February 2017

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority drops charges against car rental companies for exchanging detailed and individualised sales information (Europcar / Sixt / Avis / Hertz)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 27 February 2017, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) decided to close a ten-year investigation into information exchanges between car rental companies without imposing any sanction. The FCA investigated whether information exchanged through airport management authorities facilitated (...)

The Turkish Competition Board publishes the new block exemption for vertical agreements in the motor vehicle sector
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law
Introduction The New Block Exemption Communique 2017/3 for Vertical Agreements in the Motor Vehicle Sector in Turkey was published in the Official Gazette on February 24 2017. Communique 2017/3 revoked the Block Exemption Communique 2005/4 for Vertical Agreements and Concerted Practices in the (...)

The EU General Court rules on three actions claiming damages for alleged excessive duration of judicial proceedings (Armando Alvarez / Plasticos Espanoles / Kendrion)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 1 and 17 February 2017, the General Court (“GC”) delivered three judgments in relation to actions claiming damages for alleged excessive duration of judicial proceedings. This is the second set of judgments issued by the GC on this topic. Last month, the GC awarded Gascogne more than € 57,000 (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals against judgments of the General Court in a cartel case confirming the responsibility of undertakings for the actions of their representative (Paraffin Wax)
Van Bael & Bellis
Under EU case law, an undertaking can be held responsible for the actions of a person who is authorised to act on its behalf, regardless of any action or knowledge on the part of the managers of that undertaking. Consequently, the Commission may impose fines on an undertaking if it has shown (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines an undertaking for resale price maintenance in the white goods and small household appliances market (Gorenje)
Croatian Competition Agency
Gorenje Zagreb fined more than HRK 1.5 mil for resale price maintenance* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) imposed a fine on the undertaking Gorenje Zagreb amounting to HRK 1.557,000. The CCA found within the proceeding that Gorenje Zagreb entered into a prohibited agreement containing (...)

The EU Commission fines undertakings for a total € 68 million in a car battery recycling cartel case (Campine / Eco-Bat Technologies / Recylex)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 8 February 2017, the European Commission announced that it had imposed fines totalling € 68 million on three car battery recyclers (Campine, Eco-Bat Technologies and Recylex) for operating a cartel in which they had allegedly agreed to fix the purchase prices of scrap lead-acid automotive (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority decides to settle a price-fixing case in the beauty and broader cosmetics sector (Hondos)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Settlement of price-fixing case involving HONDOS in the beauty and broader cosmetics sector* By its unanimous Decision No. 636/2017, the Grand Chamber of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) decided to settle a case against eight (8) companies controlled by HONDOS family members in the (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court dismisses a lawsuit for unfair competition stating that a platform that focuses exclusively on private transport is not subject to transportation regulations (CONFEBUS / Blablacar)
Callol, Coca & Asociados
A First Instance Commercial Court dismisses the lawsuit filed against Blablacar for unfair competition stating that Blablacar is a platform that focuses exclusively on private transport and is therefore not subject to transportation regulations (Judgement of the Commercial Court of 2 February (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Russian Competition Authority sends a warning to a multinational technology company suspected of abuse of dominance (Apple)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS issued a warning to “Apple Rus” Ltd.* By 1 May 2017 the company should open a unified service centre in the Russian Federation On 20 February 2017, the FAS Commission investigated a case against “Apple Rus” Ltd. According to a statement received by FAS, in 2016 service centres failed to (...)

The German Competition Authority closes its proceedings on abusive pricing against district heating suppliers and obtains antitrust remedies (Innogy)
German Competition Authority
Proceedings against district heating suppliers concluded* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded its proceedings on abusive pricing against district heating suppliers. In a number of supply areas the suppliers have offered commitments in response to the authority’s concerns about abusively (...)

The French Competition Authority fines the leading French manufacturer of petanque balls for abuse of dominance (Obut)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence fines Obut for having obliged its dealers to charge suggested retail prices.* Background The Autorité has fined the leading French manufacturer of petanque balls for having abused its dominant position by imposing a pricing policy on some of its distributors. (...)

The French Competition Authority conducts an initial intermediary assessment of the commitments made by an online accommodation booking company (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence conducts an initial intermediary assessment of the commitments made by Booking.com.* The Autorité has not ruled out the possibility of issuing an opinion at its own initiative if the change in competition so requires, and is actively contributing to all of the (...)

The French Supreme Court recalls the maximum fine incurred by associations compared to companies and clarifies the concept of undertaking underlying such distinction (Expert-comptable media association)
DLA Piper (Paris)
In its confirmatory ruling issued on 8 February 2017, the French judicial supreme court (Cour de cassation, chambre commerciale, hereafter the “Supreme Court”) specifies that the concept of “undertaking” used to subject any entity engaged in an economic activity, whatever its legal form, to the (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger in the voltage cable business and power cable accessories business markets (ABB’s/NKT)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of ABB’s High Voltage Cable and Cable Accessories Businesses by NKT* The European Commission has cleared unconditionally under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of ABB’s high voltage cable business and power cable accessories business by (...)

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blocks two proposed mergers in the insurance sector brought and litigated under the Obama administration (Aetna / Humana and Anthem / Cigna)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
In a continuation of recent Department of Justice (DOJ) successes challenging mergers, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently enjoined two more proposed mergers brought and litigated under the Obama administration. Aetna’s $37 billion proposed acquisition of Humana was (...)

Procedures

The US District Court for the Easter District of Michigan dismisses a Sherman Act class action lawsuit for lack of antitrust injury (Shain /Advanced Technologies)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
US District Court dismisses a Sherman Act class action lawsuit brought by former and current Bureau of Prison inmates for lack of antitrust injury* On 28 February 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (hereinafter, “District Court”) dismissed a putative class action (...)

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy submits a draft bill for a register of economic crimes and administrative offences
Blomstein
Good things come to those who wait? - The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy submits a draft bill for a so-called "register of competition"* The idea of a nationwide “register of corruption” has haunted the German procurement law world for years. Now the German Federal Ministry of (...)

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