Advertising

Anticompetitive practices

The Danish Competition Council finds the price fixing agreement to constitute a serious violation of the competition act and orders injunction against setting and advertising a fixed price (BoligOne)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Anti-Competitive Price Fixing Agreement in the Real Estate Business* A small cooperative chain of independent real estate agents – BoligOne – had notified their commercialization agreement to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. According to the agreement, the parties had i.a. agreed (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposes to grant authorisation to enable a chain of up-market department stores to continue to invite certain businesses to participate in various promotions (Myer)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to Myer* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to Myer to enable it to continue to invite certain businesses operating within Myer Stores to participate in various promotions. (...)

A US District Court certifies a class seeking injunctive relief, though declines to certify a damages class arising from the allegedly preclusive effect of the rules that would impede group licensing arrangements with videogame developers and broadcasters (NCAA Student Athletes)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Injunctive Relief, but not Damages Class, Certified in NCAA Student-Athlete Litigation* In In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160739 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2013) (Wilken, J.)., the Court certified a class of current and former (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission closes with commitments a proceeding initiated against two companies for alleged restrictive practices in the printed advertising sector (Vocento, Godό)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 30 June 2011 the NCC has decided to close a formal proceeding opened ex officio against Corporación Vocento S.A.U. and Vocento, S.A. (VOCENTO) and Publipress Media, S.L.U. and Grupo Godó de Comunicaciones S.A. (GODÓ) for possible restrictive practices under Article 1 SCA. The practices (...)

A Belgium criminal court fines a supermarket chain for misleading advertising due to the absence or limited availability of products subject to special promotion (Lidl)
UGGC Avocats (Brussels)
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Buyle Legal (Brussels)
I. Introduction In a judgment dated 12 January 2011, currently under appeal, the Ghent Criminal Court imposed a € 27,500 fine on the supermarket chain Lidl for advertising on a national scale products at a discounted price that were either not available or available only for a very short time (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency finds price fixing agreement between publishers of news and political weekly magazines null and void (EPH/NCL Media Grupa)
University of Zagreb - Faculty of Economics and Business
The Croatian Competition Agency decided on 16 December 2010 that the only two publishers of news and political weekly magazines which are of national relevance in Croatia, Europapress Holding d.o.o. (‘Globus’ magazine) and NCL Media Grupa d.o.o. (‘Nacional’ magazine) explicitly agreed on a price (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that teams of the national football league engaged in concerted practices (NFL)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. Supreme Court holds licensing activities of NFL teams were joint conduct subject to § 1 Sherman Act* On 24 May 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court held that teams of the National Football League (“NFL”) engaged in concerted action subject to Section 1 Sherman Act when licensing their intellectual (...)

The US DoJ closes investigation into the proposed Internet search and search advertising agreement (Microsoft - Yahoo!)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. Department of Justice closes investigation into Microsoft-Yahoo! agreement* On 18 February 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice announced the closing of its investigation into the proposed Internet search and search advertising agreement between Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. (see (...)

The Macedonian Competition Authority finds anticompetitive practices on the market for radio advertising (Ros Metropolis Radio)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 18 December 2009 the Macedonian Competition Authority (KZK) concluded its investigation on the market for radio advertising on the territory of Skopje municipality and concluded that three radio stations - Ros Metropolis Radio, City Radio and Club FM concluded an anticompetitive agreement by (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading exercises its discretion not to refer the newspaper and magazine distribution industry to the Competition Commission despite competition concerns
DLA Piper
Summary The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has decided not to refer the market for newspaper and magazine distribution in the UK to the Competition Commission (CC) for a market investigation (the MIR Decision). Background Following the revocation, in May 2005, of the Vertical Agreements (...)

A Portuguese self-regulation body for advertising suspends triple-play campaign due to misleading claim of optical fibre connections (PT Comunicações / ZON TV CABO)
University of Lisbon
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Abreu Advogados
On 27 July 2009 ICAP - Instituto Civil da Autodisciplina da Comunicação Comercial (Civil Institute for Self-Discipline in Commercial Communication) ordered the suspension of the advertising campaign carried out by leading pay-TV operator in Portugal ZON TV CABO following a complaint by PT (...)

The Belgian NCA dismisses an action for interim measures against the granting of a public tender for the provision of self-service bike hire system (Decaux)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
Facts surrounding the case 1. On 15 March 2008, the Ministers’ Council of the government of Brussels-Capital Region invited tenders for the award of a concession for the setting-up of an automated and publicly accessible bicycle rental system in the Brussels-Capital Region for a nominal fee. (...)

The Italian National Competition Authority fines € 210.000 a duty free operator for misleading advertising on the basis of unfair competition provisions (Italian Consumers Association/Aereoporti di Roma)
Queen Mary University (London)
The Italian National Competition Authority decision number 19028, issued on October 23rd, 2008, focuses on unfair competition in commercial activities. In this case, the Italian National Consumers Association made a complaint about the commercial behavior of the company Aeroporti di Roma S.p.A. (...)

A French Court orders a search engine and an online advertiser to pay damages to a company whose name and domain name have both been used in the Adwords program (Cobrason / Google, Home Ciné Solutions)
EDHEC Business School
Google France and Home Ciné Solutions (HCS) have been sued in France by Cobrason before the Commercial Court (Tribunal de commerce) of Paris. Cobrason claims that HCS is using both its company title (Cobrason) and its domain name (Cobrason.com) in the form of keywords it had purchased from (...)

The Belgian Competition Council assesses the validity of opening days/hours and advertising provisions for pharmacy outlets as set by the pharmacists professional associations (Belgian Pharmacists Associations)
Liège University - IEJE
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University of South Australia
1. Parties The present case arose from three complaints lodged in 1998 by several retail pharmacy outlets before the Belgian Competition Council (“the Council”). The complaints were directed against the Belgian Pharmacists Association as well as various local pharmacists association (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office finds certain marketing and advertising restrictions on pharmacists contrary to both Art. 81 EC and its Hungarian equivalent (Association of Hungarian Pharmacists)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) initiated proceedings against the Association of Hungarian Pharmacists (AHP) in order to verify whether certain rules of the AHP regulating advertising and marketing by pharmacists infringe Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 11 of the Hungarian (...)

The Spanish Competition Court sanctions a beer producer for imposing minimum purchasing obligations and limiting competing advertising in its distribution contracts (Cervezas Canarias 2)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
Competition Authority (Tribunal de defense de la competencia), 12 March 2007, Compañía Cervercera de Canarias (Cervezas Canarias 2), Case n° 614/06 Cervezas Anaga S.A (hereinafter, "Anaga"), a brewer from the Canary Islands, lodged a complaint before the Spanish Servicio de Defensa de la (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigations in the market of veterinary services for alleged breach of Art. 81 EC by accepting commitments relating to minimum fares and health advertising (Ordine dei medici veterinari di Torino)
Linklaters (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato “AGCM”), 21 February 2007, Case 1668, Ordine dei medici veterinari di Torino, Provvedimento n°16500, Chiusura istruttoria ; Bollettino n° 8/2007, 12 March 2007 On 24 May 2006, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e (...)

The Italian antitrust authority closes its investigation for alleged violation of Art. 81 EC in the press advertising market by accepting strict commitments (Accertamenti Diffusione Stampa e Audipress)
Studio Legale DDPV
The Italian Parliament recently enacted several law provisions which modify the investigation proceedings of the Italian antitrust Authority (“Authority”). In Particular, the so called Bersani Decree allows the Authority to use legal tools (already adopted by the EC Commission after the enactment (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court confirms a judgment annulling a fine imposed by the Competition Authority upon the professional lawyers’ association for adopting an advertising regulation contrary to Spanish competition rules (CGAE)
On 20 September 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court confirmed a judgment annulling a €180,360 fine imposed by the Spanish Competition Authority (Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia, TDC)upon the professional lawyers’ association (Consejo General de la Abogacía Española, CGAE). The TDC had ruled that (...)

The French Competition Council accepts commitments to modify selective distribution agreements as regards access to the network and advertising on the Internet (Festina)
AptarGroup
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SNCF Mobilités
The Bijourama Company is specialized in the sale of time pieces, jewellery and silversmith’s pieces exclusively on the internet. Bijourama submitted a referral to the French Competition Council on October 13th, 2005. The company complained about the refusal of Festina France (a subsidiary of the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office finds certain advertising restrictions on lawyers contrary to Art. 81 EC and its national equivalent (Hungarian Bar Association)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) initiated proceedings against the Hungarian Bar Association (HBA) in order to verify whether certain rules of the HBA regulating advertising by attorneys as well as the content of webpages of attorneys infringe Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 11 of (...)

The Latvian Competition Council fines € 242.000 price coordinating practices in the services sector (Advertising agencies)
Mittal Investments UK Ltd
Summary On 8 May 2006, the Latvian Competition Council (“Competition Council”) imposed a fine in the amount of LVL 170,000 (€ 242,000) on 12 advertising agencies in Latvia for engaging in exchange of information regarding their service prices. The facts In 2005, mass media in Latvia reported on (...)

A US District Court holds that the action against multistate tobacco settlement agreement was barred by the state action doctrine (Sanders / Lockyer)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
“Active Supervision” Standard Of Midcal Not Applicable To Conduct Of Sovereign. Multistate Tobacco Settlement Is Parker and Noerr Exempt Both For State And Private Parties* In the aftermath of the entry of the Multistate Tobacco Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), and enactment by the California (...)

Dominance

The Canadian Competition Bureau publishes a new draft of its enforcement guidelines on resale price maintenance as the previous guidelines failed to address a large number of issues covered by Section 76
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Canada grapples with pricing issues* Introduction With the exception of hard-core cartel conduct such as price-fixing and bid-rigging, Canadian competition law has de-emphasized in recent years the importance of pricing conduct as a source of anti-competitive harm. Thus, although the Canadian (...)

The EU Commission expresses concerns that the revised commitments do not address abusive practices in the online search space (Google)
Ashurst (Milan)
European Commission not convinced by improved commitments offered by Google* On 21 October 2013 Google offered improved commitments to the European Commission in order to close the three-year long investigation into four practices that the Commission considered had amounted to a possible abuse (...)

The EU Competition Commissioner makes a statement on the progress of the on-going investigation into the alleged abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google)
Ashurst (Milan)
Almunia offers Google settlement talks* Last 21 may 2012, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made a statement on the progress of the on-going investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of dominance in the search engine market, which the Commission was investigating since November 2010 (see (...)

The European Commission invites leading web search engine to submit remedies to address alleged abuse of dominance concerns (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 May 2012, the Commission issued a press statement inviting Google to submit remedies to address four concerns it identified pursuant to the antitrust investigation it launched in November 2010 into a potential abuse by Google of its dominant market position. The Commission noted (...)

The Irish Competition Authority closes its investigations with binding commitments undertaken by the TV broadcasting company concerning advertising airtime deals (RTÉ)
Irish Competition Authority
Successful resolution to complaint against RTÉ* The Competition Authority has published details of the successful outcome of an investigation involving RTÉ, following a complaint made by TV3. TV3 had complained that RTÉ’s “share deal” was anti-competitive. The share deal is a scheme used by RTÉ (...)

ECJ Advocate General Mengozzi issues an opinion on price discrimination and exclusionary abuses of dominance in the bulk mail industry (Post Danmark)
Gatti Pavesi Bianchi
Price discrimination and exclusionary abuses of dominance: A call for effects-based enforcement* It is often said, with good statistical records, that opinions of the Advocate Generals are to a large extent endorsed by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”). If so, the opinion recently handed (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina closes its investigation into the alleged predatory pricing practices on the market for TV commercials
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 5 May 2011 the Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (KV) rejected an abuse of collective dominance complaint lodged by the public TV operator Radiotelevizija Bosne i Hercegovine (BHTV) against a number of public and private TV companies (Radiotelevizija Federacije BiH (FTV), (...)

The Danish Supreme Court upholds judgment by the Eastern High Court finding that a broadcaster has abused its dominant position by granting rebates (TV2)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 18 March 2011, the Danish Supreme Court upheld a judgment by the Eastern High Courtfinding that the Danish broadcaster TV2 had abused its dominant position by granting loyalty enhancing rebates in connection with the sale of television advertising space, contrary to Section 11 of the Danish (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments proposed by the main IT operator closing the investigation for abuse of dominance on the online collecting advertisement market (Google Italy)
Criterion Economics
The Italian competition authority accepts Google’s commitments in the investigation concerning Google News in Italy* In January 2011, the Italian Competition Authority announced that it closed its investigation against Google Italy, for the alleged abuse of dominant position. The decision was (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments relating to online advertising service (Google AdWords)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
In its decision n° 10-D-30 dated 28 October 2010, relating to practices implemented in the online advertising sector (relative à des pratiques dans le secteur de la publicité en ligne), the French Competition Authority (the «Competition Authority«) accepted the commitments offered by Google to solve (...)

The US 1st District California Court of Appeal upholds a jury verdict finding that a claim of unfair competition based on below-cost sales of advertising did not require proof of the defendant’s ability to recoup losses by subsequent monopoly pricing (Bay Guardian Company / New Times Media)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
A Step Back to Square One? California Court of Appeal Elevates UPA Protection of Competitors Over Protection of Competition in Newspaper Ad Dispute* On August 11, 2010, the California Court of Appeal for the First District upheld a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff Bay Guardian Company (...)

The European Commission recognises that due to their dynamics internet markets such as online search engines are characterized by innovative business models that are constantly evolving and therefore market dominance on the internet might be difficult to establish (Google)
Sheppard Mullin (Del Mar)
EC Investigates Google for Potential Abuse of Dominance in Online Search Market* In July 2010, Vice President of the European Commission (EC) responsible for competition policy, Mr. Joaquin Almunia, referred to the essential role that competition policy has in ensuring “market access and (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an interim decision opening an investigation to ascertain abuse of dominance by refusing to display advertising (Navx)
Ashurst (Milan)
Google under investigation in France for alleged abuse in the online advertising market* On 30 June 2010, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) issued an interim decision opening an investigation to ascertain whether Google abused its dominant position, as well as Navx’s state of economic (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures and assesses commitments to remedy antitrust concerns of abuse of dominance in the online advertising market (Google)
Jones Day (Paris)
Google offers commitments to get off the radar screen* A case involving Google confirms that the French Competition Authority is keen on using a combination of interim measures and commitment proceedings in order help it quickly resolve maters which it perceives as competition issues. This may (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes interim measures in order to ensure that a company providing advertising services, implements its content policy in an objective, transparent and non discriminatory manner (Navx / Google - AdWords)
White & Case (Paris)
Background On June, 30, 2010, following a complaint coupled with a request for interim measures lodged by Navx, the French National Competition Authority (thereafter “NCA”), by way of interim decision, ordered Google Ireland and Google Inc. (hereafter “Google”) to implement in an objective, (...)

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures regarding online advertising system (Navx - Google)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
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Affinion International
In a decision dated 30 June 2010, the French Competition Authority (the "Competition Authority") has considered that Google had implemented the content policy of its AdWords service in a way that lacked objectivity and transparency and resulted in a discriminatory treatment of speed camera (...)

The Italian Competition Authority decides to extend the scope of its ongoing investigation in order to ascertain whether the contract conditions imposed on domestic website publishers for online ad-serving were illegal (Google)
Ashurst (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority widens investigation into Google* On 3 March 2010, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) decided to include Google Ireland in its ongoing investigation of last August 2009 (see Newsletter 5/2009 p. 10) to ascertain whether the contract conditions imposed by (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigation into an online news aggregator service following commitments (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
The Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) has recently terminated an antitrust investigation into Google after accepting and making binding commitments offered by Google to resolve two concerns raised during the ICA’s investigation. The ICA’s investigation started in August 2009, when Google was (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigation against the main IT operator for abuse of dominance on the online collecting advertisement market (Google Italy)
Codacons
Google Italy is an Italian company belonging to the US Google Group INC. It is active world-wide and it is the most popular engine search. Among others, Google provides also "Google News" and it gains the majority of its turnover from the collection and intermediation of advertisement on line . (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts a proceedings against Google Italy for an alleged abuse of dominant position against Italian newspaper and magazines editors (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali/Google Italy)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
On the 26th August 2009 the Italian Competition Authority (the ICA) decided to start a proceedings against GOOGLE Italy (the Italian branch of the GOOGLE Group) for alleged infringement of article 82 of the EU Treaty (abuse of dominant position). The proceedings follows a complaint by the (...)

The Danish Eastern High Court overturns decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal and finds that a broadcaster has abused its dominant position by granting rebates (TV2)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 22 June 2009, the Danish Eastern High Court overturned a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal - thereby confirming the earlier decision by the Danish Competition Authority - and found that the Danish broadcaster TV2 has abused its dominant position by granting loyalty enhancing (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority finds no exclusionary conduct on the market for on-screen cinema advertising despite exclusivity contracts of the dominant undertaking (Fida)
University of Leeds
The Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) has acted on a complaint alleging that Fida Film Production Distribution and Advertising Corporation (Fida Film) has entered into exclusivity agreements with all major cinema companies and foreclosed 80% of the market with these, rendering the (...)

The French competition Council rules on the status of competition in the cinema advertising industry (Société Technic Publicité/Médiavision)
DLA Piper (Paris)
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Cabinet Minard-Driss
Over twenty years after the notice issued by the Commission de la concurrence(former French competition commission) on 14 December 1984, the Conseil de la concurrence (current French competition commission) has ruled on the status of competition in the cinema advertising industry. On 20 (...)

The French Competition Authority applies a "rule of reason analysis" to an abuse of dominant position in the press advertising sector (La Provence Group)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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Lni avocats (Paris)
The La Provence group owns the two main regional daily newspapers distributed in Marseille (Southern France) namely Le Provençal and Le Méridional. The two newspapers transferred the exclusive responsibility for managing local advertising to Eurosud Publicité ; however, the commercial policy was (...)

The Irish Competition Authority decides that the aggressive pricing strategy of a newspapers publisher in the market for advertising in local newspapers did not breach the Competition Act 2002 for lack of dominant position (Drogheda Independent Cy. -The Leader)
European Commission - DG HR
Decision of The Irish Competition Authority of 7 December 2004 (Case COM/05/03) The Drogheda Independent Company Limited (“the DIC”) publishes several newspaper titles, one of which being The Extra. The Leader, another publisher, lodged a complaint before the Irish Competition Authority and (...)

The UK Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds the decision of the DGFT that the appellant has abused a dominant position by pricing advertising in one of its newspapers at below average variable cost, but reduces the fine since the abusive conduct had only continued for one month (Aberdeen Journals)
Kings Chambers (Leeds)
This case involved two decisions by the Director General of Fair Trading (the « DGFT »), under the Competition Act 1998 (the « Act ») each of which was appealed to the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT). In both decisions the DGFT found that, in the period 1 March to 29 March 2000, Aberdeen (...)

The French Competition Authority fines TV channel for implementing market share discounts practices in the sales of television advertising space sector (TF1 / Canal plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Practices of market share discounts in the sector for sales of television advertising space : the Conseil de la concurrence sanctions TF1* In a decision dated 13th February 2001, following a request from the (...)

Mergers

The German Competition Authority clears the acquisition by paid TV service supplier of a minority share in TV-sports channel (Sky / Sport1 and Con­stan­tin Sport Mar­ke­ting)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Merger cleared - Sky may acquire a participation in Sport1* Today the Bundeskartellamt cleared the acquisition of a minority share in the sports channel Sport1 by Sky Deutschland. The transaction also involves the acquisition of a minority share in Constantin Sport Marketing GmbH (CSM) and the (...)

A US District Court finds evidence that the merging parties expected the transaction to have anticompetitive effects (Bazaarvoice / PowerReviews)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Another Example of Why You Should Follow the “New York Times” Rule — the Bazaarvoice Decision* Have you heard of the New York Times rule? The rule is: don’t write something down in a business communication unless you’re comfortable with its text appearing in the New York Times. If everyone followed (...)

A US District Court rules against non-reported acquisition in the market for product ratings and reviews platforms (Bazaarvoice / PowerReviews)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Combination of online consumer review platforms Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews found to violate Clayton Act* Last week, the federal district court in San Francisco ruled that Bazaarvoice Inc.’s June 2012 acquisition of PowerReviews Inc. violated Sec. 7 of the Clayton Act. In a “necessarily lengthy (...)

The Competition Commission of India approves a merger between two multinational advertising and communications groups (Publicis / Omnicom)
University of Delhi (New Delhi)
In a recent decision (technically known as an ‘order’), delivered on 23 October 2013, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved a merger between two large multinational corporate groups specializing in advertising and communications. The Publicis group, headquartered in Paris, and the (...)

The EU Commission approves an acquisition on the market for TV-broadcasting (Central European Media Enterprises / Time Warner)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission approves the acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises by Time Warner* On 14 June 2013 the European Commission issued a press release stating that it approved Time Warner’s acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises (“CME”). According to the Commission, the two (...)

The US DoJ closes its investigation and gives green light to $400 M acquisition in the advertising display industry (Google/Admeld)
Sidley Austin (Brussels)
DOJ closes investigation into Google’s acquisition of Admeld Inc.* On December 2, 2011 the DOJ announced its decision to close the investigation into Google’s acquisition of Admeld Inc. allowing Google to complete its $ 400 million merger. The DOJ’s investigation focused on the potential (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office blocks a joint‐venture for the creation of an online video on demand platform by the two leading German TV broadcasters (RTL / Pro7Sat1)
NOCON
I. Transaction RTL and Pro7Sat1 planned to set up an online video on demand (VOD) platform which allows users toaccess and watch professional video content. The concept of the platform was to provide content that has already been transmitted on TV and can be accessed free of cost for seven (...)

The Düsseldorf Court of Appeals overturns a Bundeskartellamt merger prohibition addressing the issue of future potential competition’s test under German law (Neue Pressegesellschaft, Zeitungsverlag Schwäbisch Hall)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Court raises question on the test for considering future potential competition under German merger control rules* The case concerns the question under which conditions the possible future creation of potential competition can be considered to strengthen a dominant position under German merger (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal narrows the scope for procedural challenges to a decision of the national competition authority (Canal 9/Les Indépendants)
University College London
On 1 June 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) handed down a judgment upholding the decision of the Conseil de la Concurrence (now the Autorité de la Concurrence) in the long running case La Société Canal 9 S.A.S. v Le G.I.E. Les Indépendants. The Court found that the failure of the (...)

The US FTC announces the closure of its investigation of the acquisition of the mobile advertising network company (AdMob)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. Federal Trade Commission closes its investigation of Google’s acquisition of AdMob* On 21 May 2010 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced the closure of its investigation of Google’s acquisition of the mobile advertising network company AdMob. According to the FTC, though the (...)

The UK Competition Commission concludes that a proposed merger in the entertainment industry would not result in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for live music ticket retailing (Live Nation / Ticketmaster)
Ashurst (Milan)
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger gets final clearance in the UK* On 7 May 2010, the UK Competition Commission (“CC”) reaffirmed its initial decision of December 2009 (see Newsletter 1/2010 p. 9 for details) concluding that the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster would not result in a (...)

The European Commission clears in phase I a merger in the internet search market addressing the concept of concentration and conducting a detailed two-sided market analysis (Microsoft, Yahoo!Search Business)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
Microsoft/Yahoo! – the concept of a concentration* The Commission’s recent decision approving Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo!’s Search Business (including internet search and search advertising) contains an interesting application of the definition of a concentration under the Merger Regulation. (...)

The Dutch competition authority clears “merger to monopoly” of directory providers (European Directories - Truvo Nederland)
RBB Economics (The Hague)
Introduction After a Phase II inquiry, the Dutch competition authority (NMa) cleared on 28 August 2008 the acquisition of Gouden Gids, a Dutch on-line and print directory owned by Truvo, by European Directories, publisher of rival on-line and print directory De Telefoongids. The transaction (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reviews a merger between two radio broadcasters and required radio station divestments to resolve competition concerns in the East and West Midlands (Global Media / GCap)
Vodafone (Newbury)
The operation Global Radio UK Limited (Global) is a privately-owned UK based commercial radio group with nine local radio stations that operate in London, the Midlands and the North of England. GCap Media plc (GCap) is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange. It owns a (...)

The French Minister of Economy clears in Phase I a merger in the market for free newspapers with classified ads (Spir-S3G / JV)
PagesJaunes
In 2006, prior to the transaction at hand, the French Minister of Economy (heareafter the ‘Minister’) cleared the Spir-S3G/JV transaction, subject to undertakings, whereby two joint ventures between Spir Communication (‘Spir’) and the Société des Gratuits de Guyenne et Gasconne (‘S3G’) (together (...)

The European Commission clears merger in the online advertising market applying for the first time the non horizontal merger guidelines (Google, DoubleClick)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG CNECT
"Google/DoubleClick: The first test for the Commission’s nonhorizontal merger guidelines"* I. Introduction The Google/DoubleClickmerger generated considerable interest as it concerned the ubiquitous search engine that most Europeans use in their daily lives. From a competition policy (...)

The French Minister of Economy clears in Phase I with behavioural commitments a merger in the Internet classified advertisements market (Spir Communication / Schibsted ASA)
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
The operation By a letter of 10 09 2007, the Minister cleared in phase I a merger between Spir and Schibsted compagnies. It created a jointly owned compagny between the notifying parties. The new company controls both parties’ activities in the sector of classified advertisements for the sale of (...)

The French Minister of Economy sets out principles for the assessment of competition in markets that use Internet as media and conditionally clears in phase I a merger in the market for online classified advertisement (Spir / Schibsted)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
Introduction On 10 September 2007 the French Minister of Economy, Finances and Employment (hereafter the “Minister”) cleared the creation by Spir Communication and Schibsted ASA of a jointly owned company, subject to behavioural commitments (Decision C2007/19, hereafter “the Decision”). The new (...)

The French Administrative Supreme Court upholds a merger in the audiovisual sector conditional to remedies (Métropole Télévision)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
The operation By a Court decision dated 27 June 2007, the French Administrative Supreme Court upheld a decision taken by the French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Employment on 27 October 2004 granting TV channels TF1 and AB with an authorisation to acquire Télé Monte-Carlo in a Phase I (...)

The UK Telecommunications Regulator opens the door to further consolidation in the radio sector (Radio Advertising Market Research)
Dickson Minto (London)
1. Summary On 19 October 2006 Ofcom, the communications industry regulator in the UK, published research which could have a major impact on the way in which the UK competition authorities assess radio mergers. The research shows that the pricing of radio advertising is constrained by (...)

The French Minister of Economics conditionally clears a merger in the markets of free newspapers (SPIR / S3G)
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
The operation By a letter dated 31 May 2006, the French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Employment authorizes the merger between Spir Communication SA (Spir) and the Société des Gratuits de Guyenne et Gascogne SA (S3G). The merger created a joint-venture, “S3G Com”, running the publication of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears with divestments a merger in the radio sector but the Council of Ministries reduced the extent of the remedies (Unión Radio/Antena 3 Radio)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The proposed merger was the acquisition of Antena 3 Radio by Unión Radio. Antena 3 Radio was a company operating 93 radio stations in Spain. The main shareholders of Antena 3 Radio were Inversiones Godó (64.6%) and Paltrieva (24.8%). Unión Radio was a company that managed radio (...)

The Belgian Competition Council approves the acquisition of a financial newspaper subject to conditions, including a prohibition on tied offers of newspapers or of advertising space and a prohibition on applying discriminatory conditions to the supply of financial information to the written press in Belgium (Editeco - Les Echos)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Hong Kong)
The operation NV Uitgeversbedrijf De Tijd, owned by NV Rossel & Cie. and NV De Persgroep, acquired all the shares of NV Editeco, owner of the "Les Echos" financial newspaper. The original transaction was notified and approved on 26 January 2004 (2004-C/C-16). Third parties appealed the (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the sector of daily and weekly regional press with remedies, including bundling prohibition, editorial autonomy and commitments to exclude conglomerate effects (OuestFrance/Socpresse)
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
The operation By a letter dated 28 October 2005, the French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Employment, following the French Competition Council’s opinion dated 11 October 2005, authorised the acquisition by the Société d’investissement et de participations (SIPA” or “the party”) of three press (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears a merger in the market for radio broadcasting subject to a remedy involving the exit from a contract with an advertising sales agency, board withdrawal and divestment of partial ownership (SRH / Highland Radio)
Université de Genève
The operation On 1 June 2005 the acquisition by Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) of Donegal Highland Radio Limited (Highland Radio) was notified to the Irish Competition Authority (ICA). SRH is active in the radio and publishing business in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, where it owns two (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears the creation of a joint venture between Dutch newspaper publishers (PCM / Wegener)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2005"* The creation of a joint venture between Dutch newspaper publishers PCM Holding (‘PCM’) and Koninklijke Wegener (‘Wegener’) through the combination of some of their newspapers was cleared by the European Commission under the EU Merger (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court clears an acquisition of a minority stake in the outdoor advertising industry subject to remedies including limitations on management control, tying prohibitions and obligations of non-discrimination (Gewista/Werbeplakat Soravia)
Université de Genève
The operation The deal involved the transfer of Gewista’s "megaboards" advertising business to Werbeplakat Soravia GmbH (WPS) while, in turn, Gewista acquired 33% of WPS. In Vienna, where the bulk of outdoor advertising revenue is generated, Gewista at the time was the market leader with 60% (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger in the press sector with remedies, including the obligation to guarantee the normal circulation of a newspaper as long as its commercial operation was profitable (Lusomondo/Ocasiao e Anuncipress)
PLMJ (Lisboa)
The operation Lusomundo Media, SGPS, S.A. (Lusomundo) is a sub-holding of the Portugal Telecom Group operating in the media industry market. Ocasião Edições Periódicas, Lda. (Ocasião) is an undertaking whose corporate purpose is to publicize the business activity of third parties through (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court clears an acquisition in the media sector subject to remedies aimed at ensuring media pluralism (Moser/Athesia)
NERA (Berlin)
The operation Moser Holding AG (Moser) controls the major daily newspaper in the Tyrol ("Tiroler Tageszeitung") and the regional Tyrolean radio station "Antenne Tirol". Athesia Druck GmbH (Athesia) publishes the South Tyrolean newspaper "Dolomiten" and runs the local radio station "Arabella (...)

The Czech Competition Office clears a merger in the TV broadcasting and TV advertising markets subject to maintenance of third parties access under existing business terms and conditions (PPF/Nova Holding)
Clifford Chance
The operation In merger concerned, PPF (CYPRUS) LIMITED ("PPF"), and three individuals acquired joint control over NOVA HOLDING, a.s. ("Nova Holding") under a shareholders agreement, which followed the share purchase agreement and the related agreement on transfer of rights and obligations (p. (...)

The Danish Competition Council conditionally approves the creation of a three-partner joint venture in the markets for classified online advertising for cars, real property and travel (Zonerne - Metropol Online / Det Faelles Udgiverselskab/TV2)
Kromann Reumert (Copenhagen)
The operation The first transaction concerned the creation of the new joint venture, Zonerne A/S ("Zonerne") by three media companies: Metropol Online A/S, Det Faelles Udgiverselskab A/S and TV2 Danmark. Metropol Online was an internet-based company that operated in the markets for classified (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court clears a merger of outdoor advertising companies, subject to behavioural and structural remedies including merger prohibition for 2.5 years in the relevant market (Saria/Medicur/Dr Schuster)
NERA (Berlin)
The operation Saria Holding AG (Saria) and Medicur Holding Gesellschaft mbH (Medicur) notified their proposal to acquire Dr Heinrich Schuster Werbung and Heimatwerbung (Dr Schuster) to the Federal Competition Authority (BWB).The BWB referred the acquisition to the Austrian Cartel Court (OLG.) (...)

The French Minister of Economy cleared in Phase II a merger in the press sector with structural and behavioural commitments, including bundling prohibition and termination of exclusive contract (France Antilles/Comareg)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In the case at hand, Vivendi Universal Publishing sold its entire equity interest in Comareg to France Antilles. Following the opinion given by the competition council, the Minister cleared the merger subject to structural and behavioral remedies. The market(s) The markets (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the sector of advertising with remedies concerning the network access (La Poste/Delta Diffusion)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In the case at hand, Mediapost, a subsdiary of La Poste, acquires the distribution of leaflets business of Delta Diffusion. The market(s) The markets involved are the door-to-door distribution of commercial leaflets both at national and local level. Remedy The Minister notes (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court annuls a decision authorizing a merger on grounds other than competition law (Antena 3 de Radio, Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión, Sociedad de Servicios Radiofónicos Unión Radio)
Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira
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Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
On June 9, 2000, the Spanish Supreme Court annulled, on other grounds than competition law, the Spanish Council of Ministers’ decision of May 20, 1994 (“the Decision”) to not oppose a merger involving transferring part of Antena 3 Radio, SA (“A3”) and Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión, SA (“SER”) (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the sector of advertising with remedies including bundling prohibition and output restriction (Decaux SA/Avenir)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation By the present transaction, Decaux will acquire the sole control of Avenir. Both parties are active on the outdoor advertising market. The market(s) The markets are the supply of advertising posters at national and local level. Remedy 1: Bundling prohibition At the national (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the sector of facial tissues with remedies including restriction of advertising investments, withdrawing of the use of a trademark and prohibition of reference rebates (Fort James/Demak’up)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation Fort James acquired the Demak’Up and Happy Bébé brands from the Procter & Gamble Company. The markets The sector involved is the manufacturing and marketing of cotton products. Remedy 1: Withdrawing the use of a trademark Post-merger, Fort James will have a market share of (...)

The European Commission approves the creation of a joint venture in the television and radio broadcasting sectors (Bertelsmann/CLT)
European Commission - DG GROW
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers - Summary of the most important recent developments"* In the television/broadcasting sector, the European Commission decided on 7th October 1996 to declare the creation of the joint venture CLT-UFA compatible with the common market. CLT is the holding company of the CLT group which (...)

State Aids

A French Administrative Court of Appeal rules that a claim calling into question the validity of a decision of the Commission not to raise objection against alleged State aid measures raised serious difficulties requiring a preliminary ruling from the ECJ (Régie Networks)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Factual Background Régie Networks, an undertaking selling advertising space for the NRJ Group’s local radio stations, paid EUR 152 524 by way of parafiscal charge levied on advertisements broadcast on radio and television in 2001. It claimed reimbursement of that sum from the local tax (...)

The French Administrative appeal court of Nantes dismisses the appeal of a tax payer resisting the payment of a tax on certain advertising expenses on the ground that the levy was not hypothecated to any State aid measures (Tax on advertising expenses)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Factual Background The Minister of Economy and Finance seeks the annulment of the judgment of the administrative tribunal of Caen allowing the request of wholesalers claiming restitution for a tax paid on expenses for advertisement. The tax is set by Article 302 bis MA of the general code on (...)

The French Administrative Supreme Court holds that aids to the daily press financed by a tax levied on advertising expenses affects trade between Member States and consequently amount to State aid (Auchan)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’État, 8ème et 3ème sous-sections réunies), 21 December 2006, SA Auchan France, n°288562 Background and facts Article 23 of Law n° 97-1269 of 30 December 1997 () introduced a tax levied on certain advertising expenses (the Tax). The revenue of the Tax is (...)

A French Court rules that the use of a tax on certain advertising expenses, which finances modernization projects in the sector of the general press, is a State aid and is illegal for lack of notification (Auchan France)
Schmitt Avocats
By decision of 25 October 2005, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Douai ruled that the use of the Tax on certain advertising expenses, which mainly finance the Found for Modernization of the Daily Press for general and political information, is a state aid in the meaning of Article 87 EC (...)

Procedures

The Danish Competition Authority publishes a report on the culture of discounts and advertising campaigns in the grocery market
European Commission
Denmark: Discount Culture in Danish Grocery Market* On 31 May 2012, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) published a report on the culture of discounts and advertising campaigns in the Danish grocery market. The report investigates the effect of unaddressed advertising material (...)

Regulations

A French Court of Appeal upholds court order banning a parapharmaceutical products price comparison advertising based on a non-significant sample and wrong data (Univers Pharmacie/Leclerc)
EDHEC Business School
The French mass retail group "Centres E. Leclerc", which remains a cooperative, is well-known for having continuously tried to make more concrete and visible its strategic goal ("To sell at the best price, the largest set of products and services, to make them accessible to as many as (...)

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) publishes a draft on internet information service rules
University of Melbourne
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Institute of American Studies
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT): Provisions on the Administration of Internet Information Services (Draft for Comments)* The MIIT published and invited public comments on the draft Provisions on the Administration of Internet Information Services (Internet Information (...)

The US House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy questions whether antitrust law can deal with competition in evolving digital industries
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
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Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Can Antitrust Law Deal With Competition in Evolving Digital Industries?* Are U.S. antitrust laws suited to deal with the challenges presented by rapidly evolving digital industries? That was the question posed at a September 16 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the (...)

The Irish Competition Authority publishes report on general medical practitioners and identifies unnecessary restrictions on the supply of family doctors
European Commission
Ireland: The Competition Authority identifies Unnecessary Restrictions on the Supply of Family Doctors and publishes Report on General Medical Practitioners On 16 December 2009, the Irish Competition Authority published the first two parts of a threepart report into the market for primary (...)

The Paris Court of appeals rules that Google makes an illegal use of trademarks through its keywords advertising program (GIFAM / Google)
Google (Paris)
Google has been sued in France by several household appliance manufacturers and their professional union, and fined for using said manufacturers’ trademarks in its keywords advertising tool. Among thirty decisions issued by French courts against the search engine over its AdWords service, this (...)

The Italian Parliament gives new powers to the Italian Antitrust Authority with respect to unfair commercial practices and misleading advertising enforcement (Legislative Decrees No. 145 and 146)
Macchi di Cellere Gangemi (London)
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Jones Day (Milano)
On September 21, 2007, the Italian Antitrust Authority (the « Authority » or « IAA ») was given additional powers to curb unfair commercial practices and misleading advertising. The Authority has now been empowered to act ex officio without the express request of consumers and/or public entities. (...)

Public sector

The Belgian Prosecutor refuses to prohibit grant of a public tender for public bicycle rental system (ClearChannel Belgium/JC Decaux Belgium sa and Région de Bruxelles-Capitale)
Altius (Brussels)
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Johnson & Johnson (Brussels)
In Spring 2008, the government of the Brussels-Capital Region (Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest) issued an invitation to tender for the creation and implementation of an automatic bicycle-hire system for public use in the Brussels region. Three tenders were submitted (...)

A Dutch Court considers that municipalities should be regarded as economic entities when they grant exclusive rights for outdoor advertising (KPN/JC Decaux)
European Commission - DG HR
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
KPN is an undertaking which provides telecommunication services within the Netherlands. According to the Dutch Telecommunications Act, KPN had to ensure the availability of at least one public pay telephone in every residential dwelling zone of more than 5000 inhabitants. As KPN wished to (...)

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