January 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The Portuguese Competition Authority launches unannounced inspections in the credit sector
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The Portuguese Competition Authority confirms unannounced inspections in the specialised credit sector* The Portuguese Competition Authority (the PCA) confirms that it carried out unannounced inspections on 28 and 29 January 2016, at 13 premises of various specialised credit institutions (...)

The Danish Supreme Court upholds a decision of the High Court regarding infringement of competition law by an arbitration award and confirms the “Eco Swiss” doctrine (Taewoong / Ah Industries)
University of Copenhagen
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Accura
Summary of the case In a January 2016 ruling the Danish Supreme Court rejected the argument that a 2011 arbitration award infringed competition law and therefore should be set aside . The dispute between the parties pertained to the termination of an international distribution agreement (...)

The EU Commission fines car parts producers € 137 M in cartel settlement (Melco / Hitachi)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines car parts producers € 137 789 000 in cartel settlement* The European Commission has imposed fines of € 137 789 000 on Melco (Mitsubishi Electric) and Hitachi for participating in a cartel for alternators and starters with another firm, Denso, in breach of EU antitrust (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority seeks to fine several major bus companies guilty of forming a cartel (Matkahuolto)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
FCCA proposes EUR 38 million penalty for a cartel involving 7 coach companies, the Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Matkahuolto* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has today presented the Market Court with a proposal for a EUR 38 million penalty concerning seven* of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice gives a preliminary ruling for an alleged collusion among a number of travel agencies through an online travel booking system (Eturas)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
On 21 January 2016 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling upon the request of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania in the Eturas case. At the core of the case was an alleged collusion among a number of travel agencies through an online travel booking system (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation for a possible anticompetitive agreement in relation to the SEDA multilateral inter-bank agreement (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)
University of London - School of Economics Birkbeck College
On the 21th of January 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority” or “Italian Authority”) opened an investigation against the Italian banks’ association, Associazione Bancaria Italiana (“ABI”) for a possible anticompetitive agreement under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of (...)

The EU Court of Justice reduces fine in a cartel case (Spanish bitumen)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 21 January 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) issued a judgment reducing the fine previously imposed by the European Commission on the Galp group for its participation in the Spanish bitumen cartel case. The judgment follows on from a previous ruling of the General Court (...)

The EU Court of Justice affirms the need to clearly distinguish between restrictions by object and restrictions by effect (Toshiba)
Fidal (Paris La défense)
No more than two years elapsed between the Allianz Hungária case, which appeared to confuse the notions of “restriction by object” and “restriction by effect”, and the Groupement des cartes bancaires case, which seemed to put an end to that confusion. The Court needed to adopt a third position in (...)

The Italian Supreme Adminstrative Court rules on limitation period in cases of anticompetitive codes of professional ethics
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
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Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
The Italian Supreme Adminstrative Court rules on limitation period in cases of anticompetitive codes of professional ethics On the 19th of January 2016 the Italian Supreme Administrative Court (Consiglio di Stato), overturned a decision of the National Competition Authority concerning (...)

The EU General Court rejects actions brought against the recalculated fines imposed by the Commission in the gas insulated switchgear cartel (Toshiba / Mitsubishi)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 19 January 2016, the General Court (“GC”) issued judgments rejecting actions brought by Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric against the recalculated fines amounting to approximately € 136 million imposed by the European Commission in June 2012 for their participation in the gas insulated switchgear (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines three fuels wholesale companies for implementing anticompetitive agreements (Tinmar / Planoil)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has sanctioned three fuels wholesale companies* The Competition Council has sanctioned with fines amounting 16.907.202 lei (approx.3,7 million Euro) three fuels wholesale companies for concluding anticompetitive agreements. The sanctioned companies are the following: (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines two companies on the market of automatic mail processing for an agreement to share their clients (Lykos Romania / Zipper Data)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has sanctioned two companies on the Romanian market of automatic mail processing* The Competition Council has sanctioned the companies Lykos SA Romania and Zipper Data SRL with fines amounting of 4,454,380 lei (approx. 994.000 Euro) for anticompetitive agreement. (...)

The German Competition Authority fines a toys manufacturer for resale price maintenance (Lego)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt fines LEGO for vertical resale price maintenance* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed a fine of 130,000 euros on LEGO GmbH for enforcing vertical resale price maintenance in the sale of its so-called "highlight articles". Those affected were retailers in northern and eastern (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines several electricity suppliers for anticompetitive agreements on the electricity producing and trading markets (Hidroelectrica)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has sanctioned Hidroelectrica SA and its 10 contractual partners with fines amounting 165,843,604 lei* The Competition Council has sanctioned Hidroelectrica SA and its 10 contractual partners, mainly electricity traders, with fines amounting 165,843,604 lei (approx. (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit hears interesting oral argument on Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act related issues (Best Buy / Hannstar Display)
GeyerGorey (Washington)
Ninth Circuit’s Oral Argument on FTAIA Related Appeal* If an FTAIA related case is ever taken by the Supreme Court I believe it will be a private civil price fixing damage case like Best Buy Co., Inc. v. Hannstar Display Corporation. The Antitrust Division’s international cartel prosecutions (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines two undertakings for bid rigging in medical procurements (Optika un Diagnostika / Arbor Medical Korporācija)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC fines Undertakings for Bid Rigging in Medical Procurements* On 10 December, The Competition Council (CC) of Latvia fined two undertakings – SIA Optika un Diagnostika and SIA Arbor Medical Korporācija – for coordinating tenders in a total of six different procurements of medical equipment (...)

The Chilean National Antitrust Prosecutor files a claim against the three major supermarket companies of the country for coordinating a cartel in a market where they reach a combined market share of over 90% (Walmart / Cencosud / SMU)
University of Berkeley
On the last decade, Chile has witnessed an explosion in its cartel history. Strangely enough, while the latest Antitrust reforms have aimed to higher sanctions and invasive investigation methods, and the public scrutiny has increased as information becomes available, the major corporations seem (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines two companies on the market of movies exploitation in cinemas for resale price maintenance (Intercomfilm Distribution / Hollywood Multiplex Operations)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has sanctioned with fines SC Intercomfilm Distribution SRL and SC Hollywood Multiplex Operations SRL* The Competition Council has sanctioned the companies SC Intercomfilm Distribution SRL and SC Hollywood Multiplex Operations SRL with fines of 107.571 lei (approx. Euro (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Hellenic Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by an electricity producer ending competition concerns (PPC)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
HCC has accepted commitments proposed by the PPC S.A. to address competition concerns with regard to the supply of electricity to Aluminium of Greece S.A.* By a unanimous decision, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) accepted commitments proposed by the Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines a rail freight company for abuse of dominance (PKP Cargo)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
PKP Cargo fined for limiting competition on the rail freight market* UOKiK found that PKP Cargo (Poland’s largest rail freight operator) abused its dominant position, resulting in limited competition on the rail freight market, fining the company 14,2 million PLN [3,3 million EUR] Poland’s (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a mobile carrier for abuse of dominance in the business market (Orange)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines Orange 350 million euros for having abusively hindered the development of competition in the business market since the early 2000s. The Autorité also takes action to restore market competition for the benefit of business clients* In brief After complaints (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission corrects second time around a merger decision in the publishing sector after a defect was raised by the ECJ (Editions Odile Jacob)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
As a general proposition, when the validity of a European Commission antitrust decision is challenged before the General Court of the European Union (GCEU), the procedure is one of judicial review, not a retrial on the merits (although the GCEU does have special jurisdiction to increase or (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts a remedy concerning a merger in the serviced office space market (Regus / Avanta)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA accepts remedy in serviced office space merger* The Competition and Markets Authority has today accepted a remedy to resolve competition concerns arising from Regus’ acquisition of Avanta. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on 18 November 2015 that it would consider in (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the market of production of programmes broadcast on television (Newen / TF1 and Newen)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of joint control of Newen by TF1 and FIFL* On 27 November 2015, TF1 and FIFL notified the Autorité de la concurrence of the acquisition of joint control of the FLCP (Fabrice Larue Capital Partners) Group, for which the principal company, (...)

The Ukrainian Parliament approves amendments to the Law of Ukraine on protection of economic competition increasing the efficiency over merger Control
On 26 January 2016 the Ukrainian Parliament approved in the second reading Draft Law 2168-a “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Economic Competition” Increasing the Efficiency over Merger Control” (the “Law”). New Rules The Law increases financial thresholds that trigger merger (...)

The US Federal Trade Commission revises and raises the thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Office of Attorney General
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Winston & Strawn (Washington)
The US Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has revised and, once again, raised the thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”). The HSR Act may require that parties to proposed stock or asset acquisitions exceeding certain thresholds file (...)

The US FTC revises and raises the thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced* 1. Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings On January 21, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger on in the advertising sector (Metrobus / JCDecaux)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has decided to open an in-depth examination of the acquisition of the Metrobus Group by the JCDecaux Group* On 23 November 2015, JCDecaux SA notified the Autorité of its proposed acquisition of the Régie Publicitaire des Transports Parisiens Metrobus Publicité SA (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore clears a merger in the hard drive sector in a phase I review (Western Digital / SanDisk)
Allen & Gledhill
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Allen & Gledhill (Singapore)
On 19 January 2016, the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) cleared the proposed acquisition (the “Proposed Transaction”) by Western Digital Corporation (“WDC”) of SanDisk Corporation (“SanDisk”) (collectively, “the Parties”). The Parties received the decision from CCS within the 30 working days (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger in the market of airline computer reservations systems (Amadeus / Navitaire)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Navitaire by Amadeus* The Commission approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of airline software provider Navitaire by rival Amadeus. The Commission concluded the companies’ IT solutions target different types of airlines and are (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the market of beverage can manufacturing (Ball / Rexam)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Ball’s acquisition of Rexam, subject to conditions* Following an in-depth review, the Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of beverage can manufacturer Rexam by rival Ball, subject to the divestment of 12 plants in the EEA. Ten of (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the market of oilfield service (Baker Hughes / Halliburton)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into acquisition of oilfield service provider Baker Hughes by Halliburton* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of oilfield service supplier Baker Hughes by rival Halliburton (...)

The Competition Commission of India updates its Merger Regulations
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 Indian merger control regime under the Competition Act, 2002 has been in force for nearly five years. In addition to the statutory provisions, the Combination Regulations were introduced by the Competition Commission of India in 2011 . These Regulations contain detailed rules on (...)

The German Competition Authority fines an undertaking specialized in organic dairies for providing incorrect information in a merger notification (Bongrain Europe)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Conclusion of fine proceedings against Bongrain Europe SAS* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed a fine of 90,000 euros on Bongrain Europe SAS, which belongs to the Savencia group, for providing incorrect information in a merger notification. The notification concerned the acquisition of the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority announces the entry into force of a new merger notification and examination procedure
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
New merger notification and examination procedure came into force in Lithuania* Lithuanian Competition Council (the Council) announced that the new Merger Notification and Examination Procedure (the Merger Procedure) had come into force on 1 January 2016. As of that date, all merger (...)

Procedures

The Lithuanian Competition Council fines an undertaking for obstruction of an investigation (Elmelit)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
On 11 February 2014 the Competition Council started the investigation against AB “Vakarų Laivų Gamykla“ with regard to an alleged infringement of Article 102 TFEU and Article 7 of the Law on Competition of the Republic of Lithuania . According to the assessment of the Competition Council, the (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies certain aspects of the review of legality and the unlimited jurisdiction regarding fines (Galp)
White & Case (Brussels)
Abstract: The Galp case provides helpful clarifications on the judicial review of competition law decisions: • The review of legality implies the review of all the elements of a Commission decision, including new evidence submitted for the first time by the applicant in the course of the Court (...)

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court confirms the wide discretion of the Competition Authority when requiring data from third parties including competitors of the undertaking under scrutiny (RegioJet)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
On 7 January 2016, the Supreme Administrative court rejected cassation appeal of RegioJet, a.s. (“RGJ”) against the previous judgment of the Regional Court in Brno which rejected claim against the Czech Office for Protection of Competition (“Office”) alleging that the Office acted contrary to law (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority welcomes the adoption of an ordinance overhauling the regulatory framework of coach stations following the opening of the passenger coach transport market
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Passenger coach stations* Following the opening up of the passenger coach transport market last summer, the Autorité welcomes the government adoption of an ordinance overhauling the regulatory framework of coach stations and granting the sector regulator, the ARAFER, the range of instruments (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority issues its opinion on a municipal decision on the provision of taxi services in Zagreb
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA opinion on the Decision of the City of Zagreb on the provision of taxi services* Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) communicated to the municipality of Zagreb – the City of Zagreb – its opinion on the Amendments to the Decision of the City of Zagreb on the provision of taxi services. It must (...)

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