May 2017

Anticompetitive practices

The Irish Central Criminal Court fines a company executive for his participation in a cartel and imposes a suspended prison sentence
McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
Ireland - Hard-core cartel offender gets €7,500 fine and suspended sentence* Following a guilty plea to criminal bid-rigging and obstruction charges, a company director was fined €7,500 by an Irish judge on 31 May and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment (suspended – meaning no jail time). (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an inquiry into big data
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Big Data: Italian authorities launch inquiries on competition, consumer protection and data privacy issues* On 30 May 2017, the Italian Competition Authority, the Italian Data Protection Authority and the Communications Authority opened a joint inquiry on “Big Data”. Sector Inquiry The joint (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines nine distributors of professional stage equipment for bid-rigging (SGS Sistēmas)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC detects bid-rigging among distributors of professional stage equipment* On 30 May, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) adopted a decision to impose a fine on nine companies, which had coordinated their activities within the framework of procurements of public and municipal (...)

The Belgian Parliament implements the EU Damages Directive
Hogan Lovells
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Damage Control: The implementation of the EU Damages Directive in Belgium* On 18 May 2017, the Belgian Parliament transposed the EU Damages Directive (the “Directive“) into national law by way of the Act on Damage Claims for Breaches of Competition Law (the “Act“), which was published on 12 June (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority sends a letter explaining the basic rules regarding fair competition to over 3,500 companies operating in the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM calls port industry’s attention to competition rules* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has sent a letter explaining the basic rules regarding fair competition to over 3,500 businesses based in Amsterdam and Rotterdam that are active in the ports of those cities. ACM (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by companies operating in the marine engines market (Duing / Fred Bobek)
Croatian Competition Agency
Accepted Commitments by Duing and Fred Bobek* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) closed two proceedings for the establishment of prohibited agreements by accepting commitments proposed by the parties concerned – Duing d.o.o. from Viškovo and Fred Bobek d.o.o. from Vodice active in the sales (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens administrative proceedings against an international audit company for its possible participation in an anticompetitive agreement (Deloitte)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS opened an administrative case against Russian office of “Deloitte”* On 15 May 2017, FAS opened administrative proceedings against “Deloitte and Tuche CIS” CJSC – Russian representative office of an international audit company “Deloitte”. In March 2017, investigating an antimonopoly case “on a (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines four providers of security services for bid-rigging (Bruks)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC detects bid-rigging by four security companies* On 11 May, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) took a decision to impose a fine on four providers of security services – SIA “Bruks”, SIA RK “Nivios-LTD”, SIA “Puma” and SIA “Lat Jur Fin” – for lasting and systematic implementation of (...)

The EU Commission publishes final e-commerce sector inquiry report
Van Bael & Bellis
On 10 May 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its final Report on the e-commerce sector inquiry (“the Report”), aimed at identifying business practices in the sector that might restrict competition and limit con- sumer choice. The Report consists of two documents: (i) a 16-page (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 10 May 2017, two years after launching its e-commerce sector inquiry on 6 May 2015, the European Commission published its final report (Final Report) on the inquiry. The inquiry was opened in the framework of the Commission’s broader Digital Single Market strategy, which was aimed at (...)

The EU Commission issues its final report on e-commerce sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes final report on e-commerce sector inquiry* The European Commission’s final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry identifies business practices that may restrict competition. It allows the Commission to target its enforcement of EU antitrust rules in e-commerce (...)

The EU Commission issues a final report on its e-commerce sector enquiry and updates its digital single market plans
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
EU issues final report on its e-commerce sector inquiry and updates its digital single market plan* On May 10, 2017, the European Commission published the final report on its sector inquiry on competition in the e-commerce sector (the E-Commerce Report) and a mid-term review of its digital (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the inquiry into the e-commerce sector
DLA Piper
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DLA Piper (London)
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DLA Piper
On 10 May 2017, DG Competition of the European Commission (the "Commission") published its final report on the inquiry into the e-commerce sector (launched in May 2015 as part of the Digital Single Market strategy). The findings in the report are based on information gathered from 1,900 (...)

The Indian Supreme Court clarifies the scope of the investigative powers of the Director General and the establishment of an agreement to indulge in collusive bidding (Crop Care)
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)
On 10 May 2017, the Supreme Court of India published its judgment dated 8 May 2017 in Excel Crop Care Ltd. v. Competition Commission of India & Anr . This judgment deals with important issues on the applicability of the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act) to conduct prior to its coming (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
The European Commission has published, on 10 May, its final report on the E- commerce Sector Inquiry (the “Final Report”). The Commission launched the E-commerce Sector Inquiry in May 2015 in the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) strategy, aiming to ensure better access for consumers (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments to remove most favoured nation clauses from e-book distribution agreements (Amazon)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 4 May 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced that it had accepted, pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No.1/2003, to make binding commitments that Amazon offered ending the use of parity clauses in distribution agreements with electronic book (“e-book”) publishers. These (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines several companies for bid-rigging (Siemens)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority imposes fines totalling 1 779 000 euros for a cartel in the context of a public contract* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (hereinafter “the Investigation and Prosecution Service”) sanctions a cartel between five (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority sanctions bid-rigging cartel in public contracts for railway infrastructure (ABB / AEG / Siemens / Schneider / Sécheron)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 2 May 2017, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) found that ABB, AEG, Siemens, Schneider and Sécheron had engaged in a cartel in the context of public tenders organised by government-owned railway network company Infrabel and imposed fines amounting to a total of € 1,779,000. Infrabel had (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission opens formal investigation into a pharmaceutical company pricing practices (Aspen Pharma)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into Aspen Pharma’s pricing practices for cancer medicines* The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into concerns that Aspen Pharma has engaged in excessive pricing concerning five life-saving cancer medicines. The Commission (...)

The Russian Competition Authority announce the payment of a fine by a multinational technology undertaking following a settlement (Google)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Google paid the fine* On 9 May 2017 Google Inc. Paid a 438,067,400 RUB administrative fine imposed by the Federal Antimonopoly Service. On 17 April 2017 the 2-year dispute between the Federal Antimonopoly Service and “Google” ended in an amicable settlement reached at the Arbitration Court of (...)

The Russian Competition Authority sanctions an energy company for abuse of dominance in the electricity market (Novgorodoblenergo)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“Novgorodoblenergo” JSC abused market dominance* Novgorod OFAS found that the company violated the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” The antimonopoly body opened a case upon complaint from “Elkom” Ltd. Prior to initiating the proceedings Novgorod OFAS issued a warning to (...)

The EU Commission accepts remedies proposed by an electronic commerce company in the e-books case (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments from Amazon on e-books* The European Commission has adopted a decision that renders legally binding the commitments offered by Amazon. The commitments address the Commission’s preliminary competition concerns relating to a number of clauses in Amazon’s (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the telecommunication market (Telecom Italia / Vivendi)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Vivendi’s acquisition of Telecom Italia, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved the acquisition of de facto control over Telecom Italia by Vivendi. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Telecom Italia’s stake in Persidera. Telecom (...)

The German FCO publishes merger remedies guidelines
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Bundeskartellamt publishes merger remedies guidelines* On May 30, 2017, the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, "FCO“) has published guidelines on remedies in German merger control, also available in an English translation. The very detailed guidelines (87 pages) provide a comprehensive (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the commercial restaurant sector (Flo / Bertrand)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Restaurant sector* As part of group Flo’s takeover by group Bertrand, the Autorité de la concurrence considered the case under merger control. The Autorité has authorized the transaction for which the agreement protocols have to be approved by Nanterre’s commercial court. Group Bertrand notified (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a joint venture in the retail sector (EDEKA / Budnikowsky)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears EDEKA/Budnikowsky cooperation* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the launch of a joint venture between EDEKA and Budnikowsky. Andreas Mundt, President of Bundeskartellamt: "When we assess mergers in the retail sector we always have to examine the competitive conditions (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority decides not to modify the notification thresholds for mergers
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Evaluation of the notification thresholds for concentrations in Belgium* The Code of Economic Law provides that the merger control provisions only apply where, together, the undertakings concerned have a turnover of more than EUR 100 million in Belgium and, at least two of the undertakings (...)

The EU Commission fines a company for providing incorrect or misleading information during its investigation on a merger (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On May 18, 2017, the European Commission (the “Commission”) fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during its 2014 investigation of its acquisition of WhatsApp The magnitude of the fine dwarfs the few penalties the Commission has imposed in the past for (...)

The EU Commission fines a social network company for providing misleading information during the merger investigation (Facebook)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission fines Facebook €110 million for providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover* The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of (...)

The EU Commission alleges a telecommunication company has breached EU rules by implementing its merger before notification or approval (Altice)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Altice breached EU rules by early implementation of PT Portugal acquisition* The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections alleging that multinational telecommunications company Altice (the Netherlands), breached the EU Merger Regulation by implementing (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a company to investigate whether a merger was implemented prior to the Commission’s clearance (Altice)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
When a transaction meets the thresholds of the EU Merger Regulation, companies must notify and obtain clearance from the European Commission before implementing the transaction. This means that until clearance is obtained, companies should continue to operate independently (including (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the market of semiconductor devices (Brocade / Broadcom)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of networking products supplier Brocade (US) by semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom (US/Singapore), subject to (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the chemicals market (Reichhold / Polynt)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves merger between chemical producers Reichhold and Polynt, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the merger between chemical producers Reichhold (US) and Polynt (Italy). Both produce unsaturated polyester resins, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a merger in the airport duty-free shops market (Inflight Service Poland / Lagardère Duty-Free)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
The President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“OCCP”) in his decision no. DKK 72/2017 of 11 May 2017 issued consent for concentration on the market for duty-free shops. As the proceedings demonstrated, the acquisition of Inflight Service Poland by Lagardère Duty-Free (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes merger remedies guidance
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Dusseldorf)
The German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt or "FCO") has published guidance on the requirements placed on remedies in merger control and their implementation. Remedies are an important instrument in merger control practice. They can enable the clearance of a merger under conditions and (...)

Procedures

The Spanish government implements the EU antitrust damages directive
Callol, Coca & Asociados
The government has issued an urgent Royal Decree-Law 9/2017 of 26 May (RDL) implementing Directive 2014/104/UE, of the European Parliament and the Council, of 26 November 2014 (Directive) into Spanish law. A Royal Decree-law is an instrument used by the government to legislate on matters that (...)

The EU Commission adopts the Proposal for a Regulation setting out the conditions and procedure by which it may request undertakings and associations of undertakings to provide information in relation to the internal market and related areas
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
Hardly picked up by the specialised press, the Proposal for a Regulation setting out the conditions and procedure by which the European Commission may request undertakings and associations of undertakings to provide information in relation to the internal market and related areas (“the (...)

Regulatory

The Romanian Competition Authority issues its recommendations for the improvement of the medical services market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council makes recommendations for the improvement of the medical services market* The Competition Council finalized the sector inquiry on medical services in Romania and related activities and elaborated a series of recommendations for the development of this sector and (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion to the Electronic Communications Authority concerning the fixed broadband and superfast broadband wholesale markets
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence issues an opinion to ARCEP (France’s Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority), in the framework of the fifth cycle of analysis of the fixed broadband and superfast broadband wholesale markets.* The Autorité de la concurrence agrees with most of (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a final report on its sector inquiry into sub metering services
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Sector Inquiry into Submetering of Heating and Water Costs* The Bundeskartellamt recommends measures to stimulate competition in the provision of submetering services. The authority has today presented its final report on its sector inquiry into submetering. Submetering services cover the (...)

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