Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)

Valérie Lefever

Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Associate

Valérie Lefever is a senior associate in the Brussels office of Van Bael & Bellis. She is specialised in EU and Belgian competition law, with a focus on EU regulatory law. Before joining Van Bael & Bellis, Valérie worked for three years in the competition law department of a magic circle firm. She was also an assistant at the University of Namur in the fields of European law, competition law and electronic communications law. Additionally, Valérie did a traineeship in the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission (Unit E2 - antitrust - consumer goods, basic industries, agriculture and manufacturing sectors). Valérie regularly advises clients on a wide range of competition law issues, including anti- competitive agreements and concerted practices, abuse of dominance, merger control and public procurement matters. She has significant experience in distribution networks and vertical restraints. She represents clients both before the competition authorities and before the courts. Valérie has particular expertise in the energy, telecommunications and media sectors. Valérie also has extensive experience with fast moving consumer goods.

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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)

Articles

5249 Bulletin

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The EU Court of Justice AG Bobek proposes to include protected legal interests within the threefold conditions for the ne bis in idem principle thereby allowing the Belgian Competition Authority to pursue a fine against a postal incumbent which had already been fined by its sectoral regulator (bpost / Nordzuck)

587

On 2 September 2021, Advocate General (AG) Bobek delivered his opinion in case C-117/20, bpost SA v. Autorité belge de la Concurrence, on the conditions of application of the ne bis in idem principle, pursuant to which one cannot be tried or punished for an infringement for which one has already (...)

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The EU Commission opens infringement proceedings against 12 Member States for failure to transpose the EU Directive prohibiting unfair trading practices in the agri-food sector

167

On 27 July 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) opened an infringement procedure against Belgium and eleven other EU Member States for failure to implement Directive (EU) 2019/633 of 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural (...)

Andrzej Kmiecik, Andreas Reindl, Valérie Lefever, Margot Vogels The EU Commission publishes the draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and draft revised Guidelines on Vertical Restraints

259

On 9 July 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published the draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“Draft VBER”) and draft revised guidelines on vertical restraints (“Draft VGL”), a key step in the context of the revision of the current regime governing vertical agreements, set (...)

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger between three Brussels-based hospitals to form one group (Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles / Institut Jules Bordet / Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola)

149

On 30 June 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) cleared a merger between three Brussels-based hospitals: (i) Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles - Hôpital Erasme / Universitaire Klinieken Brussel - Erasmusziekenhuis; (...)

Peter L’Ecluse, Valérie Lefever The Brussels Court of Appeal suspends a Competition Authority’s decision that found an infringement and accepted commitments (Caudalie)

228

On 30 June 2021, the Markets Court (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) of the Court of Appeal of Brussels (Hof van Beroep te Brussel / Cour d’appel de Bruxelles) suspended commitments made binding by the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence (...)

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The Belgian Government approves a draft bill that will implement the Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain

179

On Friday 4 June 2021, the Federal Council of Ministers (Ministerraad / Conseil des Ministres) approved a draft bill that will implement Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain. The bill is now being (...)

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The Belgian Competition Authority unconditionally clears the acquisition of mobile telecommunications operator by its competitor (Mobile Vikings / Proximus)

141

On 31 May 2021, the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) unconditionally cleared the acquisition of mobile telecommunications operator Mobile Vikings (...)

Valérie Lefever, Peter L’Ecluse The Belgian Competition Authority imposes a fine on the professional organization of pharmacists on account of an anticompetitive agreement (Ordre des pharmaciens / Orde der Apothekers)

221

On 26 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) announced that its Privileged and Confidential Attorney – Client Communication Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la Concurrence) had imposed a fine of (...)

Peter L’Ecluse, Valérie Lefever The EU Court of Justice states that the fee structure for music played at festivals adopted by a collecting society is not necessarily abusive (SABAM)

116

On 25 November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) delivered a judgment in case C-372/19 holding that the fee structure for music played at festivals adopted by collecting societies such as SABAM is not necessarily abusive under Article 102 TFEU. The case had come before (...)

Peter L’Ecluse, Valérie Lefever The Brussels Court of Appeal annuls the Competition Authority’s decision rejecting a football club’s request for interim measures (Virton / RBFA)

553

In a judgment delivered on 19 November 2020, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) (the Markets Court) annulled the decision adopted on 29 June 2020 by the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition (...)

Peter L’Ecluse, Valérie Lefever The EU Commission opens an in-depth State aid investigation into the authorization granted by Belgium to a gambling company to operate virtual betting (Ladbrokes)

69

On 23 October 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published a notice (the Notice) inviting interested third parties to comment on the authorisation granted by Belgium to Derby NV, a local subsidiary of the betting and gambling company Ladbrokes PLC and operating in Belgium under the (...)

Peter L’Ecluse, Valérie Lefever The Brussels Court of Appeal partially annuls a decision imposing a record fine on a telecommunications company for a margin squeeze abuse of dominance (Proximus)

201

On 7 October 2020, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) (the Markets Court) partially annulled the decision of 26 May 2009 (the 2009 Decision), for lack of admissible evidence, by which the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische (...)

Valérie Lefever, Charlotte de Meeûs, Vincent Reijns The Belgian Competition Authority adopts fining guidelines which extend the scope to include the sanction for abuse of economic dependency

160

On 3 September 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority adopted new guidelines on the method of setting fines for competition law infringements (the “Fining Guidelines”). The Fining Guidelines were published in the Belgian Official Journal on 16 September 2020 and entered into force immediately. (...)

4016 Review

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments : The General Court of the European Union finds that a letter and e-mails from the European Commission interpreting commitments previously made binding do not constitute measures against which an action for annulment may be brought under Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1&1 Telecom ; Multiconnect ; Mass Response Service)

302

On 9 October 2018, the Court of First Instance of the European Union (the "CFI") declared inadmissible the actions brought by three companies against four e-mails and one letter from the Commission concerning the commitments made binding in the context of the decision of 2 July 2014 authorising (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Exclusive control: The European Commission authorises a multi-national conglomerate operating in the telecommunications sector to takeover the exclusive control of a joint venture it previously had joint control on, subject to assume full responsibility for complying with the commitments submitted when the European Commission authorised the creation of the joint venture (Hutchison / Wind Tre)

257

On 31 August 2018, the European Commission authorised Hutchison to acquire sole control of Wind Tre, previously jointly controlled by Hutchison and VEON, on condition that Hutchison would resume compliance with the commitments that were a condition for the authorisation of the joint venture in (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Telecommunications: The European Commission authorizes a mobile service telecommunications provider to take over a fix telecommunications service provider in Austria, considering that there activities differ both and as a result are not closely competing (T-Mobile Austria / UPC Austria)

94

On 9 July 2018, following a preliminary examination ("Phase I"), the European Commission approved the acquisition of UPC Austria by T-Mobile Austria. Both companies provide telecommunications services in Austria. UPC offers mainly fixed services (with, however, limited activities as a mobile (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Standstill obligation: The Court of Justice of the European Union recalls that a merger is only subject to notification when there is a change of control of the targeted undertaking, with the result that a cooperation agreement may be denounced before the notification of the operation and before it’s clearance by competition authorities (EY / KPMG)

1106

On 31 May 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the "Court") had the opportunity to clarify the scope of the standstill obligation included in Article 7(1) of Regulation 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings, i.e. the prohibition to (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Gun jumping: The European Commission imposes a fine of EUR 125,5 million to a multinational cable and telecommunications company based in the Netherlands for implementing its acquisition of the Portuguese telecommunications operator before notification or approval by the European Commission (Altice / PT Portugal)

285

On April 24, 2018, the European Commission announced that it had imposed a fine of €124.5 million on the Dutch group Altice for having acquired the Portuguese telecommunications and multimedia operator PT Portugal prior to the notification of this concentration and its clearance by the European (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Duty to state reasons: The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission decision clearing the acquisition of a Dutch cable operator by an international group of telecommunications for failure to state adequate reasons (KPN)

212

On October 26, 2017, the Court of First Instance of the European Union annulled a 2014 decision by which the European Commission authorized Liberty Global to acquire the Dutch cable operator Ziggo, subject to compliance with commitments. Liberty Global is an international group of cable (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Gun jumping: The General Court of the European Union upholds a Commission decision imposing a EUR 20 million fine on a Norwegian company for implementing a concentration without prior notification or authorisation (Marine Harvest)

377

In a judgment of October 26, 2017, the European Court of First Instance confirmed the European Commission’s decision of July 23, 2014 to impose a fine of €20 million on the Norwegian fish farming company Marine Harvest for having acquired the Norwegian salmon producer Morpol in December 2012 (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments: The European Commission, following an in-depth review, clears a merger between two American groups active in crop protection and seeds, subject to structural commitments aiming at maintaining price competition and innovation for pesticides (Dow / DuPont)

220

On 27 March 2017, following an in-depth Phase II review, the European Commission cleared the merger between the US groups Dow and DuPont, subject to compliance with commitments made by the parties. Dow is the parent company of the eponymous American group. It is active in the plastics, (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments : The European Commission authorises takeover of a social network operator by a manufacturer of management software solutions, subject to conditions aiming at preserving competition between professional social networks (Microsoft / LinkedIn)

249

The European Commission has conditionally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of the LinkedIn professional social network. The conditions attached to this clearance were linked to the Commission’s concerns that the transaction would allow Microsoft to use the strong position of its Windows product (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Shipping consortium: The European Commission approves container liner shipping merger, providing that the target company withdraws its participation from a consortium on the trade routes between Northern Europe and North America (Hapag-Lloyd / UASC)

260

The European Commission has authorised the container liner shipping company Hapag-Lloyd to acquire one of its competitors, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), on condition that UASC withdraws from the NEU1 consortium. Consortia, or alliances, are co-operative agreements between maritime (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Joint Venture : The European Commission clears a merger between mobile network operators in Italy providing that they allow a fourth operator to join the market (Hutchison 3G Italy / WIND / JV)

226

After an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has conditionally authorised the telecommunications companies Hutchison and VimpelCom to merge their Italian subsidiaries H3G and WIND into a single joint venture. Both Hutchison and VimpelCom are active in the retail market for mobile (...)

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