Platforms

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Court of Justice rules in favour of restrictions on the use of platforms in a selective distribution system for luxury products (Coty)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ” or the “Court”) handed down its eagerly anticipated judgment in Coty (C-230/16). In general, the ECJ closely follows the opinion of Advocate General (“AG”) Nils Wahl, published on 26 July 2016 (see VBB on Compe- tition Law, (...)

The EU Court of Justice hands down an anticipated judgment on the possibility for a producer of luxury goods to restrict the selling of goods on third party online platforms outside of its selective distribution network (Coty)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ECJ or the Court) handed down its eagerly anticipated judgment in Coty (C-230/16). In general, the ECJ closely follows the opinion of Advocate General Wahl (AG Wahl), published on 26 July 2016, in essentially holding that: the (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that suppliers of luxury goods may under certain conditions restrict authorised retailers in a selective distribution system not to sell their goods via third-party online platforms to preserve their products’ ‘luxury image’ (Coty Germany)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
I. Introduction On 6 December 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down its long-awaited judgment on the permissibility of restrictions by suppliers of luxury goods to sell their products via third-party online platforms under Article 101 (1) TFEU. The question has been subject to (...)

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

The EU Commission confirms that Ireland granted State Aid to a company (Apple)
Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
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Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
On 30 August 2016, the EU commission confirmed that in their view, Ireland granted illegal State Aid to Apple. Such State Aid is allegedly granted in the form of a selective tax treatment. The decision is the latest in the EU Commission’s moves to use State Aid principles in a direct tax (...)

The EU General Court confirms that public funding of an e-platform for procurement purposes does not constitute a State aid (Aanbestedingskalender)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The French Supreme Court refers a case on online platform sales ban back to the Paris Court of Appeal without waiting for an upcoming ruling of the EU Court of Justice on a similar case (Caudalie / eNova)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 September 2017, the French Supreme Court ordered the Paris Court of Appeal to rehear a case for failing to sufficiently substantiate its finding that an obligation in Caudalie’s selective distribution system constituted a probable restriction of competition by object. In the selective (...)

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

The 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 Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms that the general prohibition of the use of price comparison engines by retailers violates competition law (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms Bundeskartellamt’s decision on prohibition of use of price comparison engines* Yesterday the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirmed the Bundeskartellamt’s decision of principle against the running shoes manufacturer Asics. According to the decision the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes preliminary findings on price comparison websites
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
In September 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) launched a Market Study into digital comparison tools (“DCTs”). On March 28, 2017, the CMA published an update on the Market Study setting out its preliminary findings and areas of focus for the second part of the Market Study. The (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court dismisses a lawsuit for unfair competition stating that a platform that focuses exclusively on private transport is not subject to transportation regulations (CONFEBUS / Blablacar)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
A First Instance Commercial Court dismisses the lawsuit filed against Blablacar for unfair competition stating that Blablacar is a platform that focuses exclusively on private transport and is therefore not subject to transportation regulations (Judgement of the Commercial Court of 2 February (...)

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 EU Commission publishes its largest-ever negative State aid decision regarding tax arrangements, requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (Apple)
Oxera (Oxford)
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Oxera (Brussels)
I. Introduction 1. On 30 August 2016, the European Commission announced its largest-ever negative State aid decision requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (plus interest) from Apple as a result of its tax rulings with Ireland . In the year leading up to this announcement, the Commission (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considers potential discrimination between taxis and transportation network providers (Illinois Transport Association / City of Chicago)
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Warsaw)
Sharing and traditional economy: matter of substitutability ... between cats and dogs?* Sharing economy firms are disrupting traditional industries across the globe. As Tom Goodwin once put it: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a market inquiry on online platforms
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Taking a closer look at online video platforms* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a market study into online platforms that offer videos and movies. Think of YouTube and Facebook, but also Dutch platforms such as NL-ziet and Dumpert. "We will be taking a (...)

The EU Commission publishes the initial findings of its e-commerce sector inquiry
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
European Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry - increasing anti-trust heat* Online sales are not only attracting the attention of consumers and tech businesses, but also increased review by antitrust regulators. On 15 September 2016, the European Commission published a detailed 290 page (...)

The EU Commission publishes initial findings of e-commerce sector inquiry report
Bydgoszcz University of Technology and Life Sciences (UOKIK)
On 15 September 2016, the European Commission published a preliminary report on its initial findings in the e-commerce sector inquiry, aimed at identifying business practices in the sector that might restrict competition and limit consumer choice. This development follows the Commission’s report (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeals submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
European Court of Justice to Rule on Legality of Online Sales Bans*An appeal court in Frankfurt has asked the European Court of Justiceto clarify the application of the competition rules to online sales. The Frankfurt court made its request in the context of a dispute between a leader in beauty (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeals submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Ban on sales via third-party internet platforms in Germany and Pierre Fabre – recent referral to the Court of Justice* The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeals refers how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms to the European Court of Justice
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see judgment of October 13, 2011, case C-439/09) have been on the agenda in Germany for some time. Recently, the Frankfurt (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court confirms Commission on Competition’s decision of the decision ordering for a transportation company to suspend operations in Bulgaria for immediate enforcement (Uber)
Johnson & Johnson (Sofia)
On September 23, 2015 the five-member panel of the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court confirmed the decision of the Commission on Protection of Competition for immediate enforcement of the decision ordering for Uber to suspend operations in Bulgaria. On June 30, 2015, the CPC adopted its (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority decides to not launch investigation in hotel market (Booking.com / Expedia)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
HCC decides not to proceed with a formal investigation into BOOKING & EXPEDIA’s cooperation agreements with hotel businesses in Greece * The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) reviewed the revised parity terms in the agreements between online travel agencies (OTAs) BOOKING.COM and (...)

The UK Competition Authority closes its hotel online booking investigation (Booking.com)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA closes hotel online booking investigation* The CMA today announced that it has closed an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in the hotel online booking sector. The investigation was launched by the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) predecessor, the Office of (...)

The German Competition Authority condemns a manufacturer of running shoes for restricting the online sales activities of small and medium-sized authorised dealers (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Unlawful restriction of online sales of ASICS running shoes* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded its proceeding on anti-competitive clauses in the distribution system of ASICS Deutschland. The authority accuses ASICS of having restricted the online sales activities of small and medium-sized (...)

ECJ Advocate General Szpunar issues opinion on circumstances where the use of an online booking system by travel agents may amount to a concerted practice (Eturas)
Ashurst (Milan)
EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General issues opinion on circumstances where the use of an online booking system by travel agents may amount to a concerted practice* On 16 July 2015 Advocate General Szupnar handed down his opinion following a request for a preliminary ruling by the Court of (...)

European Competition Authorities adopt decisions on Most Favoured Nation clauses and rebate schemes that are relevant and applicable in the context of ASEAN competition law (Booking.com / Post Danmark)
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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McCarter & English (Washington)
Introduction As we move into the second half of the year, we examine two recent competition enforcement cases in Europe, and consider their relevance and applicability in the context of ASEAN competition law. Specifically, we discuss the position taken in Europe with regards to Most Favoured (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues a commitment decision and closes an investigation regarding contracts concluded between online booking websites and their partner hotels (Online Hotel Reservation)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a commitment decision made on 21 April 2015 in the Mercato dei Servizi Turistici-Prenotazione Alberghiere Online case (thereinfter Online Hotel Reservation) the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed an Article 101 TFEU investigation against Booking. The ICA has launched the (...)

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upholds the decision of the Bundeskartellamt prohibiting the application of the "best price clause" in the online hotel booking sector (HRS / Expedia / Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
HRS’s ‘best price’ clauses violate German and European competition law - Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms Bundeskartellamt’s prohibition decision* Today the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court rejected HRS’s appeal against the Bundeskartellamt’s decision of 20 December 2013. In its decision the (...)

A US District Court dismisses with prejudice a class action insofar as the class action’s plaintiffs have not overcome the pleading deficiencies following the first judicial review of their pleadings (OTC Hotel Booking)
Ashurst (Milan)
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed Second Consolidated Amended Complaint against hotel chains and online travel agencies* On 28 October 2014 the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas dismissed with prejudice a class action against hotel chains and (...)

The German Competition Authority closes proceedings after the company amended its conditions for online sales of sport shoes in such a way that they comply with competition law (Adidas)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Adidas abandons ban on sales via online market places* The Bundeskartellamt has closed its proceedings against adidas AG (adidas) after the company amended its conditions for online sales in such a way that they comply with competition law. adidas operates a selective distribution system (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation for alleged vertical agreements entered into with their partner hotels in violation of Article 101(1) TFEU (Booking.com / Expedia)
NCTM - Studio Legale Associato (Milan)
On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, the “Authority”) launched an investigation against Booking.com BV (hereinafter, “Booking”), Booking.com (Italia) S.r.l., Expedia Inc. (hereinafter, “Expedia”), and Expedia Italy S.r.l. for alleged (...)

The US District Court of Dallas dismisses a class action lawsuit filed by an online travel discount company against 12 dominant hotel chains and 9 online travel agencies alledging unfair exclusion from the market (OTC / Hotel Booking)
Ashurst (Milan)
U.S. District Judge in Texas dismisses class action lawsuit against conspiracy by online travel agencies and hotels to fix the price of hotel rooms* On 18 February 2014, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle of the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division dismissed a class action lawsuit that (...)

The US District Court of Dallas dismisses antitrust claims because plaintiffs did not plausibly state an agreement on the market for direct online sale of hotel room reservations leaving the question of potential anticompetitive effect of the most favored nation (MFN) clause without an answer (OTC / Hotel Booking)
University of Michigan
OTA Case Turns Out to Be Less about MFNs and More about Agreement* Back in September 2012, the potential anticompetitive aspects of most favored nation (MFN) clauses was the hot antitrust topic. While antitrust counselors (and courts) had found the clauses to be innocuous almost all the time, (...)

The UK OFT accepts commitments from online travel agents enabling them and the hotels to offer discounts on rates for hotel rooms (Booking.com)
Ashurst (Milan)
UK Office of Fair Trading closes investigation into hotel online booking practices On 31 January 2014, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) accepted the commitments from online travel agents, Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”, and its ultimate parent company priceline.com Incorporated) and Expedia (...)

The UK OFT opens consultation on the revised commitments proposed by online travel agencies (Booking.com / Expedia)
Ashurst (Milan)
UK OFT weighs revised commitments in the online hotel accommodation bookings* On 20 December 2013, the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) opened a consultation on the revised commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”), Expedia Inc (“Expedia”) and InterContinental Hotels (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a press release concerning its decision to prohibit the hotel booking portal from continuing to apply its “best price” clause (HRS / Expedia / Booking.com)
Ashurst (Milan)
German Federal Cartel Office bans use of MFN clauses by HRS and opens new proceedings against Booking.com and Expedia* On 20 December 2013, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release concerning its decision to prohibit the hotel booking portal HRS from continuing to apply its (...)

The German Competition Authority forbids the application of most favoured nation clause and orders its removal from the contracts between hotels and booking portals (HRS / Expedia / Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Online hotel portal HRS’s ’best price’ clause violates competition law – Proceedings also initiated against other hotel portals* Bonn, 20 December 2013: Today the Bundeskartellamt prohibited HRS from continuing to apply its ’best price’ clause (most favoured nation clause) and ordered the company to (...)

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 German Competition Authority continues to view the best price clause used by a hotel booking portal in a critical manner (HRS)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt continues to view HRS’s best price clause critically* The Bundeskartellamt has confirmed its competition concerns about the best price clause used by the hotel booking portal HRS. After examining the statements of HRS and all other relevant market participants, the (...)

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 (...)

Dominance

The Romanian Competition Authority opens a procedure against a company suspected of abuse of dominance in the mediation services market through online platforms (Dante International)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council analyses a possible abuse of dominant position of Dante International SA* The Competition Council opened an investigation on a possible abuse of dominant position by Dante International SA on the mediation services market through online platforms in Romania. Dante (...)

The Malaysian Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds a decision of the Competition Authority in a case of abuse of dominance in the provision and management of online foreign workers permit renewals (My E.G)
Wong Partners (Baker McKenzie Kuala Lumpur)
On 28 December 2017, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) upheld the Malaysian Competition Commission’s (MyCC) decision on 24 June 2016 that My E.G. Services Berhad (MyEG) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, My E.G Commerce Sdn. Bhd. (MyEG Commerce) have abused their dominant position in the (...)

The German Competition Authority indicates in its preliminary assessment of a possible abuse of dominance case that data collection and use from third-party sources is abusive (Facebook)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Bundeskartellamt sends preliminary assessment to Facebook* On December 19, 2017, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published a press release on its preliminary assessment in the ongoing Facebook dominance probe, accompanied by a background paper (available in English here). The FCO considers (...)

The German Competition Authority finds by preliminary assessment that a social network company abused its dominant position by collecting and using data from third-party sources (Facebook)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Preliminary assessment in Facebook proceeding: Facebook’s collection and use of data from third-party sources is abusive* The Bundeskartellamt has informed the company Facebook in writing of its preliminary legal assessment in the abuse of dominance proceeding which the authority is conducting (...)

The EU Commission imposes a record fine for abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google Shopping)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Introduction On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed a record €2.42bn fine on Google after finding it had abused its dominant position in the search engine market by giving favourable treatment to its comparison shopping service in its search results. Background (...)

The French Competition Authority conducts an initial intermediary assessment of the commitments made by an online accommodation booking company (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence conducts an initial intermediary assessment of the commitments made by Booking.com.* The Autorité has not ruled out the possibility of issuing an opinion at its own initiative if the change in competition so requires, and is actively contributing to all of the (...)

The Commission seeks feedback on commitments proposed by an electronic commerce company in e-book investigation (Amazon)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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 German Competition Authority closes its proceeding against companies operating on the digital audio-books market suspected to abuse of dominance (Apple and Amazon)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings against Audible/Amazon and Apple* The Bundeskartellamt has closed its administrative proceedings against Audible.com – a subsidiary of Amazon – and Apple Computer Inc. Following a complaint by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des (...)

The Paris Commercial Court declares void price and availability parity clauses formerly implemented by a hotel online booking company (Booking.com)
DLA Piper (Paris)
In a ruling issued on November 29th, 2016, the Paris commercial court (hereafter the “court”) declared void several provisions, including price and availability parity clauses previously in force, of Booking.com’s general terms of service governing its B2B relationships with hotels. Following an (...)

The Italian Competition Authority, in partnership with the EU Commission and nine other NCAs, monitors the impact of the measures undertaken in online hotel booking sector
Italian Competition Authority
Monitoring launched in online hotel booking sector* Monitoring the impact of the new parity clauses in the contracts with online travel agencies by the Italian Competition Authority in partnership with 9 other National Competition Authorities The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), in (...)

The French Competition starts, in collaboration with 9 National Competition Authorities and the EU Commission, a survey among hoteliers to assess the remedies implemented in the hotel booking sector (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Hotel booking platforms* The Autorité de la concurrence launches, in collaboration with 9 national competition authorities and the European Commission, a survey among hoteliers in order to assess the effects of the remedies implemented in Europe in the hotel booking platforms sector. (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a working paper on "Market Power of Platforms and Networks"
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes working paper on "Market Power of Platforms and Networks"* The Bundeskartellamt has today published a working paper which deals with the "Market Power of Platforms and Networks" in the Internet. The report focuses on the factors relevant for assessing the market (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority pursues the monitoring of the online booking market after closing its sector inquiry
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH continues to monitor the hotel booking market after closing its sectoral inquiry* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) prepared its report on its sectoral inquiry on the online accommodation booking market. Due to the positive changes that took place on (...)

The German Competition Authority informs that, following its investigations, a railway company has decided to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Deutsche Bahn AG to make changes to ticket sales* Following investigations by the Bundeskartellamt, Deutsche Bahn AG has undertaken to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets. The measures will improve the ticket sales possibilities of its competitors. In early 2014 the (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office terminates proceedings regarding possible abuse of dominance in the market for the distribution of passenger train tickets and accepts several commitments by the incumbent train company (Deutsche Bahn)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
By a decision of 24 May 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had terminated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG after having accepted several commitments. In 2014, the FCO initiated an investigation against Deutsche Bahn AG and reached the preliminary conclusion that (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a social network company regarding potential abuse of dominance (Facebook)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The German Federal Cartel Office (the FCO) has announced that it has initiated proceedings against Facebook for the company’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in a market for social networks. The FCO appears to be taking the position that, as a firm with a possibly dominant position, (...)

The German Competition Authority opens a proceeding against a social network company suspected to have abused of its dominance by infringing data protection rules (Facebook)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt initiates proceeding against Facebook on suspicion of having abused its market power by infringing data protection rules* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Facebook Inc., USA, the Irish subsidiary of the company and Facebook Germany GmbH, Hamburg. The (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits the "best price" clauses implemented by a hotel online booking company (Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Narrow ’best price’ clauses of Booking also anticompetitive* Today the Bundeskartellamt prohibited Booking (Booking.com Deutschland GmbH, Berlin, and Booking.com B.V., Amsterdam) from continuing to apply its ’best price’ clauses and ordered the hotel booking portal to completely delete the clauses (...)

The Irish Competition Authority publishes the commitments made by an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
Commission secures 5-year commitments from Booking.com* Commission secures 5-year commitments from Booking.com Accommodation providers in Ireland will have increased ability to offer lower prices Consumers will have greater access to more competitive rates Tuesday, 6th October 2015: The (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office condemns an athletic equipment company for restricting online sales of its small and medium-sized authorized dealers (Asics)
Ashurst (Milan)
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office finds ASICS’ restrictions of online sales illegal* On 27 August 2015, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded its proceedings concerning certain anticompetitive restrictions in the distribution system of ASICS Deutschland (“ASICS“), and found that ASICS breached (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority opens an ex officio investigation regarding an apps sales market (Google)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA investigation in Android apps sales market* Following some press articles claiming that the Croatian software companies were forced to open branch offices or find partners abroad because Google did not allow them to register for direct sale of their apps via the Google Play store, the (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains extensive commitments from an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online hotel booking sector* The Autorité de la concurrence, in coordination with the European Commission and the Italian and Swedish authorities, has obtained particularly extensive commitments from Booking.com aiming to boost competition between online booking platforms and give hotels more (...)

The Italian Competition Authority renders legally binding the commitments proposed by an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
Italian Competition Authority
Commitments offered by booking.com: closed the investigation in Italy, France AND Sweden* On 21 April 2015, the Italian Competition Authority has rendered legally binding the commitments offered by Priceline Group’s companies Booking.com BV and Booking.com (Italy) and closed, with respect to (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority approves voluntary commitments of an online hotel booking companysubject to penalty of a fine (Booking.com)
Vinge (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority decided, on 15 April 2015, to approve the voluntary commitments presented by Bookingdotcom Sverige AB and Booking.com BV (below, jointly referred to as “Booking.com”). The commitments are associated with a fine of SEK 5 million (approx. EUR 550 000) for (...)

The German Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to an online hotel booking company suspected to abuse of dominance (Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt issues statement of objections regarding Booking.com’s ’best price’ clauses* Today the Bundeskartellamt has informed Booking.com Deutschland GmbH, Berlin, of its competition concerns regarding the continued use of ’best price’ clauses in its contracts with hotels in Germany. This (...)

The French Competition Authority receives commitments from an online hotel booking company aiming at ending practices likely to constitute an abuse of dominance (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online hotel booking sector* Booking.com has proposed to the Autorité de la concurrence to remove the so-called “pricing parity clause” obliging hotels to grant it pricing conditions that are at least as favorable as those granted to the other online platforms Hotels can now place booking.com in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates antitrust proceedings concerning use of most favored nation clauses in the online hotel reservations space (Booking.com / Expedia)
Ashurst (Milan)
Italian competition authority investigates online hotel bookings* On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“Agcm”) initiated proceedings (decision only available in Italian) against Booking.com and Expedia in the online hotel reservations space. This is yet another case in the wake of (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings on the suspicion of abuse of dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceedings initiated against Deutsche Bahn AG Suspicion of restricting competition in ticket sales* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG on the suspicion that it has abused its dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets. Andreas Mundt, (...)

Mergers

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 (...)

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)
European Commission
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DG COMP (Brussels)
,
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 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 (...)

Regulations

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

EU Court of Justice Advocate General Szpunar delivers his opinion in a case regarding the concept of information society service (Uber Spain)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
Quo Vadis EU law on e-platforms? A comment on the Advocate General’s Opinion in the Uber Spain Case. 1. Introduction: Background of the case In 2014, Uber launched its UberPOP service in Barcelona and Madrid. UberPOP enables users of Uber’s App to request a transport service from (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on online hotel booking platforms in collaboration with several national competition authorities
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission publishes the results of an exercise, carried out by the Autorité de la concurrence and 9 other national European competition authorities, which assess the effects of the remedies adopted in Europe in the online hotel booking sector.* Background Following the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes an opinion regarding the implementation of a new online taxi reservation platform (Le.taxi)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité has published the opinion issued to the Government on the implementation of the Le.taxi platform* Following publication of the texts launching the Le.taxi service, the Autorité de la concurrence has published the opinion it issued to the Government. Subject to compliance with a (...)

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