ARTICLE: MERGER CONTROL - AUTORISATION - ANCILLARY RESTRAINTS - SELF-ASSESSMENT

The ancillary restraint to a concentration operation, a circumscribed immunity

Under European Union (’EU’) Law, the principle governing the assessment of restrictions directly related and necessary to concentrations - known as ancillary restraints - is that of self-evaluation by the parties. In other words, a decision authorizing a concentration is not a blank check that would validate any prior restriction set in place by the parties. Therefore, the parties must make sure the restriction in question has an ancillary character and complies with antitrust rules. Some national authorities take different approaches by either explicitly examining the restrictions when assessing the main transaction, or by considering that ancillary restraints are never covered by a decision authorizing a concentration. However, the introduction in EU law of a principle of self-assessment has led the Commission to establish a precise framework of analysis of restrictions directly related and necessary to concentrations. Consequently, and as shown by the compared analysis of the recent Telefónica case with the earlier Quantel case, the jurisprudence regarding ancillary restraints is consistent and increasingly strict [1].

1. Une restriction accessoire est une restriction, pesant sur les parties à un accord, qui n’exécute pas l’objet principal de l’accord mais est directement liée et nécessaire à sa réalisation [2]. Même si la notion de restriction accessoire existe tant en droit des ententes qu’en contrôle des concentrations, celle-ci est particulièrement développée et encadrée en contrôle des concentrations. La Commission européenne (ci-après, “la Commission”) a publié en 2005 une Communication relative aux restrictions directement liées et nécessaires à la réalisation des opérations de concentration (ci-après, “la Communication”) qui précise que : “Tous les accords qui exécutent l’objet principal de la concentration, tels que ceux relatifs à la vente d’actions ou d’actifs d’une entreprise, font partie intégrante de la

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  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Paris)

Quotation

Faustine Viala, The ancillary restraint to a concentration operation, a circumscribed immunity, September 2018, Concurrences Review N° 3-2018, Art. N° 87229, www.concurrences.com

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