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Mergers and Acquisitions in online platforms

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears two separate mergers in the footwear distribution market (Sarenza / Monoprix and André / Spartoo)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Footwear distribution* The Autorité de la concurrence clears two separate acquisitions but which raise similar questions: Sarenza by Monoprix (Casino group) André by Spartoo On 16 March Monoprix, and subsequently on 4 April 2018, Spartoo notified the Autorité de la concurrence of two distinct (...)

The EU Commission decides to review a merger in the market of music recognition applications for smartphones (Apple / Shazam)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission to assess the acquisition of Shazam by Apple* The European Commission has accepted a request from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple. The Commission considers the (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two real estate online platforms in Phase II (Logic-Immo.com / SeLoger.com)
DLA Piper (Paris)
On 1st February 2018, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) unconditionally cleared in Phase II proceedings the planned acquisition of sole control of French company Concept Multimédia - which owns the real estate online platform Logic-Immo.com - by German group Axel Springer - which owns the (...)

The Russian Competition Authority clears the creation of a joint undertaking subject to remedies in the taxi market (Yandex / Uber)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS cleared merger between Yandex.Taxi and Uber, subject to conditions* On November 24, 2017 FAS agreed on the application of the Yandex N.V., Uber International C.V. for conclusion of an agreement on the creation of joint enterprise, subject to conditions. The results of analysis of the (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger on the market of sale of tickets for live entertainment (CTS Eventim / Four Artists)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits merger between CTS Eventim and Four Artists* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited the planned acquisition by CTS Eventim AG & Co. KGaA of the majority of shares in the companies belonging to Konzert- und Veranstaltungsagentur Four Artists - Four Artists Booking (...)

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 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 / WhatsApp)
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 German Competition Authority clears a merger on the e-book online platform market (Rakuten / Tolino)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of "tolino" e-book platform by Rakuten* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition by the Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc. of the assets for the technical operation of the "tolino" e-book platform. The seller of the assets is Deutsche Telekom AG, (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a social network suspected of having transmitted misleading informations concerning a merger (Facebook / WhatsApp)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Facebook provided misleading information about WhatsApp takeover* The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Facebook alleging the company provided incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger (...)

The EU Commission clears acquisition of leading global professional social networking platform company by leading global software company, subject to 5-year remedies that include monitoring and prevention of tying (Microsoft / LinkedIn)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
Microsoft/LinkedIn: Big data and conglomerate effects in tech markets* In a nutshell: The Microsoft/LinkedIn case is an important development in the Commission’s assessment of mergers involving data-related issues in tech industries. It provides further guidance on the framework for the (...)

The EU Commission invites third party comments on proposed acquisition in information technology sector (Microsoft / Linkedin)
Fieldfisher (London)
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Fieldfisher (London)
Microsoft/LinkedIn: could Big Data be a Big Problem?*On 14 October 2016, Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn was notified to the European Commission for merger clearance. The EU regulator’s initial deadline to decide whether to approve the deal or refer it for in-depth (...)

The Australian Competition Authority publishes draft media merger guidelines
University of New South Wales (Sydney)
Australian draft media merger guidelines: a review* Background The ACCC released its draft media merger guidelines in August 2016. Given the previous merger guidelines were released in 2006, these drafts outline the first proposed changes in over ten years. Critically these guidelines come in (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between major online dating platforms in phase II (EliteMedianet / Parship)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Major online dating platforms can merge* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared in second phase proceedings the planned acquisition of all the shares in EliteMedianet GmbH, Hamburg, by an investment fund of Oakley Capital Limited, London. The merger affects the market for online dating platforms, on (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes a discussion paper on internet platforms in merger control, contractual restrictions of competition and abuse of dominance scenarios
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
The FCO publishes discussion paper on internet platform markets* On October 1, 2015, the FCO published a paper entitled “Digital economy – internet platforms between competition law, privacy and consumer protection” on the occasion of a conference of the working group competition law (consisting (...)

The EU Commission approves a joint venture for cross-border licensing of online music between three music collecting societies (PRSfM / STIM / GEMA)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission approves joint venture for cross-border licensing of online music between PRSfM, STIM and GEMA, subject to commitments* Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture for (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves online rights licensing and administration joint venture between collective management organisations (PRSfm / STIm / GEmA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 June 2015, the EU Commission conditionally approved the proposed joint venture between music collective management organisations PRS for music Limited (“PRSfm”) of the UK, Föreningen Svenska Tonsättares Internationella musikbyrå u.p.a. (“STIm”) of Sweden, and Gesellschaft für musikalische (...)

The US FTC clears merger between number one and number two most-visited online home shopping sites in the US without conditions (Zillow-Trulia)
Office of the New York State Attorney General (New York)
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Winston & Strawn (Washington)
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The Capitol Forum
In a ruling on February 13, the FTC unconditionally approved the Zillow-Trulia merger after an intensive six-month antitrust review. Despite reported concerns “that the merger might concentrate too much power in one company,” the FTC ultimately decided to “bless” the Zillow-Trulia combination. (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore conditionally clears first merger with divestment and behavioural commitments (Seek Asia Investments / JobStreet)
BHP Billiton (Singapore)
Comment: On 13 November 2014, the Competition Commission of Singapore (the “CCS”) released its grounds of decision conditionally clearing the proposed acquisition by SEEK Asia Investments Pte. Ltd. (“SEEK Asia Investments”), of 100 per cent. of the online recruitment business assets of JobStreet (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears an acquisition in the social media sector (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Clifford Chance (Madrid)
Background information On 3 October 2014 the European Commission ("Commission") unconditionally clears in first phase the €14 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook (the “Transaction”). The Transaction was already conditionally authorized in April 2014 by the US Federal Trade Commission (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves in first phase an acquisition in the digital sector (Facebook / WhatsApp)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"What’s Up with Merger Control in the Digital Sector? Lessons from the Facebook/WhatsApp EU merger case"* The Facebook/WhatsApp decision provides an insight into how the Commission tackles novel issues in the application of merger control rules to the digital sector, in particular to free (...)

The EU Commission approves without commitments an acquisition in the recent information technology sector (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Squire Patton Boggs (Brussels)
EU Commission approves Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp* On 3 October 2014, the European Commission of the European Union (the “Commission”) approved the acquisition without any commitments. After the approval of the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft in 2011 and of the acquisition of Nokia by (...)

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 (...)

The US District Court Northern District of California 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 EU General Court rejects rival’s claim and gives the green signal for an acquisition in the communications services market (Microsoft / Skype)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
By its decision dated 11 December 2013, Luxembourg based European General Court approves the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft. Background On 02.09.2011 the EU Commission was notified of a proposed concentration by which, Microsoft Corporation, USA acquired 100% of the outstanding shares and (...)

The Netherlands ACM clears planned collaboration between two Dutch publishing companies (Lannoo Meulenhoff / WPG Uitgevers)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Two Dutch publishing firms are allowed to rent out ebooks together* The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) has cleared the planned collaboration between two Dutch publishing companies, Lannoo Meulenhoff and WPG Uitgevers, to offer ebooks rentals to consumers together. The (...)

The New York Attorney General settles remedies regarding the merger between two leading online food ordering services in Manhattan (Seamless / GrubHub)
Ashurst (Milan)
NY Attorney General reaches settlement with two leading online food ordering services in Manhattan* On 5 August 2013 NY Attorney General stated that he reached a settlement with Seamless North America, LLC and GrubHub, two leading online food ordering services in Manhattan, in order to address (...)

The EU Commission develops a novel theory of harm based on the effect of the transaction on the new entity’s bargaining power (Universal Music Group / EMI Music)
CRA International (Brussels)
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The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (Geneva)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers and bargaining power: back to the future? Insights from the Universal/EMI merger* The decision to approve the acquisition of EMI’s recorded music rights by Universal has recently been published by the European Commission. Following a Phase II investigation, the acquisition was approved (...)

The UK OFT decides not to refer an anticipated acquisition in the social networking industry to the Competition Commission (Facebook / Instagram)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In May 2012 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) opened a merger investigation into the acquisition by Facebook Inc (Facebook) of Instagram Inc (Instagram). This was the first time a merger involving Facebook, the global colossus in the social networking industry, publicly came under the scrutiny (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM enforces telecoms regulations in anti-monopoly law merger review (Wal-Mart / Yihaodian)
Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti (New York)
The notification for the Wal-Mart/Yihaodian transaction was submitted to China’s Ministry of Commerce on 16 December 2011. It was ultimately accepted on 16 February 2012 by MOFCOM after supplementation. At the expiration of the Phase III, or extended Phase II, period, on 13 August 2012, MOFCOM (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the e-commerce sector (Altarea / Rue du commerce)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Rue du Commerce’s sole control by Altarea*. The Autorité de la concurrence examined the acquisition of Rue du Commerce by Altarea, by means of the acquisition of a bloc of shares and a public takeover bid on Rue du Commerce’s securities. (...)

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 US DoJ requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a popular generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information services provider (Google / ITA)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US DoJ requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a popular generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information services provider (Google / ITA)
Economists Incorporated (San Francisco)
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Economists Incorporated (Washington)
On July 1, 2010, Google Inc. (“Google”) and ITA Software, Inc. (“ITA”) announced an agreement for Google to acquire ITA for $700 million. On April 8, 2011, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it would allow the proposed acquisition subject to certain conditions. DOJ filed a complaint (...)

The US DOJ demands conduct remedies from two strong competitors in related markets before approving a vertical merger that will allow the combined company to enter into the online travel search market (Google / ITA)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The US DoJ imposes conduct remedies, including "FRAND" licensing, before approving a vertical merger with anticompetitive concerns in the comparative-flight-search industry (Google / ITA)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US DoJ conditions approval of a joint venture upon behavioral remedies, such as specific terms of licensing and management of video content, in the industries of online video distribution and video programming (Comcast and NBC Universal)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits online video platform joint venture (RTL / Pro7sat1)
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
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Jones Day (Dusseldorf)
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Jones Day (Frankfurt)
On March 17, 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) rejected plans by German broadcasting groups RTL and Pro7Sat1 to launch a joint venture for the creation and operation of an online video platform. This decision illustrates how in Europe, particularly in Germany, antitrust (...)

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 EU Commission refers the assessment of the joint venture between two German private broadcasters to the competition authorities of Austria and Germany, at their request (ProSie-benSat.1 / RTL)
J G Associates (Brussels)
Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 24 September 2010 the European Commission referred the assessment of the joint venture between the German private broadcasters ProSie-benSat.1 and RTL to the competition authorities of Austria and Germany, at their request. The (...)

The US DoJ imposes divestiture and conduct remedies before approving a merger in order to maintain competition recently introduced by one of the firms in the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US DoJ conditions approval of a vertical merger upon the implementation of structural and behavioral remedies to protect the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The UK Competition Commission clears entertainment industry merger for second time without remedies following appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (Live Nation / Ticketmaster)
Oxera (London)
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Oxera (London)
On May 7th 2010, the UK Competition Commission (CC) cleared unconditionally the completed merger between Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc (Ticketmaster) and Live Nation, Inc (Live Nation). The case had previously been cleared by the CC in December 2009, but following a successful appeal by a (...)

The EU Commission clears merger in the online advertising market applying for the first time the non horizontal merger guidelines (Google / DoubleClick)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG CNECT (Brussels)
"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 EU Commission approves after an in-depth investigation the creation of a joint venture in the music industry (Sony / BMG)
European Commission - DG CNECT (Brussels)
"Following an in-depth investigation the Commission approved the creation of the Sony/BMG music recording joint venture on 19 July 2004"* Over the last 15 years, the music industry has witnessed the process of gradual consolidation. The Commission has analysed a number of these concentrations (...)

The German Competition Authority conditionally clears acquisition on the market for paid content (T-Online / Bild.de)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears T-Online participation in Bild.de subject to specific conditions* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared T-Online International AG’s acquisition of a 37 per cent share in Bild.de after the companies concerned had clarified with legally binding effect a number of preconditions (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger in the media sector with behavioural remedies, including granting of non-discriminatory access after initially prohibiting the merger (Seat Pagine Gialle / Cecchi Gori Communications)
Clifford Chance
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Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation On 23 January 2001, the Competition Authority authorized with conditions the acquisition by Seat Pagine Gialle S.p.A. of Cecchi Gori Communications S.p.A. by way of purchase of shares. SEAT Seat Pagine Gialle S.p.A. (SEAT) is an Italian company belonging to the Telecom Italia (...)

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