February 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The EU General Court confirms Commission’s decision on immunity applications and attribution of liability (Deutsche Bahn / Schenker)
Blackstone Chambers
The Freight-Forwarding Cartels in the General Court: Lessons on Leniency and Discretion*On 29 February 2016, the General Court handed down its judgments in Case T-265/12 Schenker Ltd v European Commission; Case T-267/12 Deutsche Bahn AG and others v European Commission, upholding the (...)

The Finnish Market Court fines a professional association for implementing unlawful price recommendations (Finnish Bakery Federation)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Market Court imposes fines on the Finnish Bakery Federation for forbidden price recommendations* The Market Court has imposed a EUR 15,000 penalty to the Finnish Bakery Federation’s unlawful price recommendations in 2007–2011. The Market Court’s decision is in line with the penalty proposal made (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition publishes the result of an inquiry in the fuel sector and opens proceedings regarding possible price-fixing cartels and abuse of dominance
Johnson & Johnson (Sofia)
On February 25, 2016 the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) in Bulgaria has published its Conclusion of the sector inquiry on the Bulgarian market for the manufacture and sale of petrol and diesel fuels. The sector inquiry was initiated the middle of 2015 as doubts occurred that (...)

The German Competition Authority fines a manufacturer of railway sleepers for anticompetitive agreement in a public procurement (Durtrack)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt concludes proceedings against manufacturers of railway sleepers* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded its investigation proceedings against manufacturers of concrete and wooden railway sleepers and imposed a fine on one manufacturer of concrete railway sleepers. The proceedings (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two trade associations and several local cooperative banks for fixing mortgage interest rates (Mortgage interest rates agreement)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently closed an antitrust investigation in the ‘Mortgage interest rates agreement’ case by finding guilty two cooperative trade associations and 14 small cooperative banks for carrying out two price-fixing agreements in the province of Bolzano (the (...)

The EU Commission opens a preliminary investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfer market (Western Union)
Constantine Cannon (London)
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Constantine Cannon (London)
EU telegraphs it is probing whether Western Union colluded to drive rivals out of money-transfer market*The European Commission has reportedly launched a preliminary antitrust investigation into possible collusion by Western Union in the money remittance market.According to sources, the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines 6 undertakings for price-fixing agreement in the sector of industrial batteries (Emrol)
Belgian Competition Authority
The Belgian Competition Authority imposes fines amounting to 3.857.000 EUR for price-fixing in the sector of industrial batteries* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority sanctions 6 companies for price-fixing by applying an agreed lead surcharge to the (...)

The EU Commission opens a preliminary antitrust investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfert market (Western Union)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
In February 2016, it was reported that the European Commission is undertaking a preliminary antitrust investigation in relation to possible collusion in the money transfer market, continuing the trend of the Commission focussing on the financial sector in recent years. Focus of the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts second settlement decision in industrial battery cartel case (Battery manufacturers)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 23 February 2016, the College of Competition Prosecutors (the “Competition College”) of the Belgian Competition Authority adopted its second settlement decision involving six battery manufacturers (Battery Supplies, Celecric, Emrol, Enersys, Exide Technologies and Hoppecke) on account of these (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit concludes that a reverse payment need not be in cash (Loestrin)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
First Circuit boosts antitrust challenges to pay-for-delay settlements by finding non-cash deals subject to Actavis scrutiny*Antitrust challenges to so-called “pay-for-delay” settlements—in which brand-name drug makers temporarily keep generics out of the market by making payments to would-be (...)

The U.S. FTC urges the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to consider that a reverse payment need not be in cash (Loestrin)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. FTC urges the Appeals Court to revive the Loestrin Suit* On December 7, 2015, during oral argument, the U.S. FTC urged the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to revive the Loestrin suit. The case concerns a so-called reverse payment settlement. In 2009 Watson Pharmaceuticals agreed (...)

The French Competition Authority launches unannounced inspections in the market of fire safety systems equipping businesses and buildings receiving the public
French Competition Authority
Fire safety systems equipping businesses and buildings receiving the public* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence states that unannounced inspections were carried out on February 18th in the sector of fire safety systems equipping businesses and buildings receiving the (...)

The EU Commission launches a market test on commitments offered by container liner shipping companies (CMA CGM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by container liner shipping companies* The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by fifteen container liner shipping companies to address concerns relating to concerted practices. The (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority closes its procedure concerning an alleged resale price maintenance in the market of the distributors of motorcycles and scooters (Piaggio Hrvatska)
Croatian Competition Agency
No infringement of competition rules for Piaggio Hrvatska* Neither direct nor indirect evidence was found in the proceeding that was conducted against the undertaking Piaggio Hrvatska based on the alleged resale price maintenance provisions in the vertical agreements with its buyers. In other (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority fines pharmaceutical companies for pay-for-delay deals (GSK)
Constantine Cannon (London)
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Constantine Cannon (London)
UK Antitrust Watchdog slaps $65 million fine on Pharma Companies in UK’s first pay-for-delay case*On 12 February 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), UK’s competition regulator, fined a number of pharma companies for anti-competitive conduct and agreements in relation to the supply (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines several pharmaceutical companies for pay-for-delay settlements (GlaxoSmithKline)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
CMA fines pharma companies £45 million* The CMA has fined a number of pharmaceutical companies for anti-competitive conduct and agreements in relation to the supply of paroxetine. The CMA’s decision relates to conduct and agreements between 2001 and 2004 in which GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), the (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the satellite and launch service markets (Arianespace / Airbus Safran Launchers)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into ASL’s acquisition of Arianespace* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the market of consumable dental products for the professional dental (Dentsply /Sirona)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Dentsply acquisition of dental equipment supplier Sirona, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of dental equipment supplier Sirona by Dentsply, both of the US, subject to conditions. (...)

The US Committee on Foreign Investment publishes its annual report and reviews national security aspects of increasing number of acquisitions by Asian companies
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Washington)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Washington)
Parties to transactions that might implicate US national security interests may elect voluntarily to submit a notification to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the multi-agency committee charged with conducting national security reviews of acquisitions by foreign (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears a merger in the real estate sector (Gigaplex / Raheja)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction A notification was jointly filed by Mindspace Business Parks Private Limited (“Mindspace”), K. Raheja Corp Private Limited (“KRC”), Trion Properties Private Limited (“Trion”), Gigaplex Estate Private Limited (“Gigaplex”) and Newfound Properties and Leasing Private Limited (“Newfound”), (...)

The Indian CCI imposes a record fine for late merger filing in India (GE)
Baker McKenzie (London)
Record fine for late filing in India: Time to set the deadline for reform?* India’s competition authority (the CCI) imposed a record-breaking fine of US$750,000 (50 million rupees) on General Electric (GE) earlier this year for failing to notify its tie-up with Alstom S.A. within the deadline (...)

The Competition Commission of India fines an undertaking for failing to notify a merger within 30 days of the trigger date (GE)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently imposed a penalty of INR 5 crores (approximately USD 750,000) on GE for its failure to notify the proposed acquisition of Alstom companies within 30 days of the trigger date. The penalty imposed on GE is the highest penalty for late filing (...)

The Dutch Industry Appeals Tribunal annuls decision blocking bakery merger (Continental Bakeries / A.A. ter Beek)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2016, the Dutch Industry Appeals Tribunal (the “Tribunal”), the administrative court of last instance in competition law matters, annulled the decision of the Dutch Competition Authority (“DCA”) prohibiting the merger between Continental Bakeries and A.A. ter Beek. The Tribunal held (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority unconditionally clears an acquisition in the market for data memory systems (Western Digital / SanDisk)
University of Sussex
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has unconditionally cleared in Phase I the acquisition of the sole control of SanDisk by Western Digital in the market for data memory systems. The Operation On 4 December 2015, the TCA received a (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the office supplies market (Staples / Office Depot)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Staples’ acquisition of Office Depot, subject to conditions* Following an in-depth review, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of office supplies distributor Office Depot by Staples, subject to conditions. Following (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger in the telecommunications sector (Liberty Global’s / BASE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 February 2016, the European Commission conditionally approved the acquisition of Belgian mobile network operator (“MNO”) BASE by Liberty Global, which controls the Belgian telecommunications operator and mobile virtual network operator (“MVNO”) Telenet. Telenet has a significant position in a (...)

Procedures

The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission releases draft antitrust guidelines on leniency and commitments for public comment
China Competition Bulletin
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China Competition Bulletin
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 2 February 2016, the NDRC released both the draft Guideline on the Application of Leniency in Cases Involving Horizontal Monopoly Agreements (draft leniency guideline) and the draft Guideline on Commitments in Anti-Monopoly Cases (draft commitment guideline) for public comment. The public (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority launches a public consultation in the context of the drafting of an opinion on the freedom of establishment of notaries, bailiffs and judicial auctioneers
French Competition Authority
Notaries, bailiffs and judicial auctioneers* In application of the "Macron law", the Autorité de la concurrence is launching a public consultation in the context of the drafting of an opinion on the freedom of establishment of notaries, bailiffs and judicial auctioneers. This opinion will (...)

The French Competition Authority issues three opinions regarding the ways in which driver licence tests are organized
French Competition Authority
The Autorité publishes three opinions regarding the ways in which driver licence tests are organized. * In particular, the Autorité has expressed a mitigated opinion over the methods used to allocate test places among driving schools. The Autorité de la concurrence today publishes three (...)

The French Competition Authority issues its two opinions following publication of the decree on the tariffs of certain law professionals
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence publishes the opinions it issued to the government following yesterday’s publication of the decree on the rates of certain law professionals.* Following publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic (JORF) of 28 February 2016 of Decree 2016-230 of 26 (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a report and an opinion concerning the energy sector
French Competition Authority
The Autorité has published its evaluation report on the legal mechanism providing regulated access to incumbent nuclear electricity (hereinafter ARENH), and an opinion on the decree concerning regulated sales tariffs (hereinafter TRVs), as well as two opinions on plans to phase out TRVs on gas (...)

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