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment which had dismissed the claims brought by Infineon in connection with its involvement in the smart card (...)

The EU Commission proposes a new harmonized approach to collective redress such as group or class actions
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Frankfurt)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
Despite 20 years of robust legislative activity in the field of consumer protection and the 2013 European Commission recommendation on collective redress mechanisms, a harmonized approach to collective redress such as group or class actions does not exist throughout the European Union. That may (...)

Regulatory

The Portuguese Competition Authority identifies barriers to entry of new FinTech firms and recommends measures to promote choice for consumers and companies
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC identifies barriers to entry of new FinTech firms and recommends measures to promote choice for consumers and companies in financial services in Portugal* The Portuguese Competition Authority - Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC), identified barriers to entry of new firms based on (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a public consultation in order to prepare the new opinion on the freedom of establishment for notaries
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of establishment for notaries* In compliance with the Law of 6 August 2015 for Growth, Activity and Equal Economic Opportunities (known as the “Macron Law”), the Autorité de la concurrence launches a public consultation in order to prepare the new Opinion on the freedom of establishment (...)

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