MFC clause

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission accepts remedies proposed by an electronic commerce company in the e-books case (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP
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 (...)

The Commission seeks feedback on commitments proposed by an electronic commerce company in e-book investigation (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Amazon in e-book investigation* The European Commission is inviting comments on commitments offered by Amazon to address competition concerns relating to parity clauses in contracts with publishers. The clauses may breach EU (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments to remove most favoured nation clauses from e-book distribution agreements (Amazon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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 Turkish Competition Board concludes its investigation against an online booking platform (Booking.com)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
Introduction The Competition Board (“Board”) concluded its investigation with regard to the booking services provided by Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”) and by Bookingdotcom Destek Hizmetleri Limited Liability Company. During its investigation, the Board has evaluated whether Articles 4 and 6 of (...)

The US Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights holds cartel related hearings
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New Publications: DoJ & FTC Testimony Posted from Antitrust Subcommittee Hearings* The Americans are not ones to pussy foot around when it comes to economic crime. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights held cartel related hearings (...)

The ECN Working Group on Competition Law gathers in Bonn to discuss matters related to vertical restraints in the internet economy
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Vertical Restraints in the Internet Economy - Meeting of the Working Group on Competition Law in Bonn* Bonn, 14 October 2013: On 10 October 2013 the Working Group on Competition Law met in Bonn at the invitation of the Bundeskartellamt. At this year’s meeting more than 100 competition law (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York establishes collusion to eliminate retail price competition for e-books and imposes restrictions on deals with publishers for the next five years (Apple)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. District Court rules Apple colluded on E-Book Prices* On 10 July 2013 the District Court in Manhattan ruled in United States v. Apple Inc., et al that Apple conspired with five major publishers to raise prices on e-books. The publishers settled and denied any wrongdoing. However, the case (...)

The UK OFT issues draft commitments in an investigation into the sector for hotel online booking (IHG / Expedia / Booking.com)
Accenture (Dublin)
Hotel Online Booking: The OFT announces its intention to accept binding commitments* On 9 August 2013, the OFT issued draft commitments in the Hotel Online Booking investigation. The OFT has investigated the relevant markets for over 2 years and has provisionally found that certain hotels (...)

The Israeli Antitrust General Director applies a "Self Assessment" regime on non-horizontal restrictive arrangements
Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Tel Aviv)
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Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Tel Aviv)
Introduction On July 25, 2013, the Restrictive Trade Practices General Director (the "General Director") issued a new block exemption - the Restrictive Trade Practices Rules (Block Exemption for Non-Horizontal Arrangements which do not Include Certain Price Restrictions), 2013 (the "Block (...)

The EU Commission finds that given the nature of the relevant product, concerted practices covering a substantial part of the EEA may affect the interstate trade (e-books)
University of South Australia
Sad but true* I love commitments decisions because they are a quick read. But I also hate dislike them because they leave the reader angry hungry for more. Some evidence: in the E-Books case, the effect on trade condition was deemed fulfilled under the simplest possible sort of analysis: (...)

The European Commission accepts commitments in e-books case (Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck and Apple)
European Commission
European Commission accepts Commitments in E-Books Case* On 12 December 2012, the European Commission (Commission) accepted formally binding commitments from four international publishers (Simon & Schusters (CBS Corp., USA), HarperCollins (News Corp., USA), Hachette Livre (Lagardère (...)

A US federal district court approves a U.S. consent decree that resolves DoJ allegations against three publishers for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices for e-books (Hachette Book, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
U.S. Consent Decree with Three Publishers over E-Book Pricing Approved* The federal district court in New York City yesterday approved a U.S. consent decree that resolves U.S. Department of Justice allegations against three publishers for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices for (...)

The UK OFT issues statement of objections against two online travel agents and one hotels group for alleged restrictive practices (Booking.com / Expedia / Intercontinental Hotels)
European Commission
United Kingdom: The Office of Fair Trading issues Statement of Objections against Booking.com, Expedia and Intercontinental Hotels Group* On 31 July 2012, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a Statement of Objections alleging that Booking. com B.V. (Booking.com), Expedia Inc (Expedia) and (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority settles an alleged cartel case (Metro, Billa, Kaufland, Picadilly, Maxima, HIT)
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov
On 19 July 2012 the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition (“CPC”) handed down a commitments decision (the “Commitments Decision”) and closed an investigation for alleged horizontal coordination of pricing and marketing policy by six retailers – “Metro Cash & Carry Bulgaria” EOOD (...)

The US District Court of Detroit dismisses antitrust claims against practice of requiring hospitals to enter into "MFN-Plus" contracts (City of Pontiac / Blue Cross Blue Shield)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
District Court Dismisses Follow-On Suit Challenging Blue Cross’s “MFN-Plus’ Contracts Under Both Per Se and Rule of Reason Standards* The District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently dismissed antitrust claims brought by the City of Pontiac against Blue Cross Blue Shield of (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal quashes OFT’s tobacco pricing decision (Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher and retailers)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 December 2011, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) quashed a decision of the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) in which the UK regulator had imposed a record fine on a number of tobacco manufacturers and retailers for manipulating prices of tobacco products through a network of illegal (...)

A US federal court explains its denial of motion to dismiss in Most Favored Nation -MFN- clauses decision in the health care industry (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Federal/State Antitrust Suit Against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Can Proceed* Last week, the federal district court in Detroit denied Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s motion to dismiss a federal/state antitrust action challenging the health insurer’s use of most favored nation (MFN) (...)

The US DoJ challenges "most favoured nations" clauses in the healthcare sector, analyzing their anticompetitive effects under section 1 of the Sherman Act (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan)
Richard Wolfram, Esq. (New York)
‘Most Favored Nations’ (MFN) Clauses under the Spotlight: U.S. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — When Might Otherwise Competitively Neutral or Procompetitive MFN Clauses Violate the Antitrust Laws?* On October 18, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Michigan sued Blue (...)

The US DoJ and the State of Michigan file a complaint against health insurance provider alleging that its most favored nation clauses violate section 1 of the Sherman Act (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Health Insurer Sued over Most Favored Nation Clauses* It has been more than a decade since the U.S. Justice Department has brought an antitrust challenge to enjoin the use of “most favored nation” clauses in the health care industry. Many of the more recent, civil non-merger actions against (...)

The US DoJ targets so-called “most favored nation” - MFN - agreements in the health care industry (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan - BCBSM)
Gibson Dunn (New York)
U.S. Dep’t of Justice Targets MFN Agreements* The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to curb the use of so-called “most favored nation” (MFN) agreements — a common business practice that the DOJ believes can sometimes result in anticompetitive effects when entered into by a dominant (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading heavely fines price-fixing practices from supermarkets and tobacco firms in a decision which may be its largest ever combined fine (Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher and retailers)
TT&A
The Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) has recently fined two tobacco companies, namely Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher (now part of Japan Tobacco International), and ten retailers in UK for collusion while determining tobacco retail prices. The actual infringement took place between 2001 and 2003 for (...)

The UK OFT finds that each of the manufacturers and retailers investigated had participated in agreements and/or concerted practices whereby the manufacturers set the retailers’ retail prices for its tobacco products which restricted the retailers’ ability to determine their retail price of competing tobacco products (ITL/Gallaher/ Asda/ the Co-op/ First Quench/ Morrisons/ T&S/ Safeway/ Sainsbury/ Shell/ Somerfield/ TM Retail)
Addleshaw Goddard (London)
Description of the impugned case The OFT’s Chapter I investigation was initiated in March 2003 following receipt of information from Sainsbury under the OFT’s leniency policy, which, along with information obtained during a previous Chapter II investigation into ITL, gave the OFT reasonable (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reverses a District Court decision and rules that the plaintiff satisfied the Twombly standard in a conspiracy case alleging parallel conduct (Starr / Sony BMG)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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In a notable recent decision, Starr v. Sony BMG Entertainment, 592 F.3d 314 (2d Cir. 2010), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addressed the pleading standard a plaintiff must satisfy to survive a motion to dismiss an antitrust conspiracy claim under § 1 of the Sherman Act (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority announces the results of the sector inquiry on the market for retail distribution of alimentary products (Report of the Sector Inquiry on Retail Distribution of Alimentary Products)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 29 September 2009 the Romanian Competition Authority published the results of it sector inquiry on the market for retail distribution of alimentary products, which was initiated in March 2008. The inquiry was narrowed down to several products, which have special importance in an average (...)

The UK OFT reaches settlement in tobacco price-fixing case (Asda, First Quench, Gallaher, One Stop Stores, Somerfield, TM Retail)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2008, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that it had reached early resolution agreements with six companies relating to certain anti-competitive arrangements relating to the retail pricing of tobacco products in the UK. These settlement agreements follow the issue of a (...)

The European Commission clears joint venture of nine European airlines companies creating an online travel agency (Opodo)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission clears online travel agency Opodo"* Introduction Opodo is an online travel agent created as a joint venture by nine of the largest European airlines. It was notified to the Commission in November 2000. Opodo offers internet travel agency services including airline ticket sales, (...)

Mergers

The US FTC and the EU Commission clear an acquisition on the market for recorded music (Universal and EMI)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
European Commission and U.S. Federal Trade Commission clear Universal’s acquisition of EMI’s recorded music business* On 21 September 2012 both the European Commission (“Commission”) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) cleared the acquisition of EMI’s recorded music business by Universal. (...)

The French Minister of Economy cleared a merger in the rail fastening sector with remedies, including commitment to license IP, or, if no licensee is found, to let the IP rights fall into the public domain (Delachaux/Pandrol)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation Through this transaction, Delachaux acquired the sole control of Pandrol. Both companies were active in the rail fastening sector. The market(s) The product market was the rail fastening devices. On this market, different technologies may be used, each technology being (...)

Procedures

The Austrian Federal Competition Authority launches public consultation on draft guidelines regarding vertical price fixing
European Commission
Austria: The Federal Competition Authority (FCA) launches Public Consultation on Draft Guidelines regarding Vertical Price Fixing* In the course of recent enforcement activities by the FCA, it has appeared that vertical price fixing practices combined with horizontal coordination are (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission publishes a study on the relationships between producers and distributors in the food sector analysing various aspects of buyer power in Spain
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The NCC has recently published a study on the relationships between manufacturers and distributors in the food sector (Study). The 160 page long Study, provides an interesting perspective on issues related to buyer power in Spain which have caused quite a few problems in the last few years. (...)

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