June 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The EU General Court endorses strict approach to ancillary restraints (Portugal Telecom and Telefónica)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Portugal Telecom and Telefonica cases – Non-compete clauses: General Court endorses strict approach to ancillary restraints Non-compete clauses are standard practice in the context of the acquisition of a business to protect a purchaser’s investment. They guarantee the transfer to the purchaser (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that market sharing and price agreements are very serious infringements due to their sole nature (PROAS)
Ecole de formation du Barreau (EFB)
The Court of Justice stated in a judgement of the 9th June 2016 , in the Spanish Bitumen Case, that a very serious infringement may be established according to the sole nature of the anti-competitive behavior since the practice is classified amongst the worst kinds of infringements provided by (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that the Commission is entitled to refer to the last business year that corresponds to a full year of normal activity to calculate the fine (Pre-stressing steel cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Under Article 23(2) of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Rules on Competition, a fine imposed for competi- tion law infringements should not exceed 10 percent of the undertaking’s total turnover in the business year preceding the decision in which the Commission imposes the fine. In (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Spanish competition authority fines car-wash equipment maker €638,770 for denial of parts and data to independent repairers (Istobal)
Baker McKenzie (Madrid)
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Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
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Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
The Spanish authority fined car-wash equipment maker Istobal €638,770 (2% of its Spanish revenue) for denial of parts and data to independent repairers. Though providing repair/maintenance services itself and via appointed third party service providers (each allocated to specific territories in (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation concerning a potential abuse of dominance on Belgian beer market (AB InBev)
European Commission - DG COMP
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into AB InBev’s practices on Belgian beer market* The European Commission has opened an investigation, on its own initiative, to assess whether Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (AB InBev) has abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market by (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a supplier of rolled zinc for abuse of dominance (UMICORE)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines UMICORE, one of the global leaders in zinc, €69 million for abuse of dominant position towards its competitors by practicing during 9 years a trade policy aiming at constraining its distributors to supply themselves exclusively from the company.* In brief (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority renders legally binding the commitments offered by a food retailer (Dia)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The PCA adopts a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Dia Portugal related to Minipreço franchise* The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) adopted a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Dia Portugal Supermercados, Sociedade (...)

The Italian Competition Authority grants an interim injunction to allow the carrying out of a competitive tender procedure in the public local transport services sector (Gara TPL Padova)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently opened an Article 102 TFEU investigation in the case Gara TPL Padova concerning a competitive tender procedure for the selection of a local public transport operator . Later, on the basis of Article 14-bis of the Italian Competition Act no. (...)

The Swedish District Court finds that abuse of dominance by airport in the imposition of a special charge over taxi companies was objectively justified (Swedavia)
Vinge (Stockholm)
Taxi case reaches final destination*The Swedish Competition Authority has lost its court case against Swedavia, the owner of Stockholm Arlanda Airport, for alleged abuse of dominance. The District Court has found that while there was an abuse of dominance, it was objectively justified and (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a working paper on "Market Power of Platforms and Networks"
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes working paper on "Market Power of Platforms and Networks"* The Bundeskartellamt has today published a working paper which deals with the "Market Power of Platforms and Networks" in the Internet. The report focuses on the factors relevant for assessing the market (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority pursues the monitoring of the online booking market after closing its sector inquiry
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH continues to monitor the hotel booking market after closing its sectoral inquiry* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) prepared its report on its sectoral inquiry on the online accommodation booking market. Due to the positive changes that took place on (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominance in the Hertzian broadcasting market (Itas Tim / TDF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
DTT broadcasting* The Autorité de la concurrence fines TDF 20.6 million Euros for abusive intervention with the municipalities aimed at hindering the establishment of its competitors. Besides, the Autorité has fined a loyalty rebate system encouraging TV channels to use TDF’s services for most (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the real estate sector (Foncière de Paris / Gecina)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Foncière de Paris by Gecina* The Gecina company has notified on 26 May 2016 its intention to acquire the Foncière de Paris company. Gecina is a real estate investment company listed on Euronext Paris’ Eurolist. It operates in the ownership (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears, subject to remedies, a merger on the market for the provision of stevedoring and storage of domestic containerized cargo services (Cosco / Piraeus Port Authority)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Clearance of the proposed acquisition by COSCO (HONG KONG) GROUP LIMITED of sole control over PIRAEUS PORT AUTHORITY S.A. subject to conditions* The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has cleared today the notified concentration between PIRAEUS PORT AUTHORITY S.A. (PPA S.A.) and COSCO (HONG (...)

The Turkish Competition Board authorizes several mergers in the fast-moving consumer goods market (Migros)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
The FMCG Sector The fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”) sector is one of the largest industries worldwide. The FMCG retail is an indispensable part of the product distribution chain, and it plays a key role in price-making and the producers’ reaching the final consumer in all steps of the retail (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division denies preliminary injunction on the basis that geographic market analysis was erroneous in a hospital merger case (Advocate Health / NorthShore)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Geographic market definition trips up FTC as Federal Court rejects challenge to Advocate-NorthShore Hospital merger*The loss of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in a hospital merger case in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois last week highlights just how tricky (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority orders divestment of Scottish assets following a merger (Iron Mountain / Recall)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final report into Iron Mountain’s acquisition of Recall, following a six-month in-depth phase II investigation. Both companies are active in records and information management services (“RIMS”). The CMA con- cluded (...)

The French Competition Authority refuses to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced against a pay TV channel (Canal Plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence considers that the conditions are not currently satisfied to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced on Canal Plus. * The Autorité will engage, during the upcoming twelve months, in an in-depth work in dialogue with all the (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger in the market of brokerage of oil products (Tullett / ICAP)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
Broker merger faces an in-depth investigation* Tullett’s anticipated acquisition of ICAP’s voice/hybrid broking business faces being referred for an in-depth investigation by the CMA. Tullett Prebon plc (Tullett) and ICAP plc (ICAP) are leading global interdealer brokers, companies that (...)

State Aid

The European Commission publishes Working Paper on state aid and tax rulings
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 June 2016, the European Commission published a working paper on state aid and tax rulings (the “Working Paper”). The Working Paper brings together relevant findings of the Commission in the politically sensitive area of state aid and corporate taxation. In particular, the Working Paper (...)

Procedures

The US FTC announces substantial increases to civil penalties in case of failure to notify mergers
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Maximum Civil Penalties for HSR Violations to Increase to $40,000 per Day* For parties considering a merger or other transaction, the civil penalties for failing to comply with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”) are about to increase significantly.On June 29, (...)

The US FTC announces substantial increases to civil penalties
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (New York)
On Wednesday, June 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced substantial increases to the maximum civil penalties for 16 distinct violations of certain laws enforced by the FTC. Notable increases were announced for violations of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements (HSR) Act and the (...)

The EU Commission publishes its 2015 annual report on competition policy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 June 2016, the European Commission published its annual Report on Competition Policy (the “Report”). The Report outlines developments over the past year in policy, legislation and decisions in the eld of competition. Key priorities in the 2015 Report include growth and investment, the (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues its opinion concerning the freedom of establishment for notaries
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Proposed map of progressive establishment of new notarial offices* The Autorité de la concurrence identifies, on a total of 307 areas throughout the territory, 247 areas where it would be beneficial to create notarial offices, which would also lead to enhanced territorial coverage. It (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority launches a public consultation concerning its report on pharma market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council launched for public consultation the report on sector inquiry on pharma market* One of the conclusions of the sector inquiry on pharma sector carried out by the Competition Council is that the generic medicines, although are with 35% less expensive than the innovative (...)

Public sector

The Hungarian Parliament maintains automatic debarment from public procurement tenders as a general sanction for competition violations but allows Government to exempt certain tenders (Hungarian Public Procurement Act)
Ernst & Young
1. Overview In Hungary, since 1 November 2015 a fine imposed by any Competition Authority for anticompetitive agreements results in automatic exclusion from public procurement tenders. The recent introduction of automatic debarment was a major change compared to the previous rules, which (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency issues its opinion on public procurement rules relating to the purchase of fixed telephony services
Croatian Competition Agency
The CCA opinion on public procurement rules for purchase of fixed telephony services* The Croatian Competition Agency communicated its opinion on public procurement rules relating to the purchase of fixed telephony services to the State Office for Central Public Procurement. This opinion has (...)

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