November 2017

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry into online price comparison websites
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into comparison websites* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry into "online price comparison websites". Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "Every day millions of consumers gather information by using price comparison (...)

The EU General Court holds that watch manufacturers are allowed to restrict the supply of watch parts only to approved repairers (CEAHR)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In July 2004, the European Confederation of Watch and Clock Repairers’ Association (“CEAHR”) led a complaint with the Commission arguing that there was (i) an agreement or a concerted practice between a number of luxury watch manufacturers and (ii) an abuse of dominant positionresulting from (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering for cartel (Tarkett)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité has imposed sanctions totalling €302 million on the three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering, as a penalty for price fixing among other pratices.* Background Acting on information submitted by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU General Court issues a ruling on mandatory access and interoperability in the software industry (Contact Software)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Amsterdam)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
The European General Court’s ("GC") decision relates to a complaint filed with the European Commission ("EC") by Contact Software, a German software supplier of Product Data Management ("PDM"). Contact Software alleged an abuse of dominance by Dassault Systèmes and Parametric Technology Corp., as (...)

The EU Commission fines a Lithuanian Railways company for abuse of dominance on rail freight market (Lietuvos geležinkeliai)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Lithuanian Railways €28 million for hindering competition on rail freight market* The European Commission has fined Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) an amount of €27 873 000 for hindering competition on the rail freight market, in breach of EU antitrust (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority closes abuse of dominance proceedings by means of a commitments decision against a pharmaceutical company (IMS Health)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 13 July 2017, the NMCC closed the Article 102 TFEU and Article 2 of the Spanish Competition Act (Competition Act) proceedings related to the supply of pharmaceutical marketing data to IMS Health (IMS) by means of a commitments decision. The NMCC initiated the investigation, as a result of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority closes proceedings by means of a commitments against a tonic water company in a case related to restrictions of parallel trade (Schweppes)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The NMCC has closed with commitments an investigation against Schweppes, S.A. related to restrictions of parallel trade. The Coca-Cola group and Orangina Schweppes Holding B.V. (OSHBV) share the ownership of the Schweppes trademark in the EU. Coca-Cola owns the Schweppes trademark in the UK (...)

Mergers

The US FTC files a complaint challenging a proposed acquisition (Red Venture / Bankrate)
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
On November 3, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint challenging Red Ventures’ proposed acquisition of Bankrate. The FTC alleged that the deal likely would have lessened competition in the market for thirdparty paid referral services for senior living facilities—even though Red (...)

The EU General Court sets aside the Commission’s approval decision of a merger in the market for television and telecommunication services (KPN - Liberty Global / Ziggo)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By the judgment recently rendered in the KPN/Commission case , the General Court of the EU (GC) has quashed the decision previously made by the European Commission by which it gave a conditional go-ahead to the Ziggo acquisition by Liberty Global. The appeal was filed by a competitor of the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the cured meat products market (Financière Turenne Lafayette/ Coorperl Arc Atlantique)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of full control of the cured meats’ division of Financière Turenne Lafayette (Paul Prédault, Madrange…) by Coorperl Arc Atlantique (Brocéliande)* Parties to the operation On 4 May 2017, Cooperl Arc Atlantique (VériTable, L’atout prix or (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears an acquisition of joint control over a dairy milk company subject to commitments (Delta Foods / Mevgal)
Prentoulis Gerakini Law Partnership (Athens)
Under its decision No. 650/2017 the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved the acquisition of joint control of Mevgal SA by Delta Food SA and members of the Hatzakou family. Delta Food S.A., member of the Vivartia Group of companies, produces and distributes dairy products such as, (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the market of medical devices (Bard / BD)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Bard by BD, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Bard by BD. Both companies supply medical devices. The decision is conditional on the divestment of BD’s core needle biopsy (...)

The UK Government proposes greater intervention in national security and infrastructure mergers
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On October 17, 2017, the UK Government published legislative proposals that would give it greater powers to intervene in mergers that raise national security considerations or involve national infrastructure. In the short-term, any transaction involving a party active in the manufacture or (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the market of automotive equipment (FTE / Valeo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of FTE by Valeo, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of FTE by Valeo, both automotive equipment suppliers. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Valeo’s passive (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries (United Kingdom)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) opened an in-depth investigation into UK statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries of UK corporate taxpayers from UK tax. The Commission’s investigation will focus on whether the UK Controlled (...)

The EU Commission pursues Ireland before the Court of justice for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from an American multinational technology company (Apple)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers Ireland to Court for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as (...)

The EU Commission concludes that Luxembourg has granted undue tax benefits to an electronic commerce company (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million* The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay (...)

The EU Commission refers Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to recover illegal tax benefits (Apple)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The European Commission has referred Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to comply with its Decision of 30 August 2017. In the said decision, the Commission established that Ireland had granted certain tax benefits to Apple allowing the la er to pay substantially less tax (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice rules the prohibition on selling at a loss laid down by Spanish legislation relating to retail commerce contrary to EU law (Europamur Alimentación)
Broseta (Madrid)
In the context of a preliminary ruling, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) concluded, through judgement of 19 October 2017 (Case C-295/16, Europamur Alimentación, S.A.), that the prohibition on selling at a loss (or sale at a loss) stated in Article 14 of Law 7/1996, regulating retail commerce (...)

The UK High Court renders a judgment significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions (Emerald Supplies)
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
On 4 October 2017, the High Court gave a judgment on a preliminary issue significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claimants’ claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions. This judgment is the last in a series of adverse judgments for the claimants in these proceedings. Background (...)

Regulatory

The German Competition Authority publishes a paper on ’Big Data and Competition’ as Big Data and digital markets remain in the focus of EU competition authorities
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
I. Introduction On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (’FCO’) launched its new series of papers on ’Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy’. The first paper deals with ’Big Data and Competition’. The same day, a ’real-life example’ of competition enforcement in Big Data (...)

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