Olivier Billard

Bredin Prat (Paris)
Lawyer (Partner)

Olivier Billard is a partner at Bredin Prat (Paris), specializing in French and EU competition law both as an advisor and as a litigator. His expertise covers all aspects of competition law and focuses on complex merger control filings, state aids and high-profile antitrust litigation cases before French and EU authorities and courts. Mr. Billard has extensive experience advising French and international clients in the financial services, energy, transport, electronics, luxury goods, and media and entertainment sectors. Prior to joining Bredin Prat in 2001, he practiced for several years at well-known French firms both in Paris and in Brussels. Mr. Billard holds degrees in law from the University of Montpellier. He is a member of both the Paris and Brussels Bars. He is also a member of the AFEC (French Association of Competition Study) and the APDC (French Association of Lawyers Practicing Competition Law).

Linked authors

Bredin Prat (Brussels)
Bredin Prat (Paris)
Bredin Prat (Paris)
Bredin Prat (Paris)

Articles

24896 Review

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre, Solène Hamon Procedural infringement: The European Commission fines a notifying party 52 million euros for negligently providing incorrect information during the merger review process (General Electric / LM Wind Power)

90

Under Article 14(1)(a) of Regulation 139/2004, the Commission may impose fines of up to 1 % of the turnover of the undertaking concerned where the undertaking concerned intentionally or negligently provides incorrect or misleading information in a notification. The Commission imposed for the (...)

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre, Solène Hamon Concurrent offenses: The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms the possibility for the European Commission to simultaneously impose on the same company two separate fines for failure to notify a transaction and for implementing that transaction prior to clearance (Mowi)

162

The European Court of Justice ruling of 4 March 2020 marks the end of the Marine Harvest saga, namely the acquisition by Norwegian salmon producer and processor Marine Harvest (now Mowi ASA) of its competitor Morpol. On 18 December 2012, Marine Harvest acquired 48.5% of Morpol’s capital from (...)

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre, Margaux Serra Sole control: The French Competition Authority clears, for the very first time, the acquisition of a professional football club (Ineos / Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice)

162

On 21 August 2019, the French Competition Authority authorised the acquisition of sole control of the SASP Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d’Azur, which manages the OGC Nice football club, by Ineos Industries Holding, a company incorporated under English law and belonging to the Ineos group. (...)

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre, Margaux Serra Prohibition: The Competition and Markets Authority prohibits, following an in-depth investigation, a merger in the supermarket distribution sector (J Sainsbury / Asda)

136

On April 30, 2018, CMA in the United Kingdom was notified of the proposed acquisition of Asda (a subsidiary of the Walmart group active in the UK’s food-dominated supermarket sector) by its competitor Sainsbury’s. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year. As the CMA (...)

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre, Margaux Serra "Fix-it-first" remedies: The French Competition Authority clears a merger and renders legally binding the concession of a licence agreement (Alsa / Dr. Oetker)

329

By Decision No. 19-DCC-15 of 29 January 2019the Competition Authority has authorised the acquisition of Alsa France and the intangible assets necessary for the manufacture and sale of food products under the Alsa and Moench brands by the Dr. Oetker group (owner of the Ancel and Dr. Oetker (...)

Olivier Billard, Guillaume Fabre Sole control: The European Commission clears a change from joint to sole control after assessing whether the removal of the veto rights of the outgoing shareholder on the commercial policy decided by the remaining shareholder would have any effects on the market (Sony / EMI Music Publishing)

214

On 26 October 2018, the European Commission adopted a decision approving the acquisition of sole control of EMI Music Publishing by Sony. Sony (via its subsidiary Sony/ATV) and EMI are both music publishing companies, i.e. they both exploit authors’ rights by granting licences to the users of (...)

Olivier Billard, Yohann Chevalier Minister for economic affairs’ evocation power: The French Minister for Economic Affairs takes over a merger case for the first time and authorizes a concentration subject to a commitment aiming to maintaining jobs (Financière Cofigeo)

195

The case that is the subject of this commentary is unprecedented. In a decision dated 19 July 2018, the Minister of the Economy authorised, subject to a commitment to maintain employment, Cofigeo’s acquisition of exclusive control of the "ready-made meals" division of the Agripole food group, (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Gun-jumping: The European Commission fines an undertaking for the early implementation of a concentration stemming from the clauses of the share purchase agreement and from the intervention of the acquirer into the commercial strategy of the target (Altice / PT Portugal)

309

The prohibition on the early implementation of concentrations has been the subject of particularly extensive decision-making practice and case law recently - a sign of the great attention that the competition authorities are paying to this issue. However, it is not always clear what exactly (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Thresholds: The European Commission accepts a request for referral by various national competition authorities and will assess a merger whose value is important but for which the Parties did not meet the turnover thresholds set out in Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (Apple / Shazam)

278

On December 11, 2017, Apple announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Shazam, a UK company offering an audio recognition service. The Shazam application allows to identify a piece of music from its smartphone, i.e. to recognize the author and the title (its capabilities are already (...)

Olivier Billard, Yohann Chevalier Commitments: The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the agricultural sector, subject to conditions (Agriculteurs de la Mayenne / Terrena)

137

By a decision of 13 December 2017, the French Competition Authority authorised, subject to commitments, the merger of the Coopérative des Agriculteurs de la Mayenne (’CAM 53’) with the agricultural cooperative Terrena, one of France’s leading agricultural and agri-food cooperative groups. It is the (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Acquisition of joint control over a pre-existing undertaking: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that the acquisition of joint control over a pre-existing activity previously exclusively controlled amounts to a merger when the undertaking now jointly controlled is fully-functional (Austrian Asphalt)

334

On 7 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a particularly important judgment in the field of merger control, interpreting, in the context of a preliminary question, the concept of "concentration" contained in Article 3 of Regulation 139/2004 on the control of (...)

Olivier Billard, Yohann Chevalier Commitments: The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the private clinics sector, subject to conditions (MédiPôle Partenaires / Elsan)

148

By a decision of 23 June 2017, the Competition Authority authorised, subject to commitments, the acquisition of sole control of MédiPôle-Partenaires ("MPP") by Elsan Holding ("Elsan"). This merger between the number 2 (Elsan) and number 3 (MPP) in the market for private clinics in France gave (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Annulment of a commission decision : The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission’s decision prohibiting a merger on the ground that the European Commission breached the notifying party’s rights of defence (UPS)

172

The case had made a lot of noise. In the spring of 2012, the American freight forwarding and express parcel delivery company UPS announced a takeover bid for the capital of its Dutch competitor TNT. The bid valued TNT at €5.1 billion and would have created a global giant with a turnover of no (...)

Olivier Billard Horizontal and vertical merger: The European Commission unconditionally clears a horizontal merger in the payment processing sector (Advent International/Bain Capital/Setefi Services/Intesa Sanpaolo Card)

222

In a decision of 10 August 2016, the European Commission authorised, after a phase 1 and without commitments, the acquisition of joint control of Setefi Services and Intesa Sanpaolo Card, two companies specialising in card payment processing, by the two US private equity funds Bain Capital and (...)

Olivier Billard Judicial review: The French Supreme Administrative Court partly annuls a decision of the French Competition Authority which conditionally cleared a merger in the LPG distribution sector (Primagaz, Vitogaz)

259

On July 6, 2016, the Conseil d’État handed down its decision on the merits of the action brought by Primagaz and Vitogaz for the annulment of Competition Authority Decision 15-DCC-53 of May 15, 2015 relating to the acquisition of sole control of Totalgaz by UGI Bordeaux Holding.which already (...)

Olivier Billard Horizontal and vertical effects: The European Commission conditionally clears the takeover of a retail and wholesale fuels business in Denmark (Statoil Fuel and Retail/Dansk Fuels)

151

By decision of 23 March 2016, the European Commission has approved, subject to important commitments, the acquisition of sole control of Dansk Fuels (Shell), Shell’s Danish wholesale and retail fuel business, by Statoil Fuel and Retail (³cSFR³d). Relevant markets The markets concerned by the (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Acts of "Soft law": The French Supreme Administrative Court outlines that any position statement of the French Authority that could have significant economic effects can be challenged in Court (Numéricable)

225

On 21 March 2016, the Council of State handed down two judgments of principle on the admissibility of appeals against so-called "soft law" acts adopted by independent administrative authorities. One of these two cases concerned the interpretation of an injunction issued to Canal Plus Group (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Vertical merger: The French Competition Authority approves a vertical concentration in the audiovisual sector, excluding the risk of input foreclosure (TF1, FIFL, FLCP)

793

While it seems superfluous to present TF1, the same does not apply to FIFL, a holding company controlled exclusively by Mr Fabrice Larue, which controls in particular FLCP. The latter held all the capital and voting rights of the company Newen, known for producing and selling the series Plus (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Conditional clearance : The French Competition Authority clears, subject to a behavioural commitment relating to the diversity of the editorial contents, the creation of a monopoly in the press sector (La Dépêche du Midi, Journal Midi Libre)

178

On April 13, 2015, the La Dépêche du Midi Group notified the acquisition of exclusive control of the company du Journal du Midi Libre ("the Operation"). By its decision of 4 June 2015, the Authority authorised the Operation at the end of a Phase I. This decision is particularly interesting in (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Phase I : The European Commission approves a concentration in the rail transport sector, subject to commitments for non-discriminatory access to infrastructures due to a risk of vertical foreclosure of the markets (SNCF Mobilités / Eurostar International Limited)

730

Until 2010, Eurostar was a cooperation between SNCF, the British rail transport operator LCR and the Belgian national railway operator SNCB: each railway company owned its own assets and was responsible for managing the service on its own national territory. On 17 June 2010, the Commission (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Joint venture : The European Commission approves in Phase II the creation of a full-function joint venture subject to commitments since it identified a risk of price increase highlighted by the ex post assessment of the consequences of previous mergers authorised by the Commission (INEOS, Solvay, JV)

210

On June 4, 2015, the European Commission published the Phase II decision it adopted on May 8, 2014 in Case M.6905 - INEOS / Solvay / JV relating to the creation of a full-function joint venture between INEOS and Solvay (the "Operation") which will be active in the production and marketing of (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Phase II: The European Commission approves a concentration in the orthopedic implants sector subject to commitments in order to remedy the identified risks of horizontal effects on certain national markets, in particular since the parties are close competitors (Zimmer / Biomet)

1894

The European Commission published on February 25, 2016 a Phase II decision approving Zimmer’s acquisition of its competitor Biomet. Both companies are both active in the European Economic Area countries in various markets for the production and marketing of orthopaedic prostheses (in particular (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Acquisition of assets : The Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses an application for review that challenged that the acquisition of assets in the course of a Court liquidation proceedings gave rise to the acquisition of an undertaking (SeaFrance)

214

CAT, Jan. 9, 2015, SeaFrance On 9 January 2015, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("the CFI") delivered a new judgment in the SeaFrance case, a case which is therefore still making waves both in merger law and in State aid law (the CFI delivered a judgment on 6 February 2015 in Case T-1/12 (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Phase I : The European Commission approves in Phase I without commitments a merger in the sector of consumer communication services which is characterized by the free provision of the relevant services (Facebook, Whatsapp)

403

Comm. eur. 3 Oct. 2014, S.O.6, para. 1(b) Facebook c/ Whatsapp, COMP/M.7217 On 29 August 2014, Facebook notified the European Commission of its acquisition of Whatsapp, a company that publishes the well-known mobile application for instant messaging between users. The Commission cleared the (...)

Olivier Billard, Yohann Chevalier Horizontal effects : The French Competition Authority grants clearance, conditioned by structural commitments, to a merger with horizontal effects in the sector of perfume and luxury cosmetics distribution (Advent / Nocibé)

257

In a decision dated June 4, 2014, the French Competition Authority authorized, subject to structural commitments relating to 38 outlets currently operated directly or under franchise, the acquisition of sole control of the Nocibé S.A.S. group and its 466 outlets by Advent International (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Commitments: The French Competition Authority authorizes, subject to commitments, a concentration raising significant horizontal, vertical and conglomerate issues in the sector of electronic communications (Canal Plus Overseas / Mediaserv, Martinique Numérique, Guyane Numérique, La Réunion Numérique)

189

By a decision dated February 10, 2014, the French Competition Authority authorized, at the end of Phase I, the acquisition of exclusive control by Canal Plus Group (hereinafter "Canal+"), via its subsidiary Canal Plus Overseas (hereinafter "Canal+ Overseas"), of four subsidiaries of Loret (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Communication sector: The European Commission approves a concentration between two undertakings active in the advertising and communication sectors (Publicis / Omnicom)

140

Following its merger with the US group Bcom3 in 2002, an operation which was the subject of Decision COMP/M.2785 of 18 June 2002, the Publicis group has embarked on a new stage in its international development by merging with the US group Omnicom. On 9 January 2014, the European Commission (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Decision to close an in-deph investigation: The European Commission approves the creation of a joint-venture by three mobile network operators in the United Kingdom after an in-depth investigation focusing on vertical effects (Telefónica/Vodafone)

249

Eur. comm., Dec. 8, §1, R.139/2004 of 13 April 2012, Telefónica UK/Vodafone UK/Everything Everywhere/JV, Case COMP/M.6314. By a decision of 4 September 2012, the European Commission (³cthe Commission³d) has authorised the creation of a joint venture (³cthe JV³d) by Telefónica UK, Vodafone UK and (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Jurisdiction: The French Competition Authority approves the acquisition of exclusive control over the assets of a firm in liquidation subject to commitments (SeaFrance)

259

Aut. conc. dec. no. 12-DCC-154 of 7 November 2012 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control of assets of SeaFrance by Groupe Eurotunnel OFT, dec. n° ME/5570/12 of 19 October 2012 relating to the acquisition by Groupe Eurotunnel of certain assets of the former SeaFrance company. On 30 (...)

Olivier Billard Phase 2 - Risk of significant impediment: The French Competition Authority approves, for the second time, a concentration in the pay-tv sector, subject to remedies that it considered would partially address the concentration’s anticompetitive effects (TPS, CanalSatellite, Vivendi, Groupe Canal Plus)

300

Aut. Concord, dec. 12-DCC-100 of July 23, 2012 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control of TPS and CanalSatellite by Vivendi and Canal Plus Group On 23 July 2012, the Competition Authority (hereinafter ’the Authority’) issued two decisions concerning the Canal Plus Group (hereinafter (...)

Olivier Billard Conglomerate effects - Commitments: The French Competition Authority approves a concentration in the free-to-air TV sector, subject to commitments seeking to remedy the conglomerate and vertical effects flowing from the operation (Direct Star, Vivendi, Groupe Canal Plus)

677

Aut. Concord, Dec. 12-DCC-101 of July 23, 2012 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control of Direct Star and others by Vivendi and Canal Plus Group On 23 July 2012, the French Competition Authority (the ’Authority’) issued, in addition to the decision on the acquisition of sole control of (...)

Olivier Billard Oligopolistic markets – Geographic market definition: The French Competition Authority authorized, in view of the lack of unilateral and coordinated effects a merger on an oligopolistic market without remedies (Vermandoise, Cristal Union)

299

Const. dec. no. 12-DCC-06 of 20 January 2012 on the acquisition of the Vermandoise Group by the cooperative company Cristal Union On 20 January 2012, the Competition Authority authorised the acquisition of the Vermandoise Group by the cooperative company Cristal Union, two companies active in (...)

Guillaume Fabre, Olivier Billard Phase 2 with commitments: The European Commission confirms the application of the principle of priority when two concentrations on the same markets are notified within two days and subject to commitment, approving a merger after which there will be only two operators on certain markets (Western Digital Ireland/Viviti Technologies)

298

In the middle of August, the Commission published its decision of 23 November 2011 in Case COMP/M.6203 on the acquisition of Viviti Technologies by Western Digital (³cWD³d), Viviti Technologies being the new name of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Holdings Ltd (³cHGST³d), a subsidiary of the (...)

Olivier Billard Horizontal effects – Commitments: The French Competition Authority clears a merger leading to a monopoly situation, once reassured by market specificities and specific commitments on quality (Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel/L’Est Républicain)

813

Aut. conc. dec. no. 11-DCC-114 of 12 July 2011 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control of the l’Est Républicain group by Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel By a decision of 12 July 2011, the French Competition Authority authorised, subject to the implementation of commitments, the (...)

Olivier Billard Horizontal effects – Commitments: The French Competition Authority authorizes the acquisition of a media company by identifying a regional market that has to be analysed with national policy elements (High Tech Multicanal Group, Media Concorde)

783

Aut. conc. dec. no. 11-DCC-87 of June 10, 2011 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control of Media Concorde SNC by High Tech Multicanal Group It will be recalled that on 16 December 2009, the Competition Authority had issued guidelines on merger control. One of the highlights of those (...)

Olivier Billard Commitments - Action for annulment: The Council of State dismisses an appeal against a conditional clearance decision of the French NCA in the television sector (Métropole Télévision)

1257

CE Sect, 30 December 2010, Métropole Télévision, No. 338197 By judgment of 30 December 2010, the Conseil d’État dismissed the action for annulment brought by Métropole Télévision against the decision of the French Competition Authority (hereinafter "the Authority") No. 10-DCC-11 of 26 January 2010. (...)

Olivier Billard Assessment of the market power of a retail distribution group: The Council of State dismisses two appeals against a decision of the French NCA to authorise, subject to commitments, the acquisition of control over a retailing group and affirms the Authority’s practice of taking franchisees into account to assess the market power of the retailing group (Bric’Oleron, Mr Bricolage)

826

CE Sect, 23 December 2010, Sarl Bric’Oleron, n°338594 and Mr Bricolage n°337533 On 12 January 2010, the Competition Authority authorised, subject to the implementation of commitments, the acquisition of sole control of the Passerelle group by the Mr Bricolage group, both active in the (...)

Olivier Billard Suspension of execution: The Council of State dismisses two claims for suspension of the acquisition of a group for lack of urgency and specifies that a company that has submitted commitments before the Authority cannot claim that the execution of the merger would cause an immediate prejudice (Sarl Bric’Oléron, Mr Bricolage)

1237

CE (ord.), 26 May 2010, Sarl Bric’Oléron, No. 338595; against Aut. conc. dec. No. 10-DCC-01 of 12 January 2010 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control by Mr. Bricolage of Passerelle Passerelle CE (ord.), 26 May 2010, Mr Bricolage, No. 338596; against Aut. conc., Dec. No. 10-DCC-01 of 12 (...)

Olivier Billard Suspension of execution: The Council of State dismisses a claim for suspension of a conditional clearance decision in the television sector for lack of urgency (Métropole Télévision, TF1, NT1, Monte-Carlo Participations, groupe AB)

1099

CE (ord.), 22 April 2010, Métropole Télévision, No. 338198; against Aut. conc., Dec. No. 10-DCC-11 of 26 January 2010 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control by the TF1 group of the companies NT1 and Monte-Carlo Participations (AB group) By order of 22 April 2010, the Conseil d’État (...)

Olivier Billard Authorization of concentration: The French Competition Authority issued its first Phase II decision and cleared a transaction in the television sector subject to commitments (TF1/NT1 and Monte-Carlo Participations)

1800

Aut. conc. dec. no. 10-DCC-11 of 26 January 2010 relating to the acquisition of exclusive control by the TF1 group of NT1 and Monte-Carlo Participations (AB group) In July 2009, TF1 notified the Competition Authority (hereinafter ’the Authority’) of its proposed acquisition of sole control of (...)

Olivier Billard Notion of control - Distribution agreements: The French Competition Authority provides useful comments on the concept of control resulting from distribution contracts, in the context of the creation of a joint-venture between two groups specializing in inexpensive ready-to-wear clothing (Veti/Kiabi)

2719

Concording Aut. conc. dec. no. 09-DCC-23 of July 23, 2009 relating to the change of signage of points of sale under the Veti banner to the Kiabi banner The Competition Authority considers that the transaction consisting, for a network of sales outlets operating under the Veti brand, in (...)

Olivier Billard Competences - Reg. 139/2004: The European Commission assesses the implementation of the mechanisms used for the allocation of cases either to the Commission or to National Competition Authorities since Merger Regulation N° 139/2004

2237

Communication from the Commission to the Council, Report on the functioning of Regulation 139/2004, COM(2009)281 final, SEC(2009)808, 18 June 2009 Concerned about the effectiveness of the merger control rules, the Commission questioned the national competition authorities on 26 June 2008 on (...)

Send a message