Bulletin
Latest News issue: March 2020

Anticompetitive practices

The US State Attorneys General from 33 States and Territories, led by Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Vermont urge online marketplaces to more rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers using their services (Amazon / Facebook / Ebay / Walmart / Craigslist) New
Office of the Attorney General - Pennsylvania
AG Shapiro: Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart, Craigslist Must Stop Site Price Gouging by Online Sellers* HARRISBURG― Attorney General Josh Shapiro today issued a letter with co-leading Attorneys General Hector Balderas, William Tong, and T.J. Donovan, and 29 of their Attorneys General (...)

The US DoJ and FTC announce their aim to respond within one week to COVID-19 collaborative proposals submitted following the agencies’ respective processes New
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The US Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice have announced that they aim to respond within one week to coronavirus (COVID-19) collaborative proposals submitted pursuant to the agencies’ respective processes. In a joint statement issued March 24, (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority takes textbook cartel case to Competition Tribunal for price fixing during the COVID-19 pandemic (T.H. Lee Book Company / Commercial Press / Sino United Publishing / Mr. Hui) New
Hong Kong Competition Commission
The Competition Commission (“Commission”) has today commenced proceedings in the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) against three companies, namely T.H. Lee Book Company Limited, Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Limited and Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Limited (“Companies”); and an individual Mr. (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority is scrutinising competition law compliance and companies taking advantage of consumers by engaging in price fixing and misleading claims about products during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
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Cassels Brock (Toronto)
The Competition Bureau is watching for evidence of companies taking advantage of consumers by making false or misleading claims about a product’s ability to combat COVID-19 or engaging in price fixing, the Commissioner of Competition warned in a recent statement. The Commissioner added that (...)

The UK Government announces measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK government announced on March 19 that as part of a package of measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, elements of competition law will be temporarily relaxed for the food sector. Authorities, however, stressed that (...)

The UK Government and the Competition Authority announce they will formally waive UK competition law for a limited period to allow supermarket retailers to share data with each other on stock levels New
McGuireWoods (London)
All companies are scrambling to respond to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and in various sectors cooperation between competitors is seen as part of the solution. However, cooperation — or in some cases contact or information exchange — between competitors potentially raises (...)

The UK Competition Authority welcomes the Government’s relaxation of competition law for supermarkets during the COVID-19 outbreak and promises no enforcement action against businesses engaging in cooperation to supply essential products and services New
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
COVID-19: CMA approach to essential business cooperation* The CMA is very conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between businesses to deal with the current crisis and ensure security of supplies of essential products and services, such as (...)

The EU Commission vets public statements of Eurocommerce for the non-food retailers to take measures against the major crisis due to COVID-19 New
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
In the world of COVID-19, companies must not quarantine competition law compliance. Competition law will not be at the top of companies’ agendas today. COVID-19 presents companies with many challenges. Companies will be looking for whatever solutions they can find to deal with this crisis. But (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority warns all market participants that it will continue to stay vigilant against anticompetitive practices that exploit the special situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic New
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC assures vigilance of anticompetitive practices that exploit current situation* In times of great collective effort, the AdC wishes to assure that it remains particularly vigilant in its mission. This includes the detection of possible anticompetitive practices that exploit the current (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority declares that companies’ liability will not decrease during the COVID-19 crisis New
Luxembourg Competition Council (Liège)
Coronavirus: the liability of undertakings does not decrease* As the administrative authority responsible for the proper functioning of markets, the Competition Council wants to ensure that companies do not abuse the current situation to the detriment of consumers or their competitors. (...)

The US DOJ warns businesses against price fixing, bid rigging, and market sharing in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of public health products in the face of COVID-19 outbreak New
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Cautions Business Community Against Violating Antitrust Laws in the Manufacturing, Distribution, and Sale of Public Health Products* The Department of Justice today announced its intention to hold accountable anyone who violates the antitrust laws of the United States in (...)

The California, New York and Washington Attorneys General announce their intent to take action against unfair "price gouging" and the US DOJ focuses on public health products during the COVID-19 situation New
Paul Weiss (New York)
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Paul Weiss (New York)
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Paul Weiss (Washington)
State AGs Respond to COVID-19-Related “Price Gouging” and DOJ Antitrust Enforcement to Focus on Public Health Products* The outbreak and continued spread of a new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, has led to surging demand for, and in some cases shortages in the supply of, a wide variety of (...)

The US Washington State Attorney General announces a price gouging investigation in the wake of COVID-19 public health emergency New
Office of the Attorney General - Washington State
AG FERGUSON STATEMENT ON PRICE GOUGING IN PUBLIC-HEALTH EMERGENCY* SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson offers the following statement: “My office is investigating price gouging in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency. We do not identify the targets of our investigations, but we (...)

The Dutch Court of Appeal of Arnhem applies the EU competition law notion of an undertaking in a cartel damage claim procedure (TenneT / Alstom) New
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 26 November 2019 the Court of Appeal of Arnhem ("Court of Appeal") applied the EU competition law notion of an ‘undertaking’ in a cartel damage claim procedure between TenneT and entities belonging to the Alstom group of companies. The Court of Appeal ruled that one of these entities formed a (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines €225,000 the national Order of Pharmacists for limiting the ability of pharmacists to advertise para-pharmaceutical products online (Ordre des Pharmaciens) New
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 15 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed a fine of EUR 225,000 on the national Order of Pharmacists for adopting, maintaining and implementing provisions of its Deontological Code that limit the ability of pharmacists to advertise para-pharmaceutical products, in (...)

The US DOJ and FTC publish a statement on the violation of antitrust laws in connection with the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of public health products during the COVID-19 situation
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
DOJ and FTC To Focus On Antitrust and Consumer Protection Violations Relating to Coronavirus* The rapidly evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is impacting local and global companies, disrupting supply chains, creating volatility in the stock market, and causing great concern in local (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority issues its new regulatory provisions of the leniency and immunity program
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE issues Regulatory Provisions of the Leniency and Immunity Program* The Regulatory Provisions are legally binding and aimed at providing tat providing greater legal certainty on procedures related to the Leniency and Immunity Program Mexico City, March 4, 2020.- The Mexican Federal (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines five companies and five board members or directors involved in a cartel in railway maintenance (Construções / Técnica Ferroviárias / Somafel / Engenharia e Obras Ferroviárias)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC adopts sanctioning decision which concludes proceedings against railway maintenance companies with a total fine of €3.4 M and disqualification of participation in public tenders* The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) today adopted a sanctioning decision that concludes the process (...)

The US DOJ reaches deferred prosecution agreement with pharma company fined a record criminal penalty for a domestic antitrust case (Sandoz)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Major Generic Pharmaceutical Company Admits to Antitrust Crimes: Sandoz Inc. Agrees to Pay a $195 Million Criminal Penalty, the Largest for a Domestic Antitrust Case* Sandoz Inc., a generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in New Jersey, was charged for conspiring to allocate customers, (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its contribution to the competition policy debate in light of the digital economy challenge
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité publishes its contribution to the debate on competition policy and the challenges raised by the digital economy* The Autorité de la concurrence publishes its contribution to the debate on competition policy in light of the challenges arising from the digital economy. It is thus (...)

The EU Commission fines hotel group for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators (Meliá)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines hotel group Meliá €6.7 million for discriminating between customers* The European Commission has fined Spanish hotel group Meliá €6 678 000 for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators. These clauses discriminate consumers within the European (...)

The EU imposes a €6.7 million fine on a Spanish hotel group for restrictions on cross-border sales of hotel accommodations by including discriminatory clauses in its agreements with tour operators (Meliá)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 February 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced its decision to fine Spanish hotel group Meliá € 6,678,000 for including clauses in its agreements with tour operators that discriminated between consumers based on their country of residence. According to the Commission’s (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority opens investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products and conducts dawn raids in the sector (Waste buyers cartel)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM conducts investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is conducting an investigation into a possible buyer cartel involving certain reusable waste products. As part of this investigation, ACM conducted (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority fines polyethylene gloves providers for price coordination and bid-rigging in the health sector (Galeno / Holiday)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions polyethylene gloves providers for coordinating their prices and discounts bids in public procurement in the health sector*  The Commission proved the responsibility of Galeno and Holiday in the execution of absolute monopolistic practices, also known as collusive agreements or (...)

The Latvian Administrative Regional Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision on a prohibited agreement between manufacturers and traders of building materials (Kesko Senukai Latvia / Kurši)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
Court leaves effective a decision of the Competition Council on a prohibited agreement of “Kesko Senukai Latvia” and “Kurši”* The Administrative Regional Court in its judgments of 17 February has rejected applications of AS “Kesko Senukai Latvia” and SIA “Tirdzniecības nams “Kurši”” on cancellation (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority fines $1.3 million for allegedly failing to adequately disclose the full price of tickets in the online ticket seller market (StubHub)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
The Price, the Whole Price and Nothing But the Price: StubHub Pays $1.3 Million Penalty Following Bureau Drip Pricing Probe* The Competition Bureau’s (Bureau) top priority for enforcement and advocacy is currently the digital economy (see, for example, here, here, here, here and here). And for (...)

The Peruvian Competition Authority initiates a proceeding against construction companies and their executives for bid-rigging in the construction sector (Altesa Contratistas Generales)
Peruvian Competition Authority - INDECOPI (Lima)
Indecopi has initiated an administrative sanctioning proceeding against 35 construction companies and 28 of their executives for an alleged liability of participating in bid rigging in 112 public tenders nationwide in the construction sector* The 112 tenders were convened by the Ministry of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a €325,000 fine on an office equipment maker for engaging in online retail price maintenance (Brother)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2020, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (the “UOKIK”) imposed a fine of PLN 1.4 million (approximately € 325,000) on office equipment maker Brother for online retail price maintenance (“RPM”). The UOKIK’s decision explains that, between the years 2010 and 2017, (...)

The Russian Competition Authority analyses the state of competition in the market for seeding soybeans
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS ANALYSED THE STATE OF COMPETITION ON THE MARKET OF SEEDING SOYBEANS* The results show significant dependence of the Russian market on import of the agricultural crop The goal of the survey1 is to analyze dependence of the domestic market on supplies of foreign-developed seed material to (...)

The EU Commission reiterates its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA, the licensor can no longer control the sale of the product (NBCUniversal Media / Comcast)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
The European Commission has reiterated its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA, such licensor can no longer control where, to whom, and in what manner (online/off-line) the products can be sold within the EEA. On 30 January 2020, the (...)

The French Supreme Court overturns a Paris Court of Appeal judgment on the concept of restriction of competition by object in a bank fee cartel case (Banque de France / BPCE / Banque Postale / BNP-Paribas / CIC / HSBC / SG)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 January 2019, the French Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) annulled a judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”) in the bank interchange fee cartel case on the grounds that the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of the concept of “restriction of competition by object” was (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines guitar maker a record-breaking £4.5M for engaging into online retail price maintenance (Fender)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 January 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) fined guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments Europe Limited and its US parent company, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, (“Fender”) £ 4.5 million (approximately € 5.4 million) for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the (...)

The Paris Commercial Court grants interim measures to a large food retailer imposing on one of its suppliers of non-alcoholic beverages to resume its deliveries (Intermarché / Coca-Cola)
BCTG Avocats (Paris)
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BCTG Avocats (Paris)
Following the Coca Cola European Partners’ decision (hereinafter ’Coca-Cola’) to stop delivering its products to ITM Alimentaire International (hereinafter ’ITM’), ITM applied for interim measures before the Paris Commercial Court (hereinafter the “Court”) in early 2020. On January 16th, 2020, the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Turkish Competition Authority announces zero tolerance policy against excessive price increases in the food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak New
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law
The world is clearly going through uncertain times as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In Turkey, although at the moment there are significantly fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Turkey as compared to the Western European countries and the UK, the COVID-19 pandemic outbrea k has also (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority reminds businesses to maintain compliance during the COVID-19 outbreak, including dominant companies avoiding excessive prices and all companies avoiding price fixing New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM’s oversight during the Coronavirus crisis* The current Coronavirus outbreak has far-reaching effects on people and businesses. These are extraordinary times. ACM is closely monitoring economic developments, and is ready to answer any questions about collaborations that companies wish to (...)

The Ukrainian Competition Authority issues recommendations to pharmacies and retailers against excessive prices for masks, examines price hikes for airline tickets, and monitors prices for disinfectants and consumption basket products New
Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
As with other competition authorities, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (the "AMC") is responding promptly during the coronavirus outbreak. On 13 March 2020, the AMC announced that it would investigate any unjustified price hikes for medicines, face masks and other personal health (...)

The Italian Competition Authority investigates online sales platforms for excessive pricing of hand sanitizers and respiratory protection masks in the face of COVID-19 outbreak in the country New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: Coronavirus, the Authority intervenes in the sale of sanitizing products and masks* Today the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (the Italian Antitrust Authority) sent a request for information to the main online sales platforms and other sales sites about the marketing of (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines the collective rights management organisation for abuse of a dominant position (OSA) New
Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
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Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition ("Office") imposed a fine amounting to CZK 10,676,000 on the collective rights management organisation, Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním ("OSA"), for an abuse of a dominant position. The decision has been (...)

The Turkish Administrative Court annuls a Competition Authority’s decision assessing excessive pricing in the online market and provides guidance on the standard of proof to be followed by the Authority (Sahibinden.com) New
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
The standard of proof plays a significant role during the process of the investigations performed within the framework of the competition law. However, no explicit provision regarding the standard of proof which shall be taken as basis in the preliminary and full-fledged investigations carried (...)

The Turkish Administrative Court annuls the fining decision of the Competition Authority because it failed to meet the required standards for establishing a competition law infringement based on excessive pricing (Sahibinden.com) New
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law
This case note analyses Ankara 6th Administrative Court’s (the “Administrative Court”) annulment judgment (18.12.2019; 2019/946 E., 2019/2625 K.) through which the Administrative Court reviewed the Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) decision dated 01.10.2018 and numbered 18-36/584-285, (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for non-compliance with commitments in the funeral insurance market in La Réunion (La Mutualité de la Réunion)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has fined La Mutualité de la Réunion for non-compliance with commitments* In brief The Autorité has imposed a fine of €200,000 on La Mutualité de la Réunion (MR) for failing to comply with part of the commitments it had entered into before the Autorité that aimed to (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority receives a complaint for abuse of dominance in the internet services market (Teksavvy / Bell / Rogers)
Affleck Greene McMurtry (Toronto)
TekSavvy Claims That Bell And Rogers Abuse Their Dominant Position For Internet Services* In a public version of its complaint to the Canadian Competition Commissioner (see below), Internet re-seller TekSavvy says that Bell Canada and Rogers Communications Canada have been abusing their (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the criteria for the "pay-for-delay" agreements in the pharmaceutical sector (Generics - UK)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 30 January 2020 the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) clarified for the first time the criteria governing whether so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements entered into between originator and generic pharmaceutical companies fall foul of EU competition law rules. Such agreements are a form of patent (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that pay-for-delay patent settlements may restrict competition ‘by object’ (Generics - UK)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 January 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) handed down its judgment in Case C-307/18, Generics (UK) and Others. This case marks the first time the ECJ has ruled on patent settlement agree- ments between originator pharmaceutical companies and generic producers. (...)

The Australian Competition Authority launches its first enforcement proceedings under the new ’effects test’ prohibition on misuse of market power (Tasmanian Ports)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
On 6 December 2019, the ACCC launched its first enforcement proceedings under the new ‘effects test’ prohibition on misuse of market power. The proceedings will provide much needed guidance as to how the much-debated ‘effects test’ will apply to unilateral conduct. It is noteworthy that the two (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its final report on customer loyalty schemes with implications for all businesses that collect and use personal information
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
The recommendations in the ACCC’s final report on loyalty schemes have implications for all businesses that collect and use personal information The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the final report and recommendations coming out of its market study into (...)

Mergers

The US FTC provides guidance on COVID-19’s impact on HSR filing timelines New
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
In a prior note we provided guidance on COVID-19’s Impact on HSR Filing Timelines. The Agencies had indicated that early termination would not be granted while FTC operated on a temporary e-filing system. Today, the Agencies have updated that guidance and as of March 30 will again grant early (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines a hospital for gun jumping but accepts payment of fine in multiple installments not to negatively affect the hospital’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic New
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC fines Hospital Particular do Algarve for gun-jumping* The AdC fined Hospital Particular do Algarve, SA (HPA) in the total amount of 155,000 euros for acquiring sole control of Hospital de S. Gonçalo de Lagos S.A. (HSGL) without prior notification of the acquisition and, consequently, (...)

The Danish Competition Authority suspends its time limits for merger review for 14 days as special measure due to COVID-19 New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Time limits for merger control are suspended for 14 days* The Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has issued an order implying that the time limits for merger control are suspended for 14 days. When companies wish to implement a larger merger, the Competition and Consumer (...)

The Irish Competition Authority encourages delay of merger filings and establishes a temporary process for electronic notification of mergers as special measures due to COVID-19 New
McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
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McCann FitzGerald (Brussels)
On 18 March, the CCPC issued a statement encouraging merging parties where possible to delay merger filings until further notice, and establishing a temporary process for electronic notification of mergers. In an effort to ensure business continuity in merger review amid the COVID-19 outbreak, (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority implements measures in line with WHO recommendations against the spread of the COVID-19 New
Mattos Filho Advogados (Sao Paulo)
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Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. & Quiroga (Sao Paulo)
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Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr & Quiroga (New York)
The Brazilian antitrust authority has implemented measures in line with WHO recommendations against the spread of the COVID-19, and activities are being carried out without major impacts, although deadlines in conduct cases are now suspended and delays in certain matters cannot be altogether (...)

The Irish Competition Authority announces temporary changes to the merger notification process due to the COVID-19 outbreak New
Matheson (Dublin)
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Matheson (Dublin)
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“CCPC”) announced on 18 March 2020 temporary measures to assist it in complying with binding statutory deadlines and to ensure business continuity in the review of notified mergers and (...)

The French Competition Authority encourages delay of new mergers, requires electronic submission, and extends processing times as special measures due to COVID-19 New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Adaptation of merger control procedures due to Coronavirus COVID-19* Given the health situation in France, the Autorité de la concurrence is forced to put in place extensive preventive measures. The services of the Autorité are working remotely since 17 March 2020. Time limits for processing (...)

The US DOJ extends its timing of merger investigations by 30 days and allows electronic filing of Hart-Scott-Rodino submissions among special measures due to COVID-19 New
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Announces Antitrust Civil Process Changes for Pendency of COVID-19 Event* Process Changes Will Ensure that the Department Can Carry Out Its Enforcement Mission While Protecting the Health and Safety of Its Employees and the American Public The Department of Justice (...)

The French Competition Authority is not able to guarantee the usual processing delays for mergers since its staff is working remotely during the COVID-19 situation New
Baker Mckenzie (Paris)
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Baker Mckenzie (Paris)
The French government has taken preventive measures due to COVID-19, thereby forcing the members of the French Competition Authority to work remotely since 17 March 2020. This situation is already impacting on merger control: “Although we are striving to ensure continuity of public service, (…) (...)

The Spanish Government updates foreign investment screening regime in light of COVID-19 and prohibits or severely limits foreign acquisition of companies active in sectors related to public order, public security or public health New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The rapid spread of Covid-19 has led to its consideration as a global pandemic. Spain, currently at the epicenter of the crisis, has declared the state of alarm last Sunday. To ease the effects of the Covid-19 crisis in the economy, the Spanish Government approved yesterday Royal Decree-Law (...)

The US Premerger Notification Office implements a temporary e-filing system for submission of HSR filings New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
As a result of developments relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Premerger Notification Office (PNO) of the Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will implement a temporary e-filing system for Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) filings. During this period, all HSR filings must be (...)

The US DoJ announces antitrust civil process changes for pendency of COVID-19 events and confirms that the HSR review process will be significantly impacted New
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
With COVID-19-related closures rolling in daily, you may have questions about the operating status of the federal government’s antitrust enforcement agencies. Currently, the HSR review process does not seem to be significantly impacted, although the agencies will not grant a request for early (...)

The EU Commission encourages companies to delay merger notifications until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak New
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
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Bird & Bird (Belgium)
Challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a major impact on the “business continuity" of courts and regulatory authorities. This affects, in particular, merger control proceedings as these are typically subject to specific time limits that the authorities (...)

The EU Commission encourages delay of merger notifications and electronic submission as special measures due to COVID-19 New
DG COMP (Brussels)
SPECIAL MEASURES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19* DELAY OF MERGER NOTIFICATIONS DG COMP has put in place a number of measures to ensure business continuity in the enforcement of the EU Merger Regulation. However, due to the complexities and disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, companies are (...)

The EU Commission updates its practical guidance to merging parties and encourages companies to delay merger notifications until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak New
O’Melveny & Myers (Hong Kong)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Washington DC)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Brussels)
The European Commission (the “EC”) has updated its practical guidance to merging parties “encouraging companies to delay merger notifications originally planned until further notice, where possible.” The unprecedented move comes in response to the expanding crisis management measures that (...)

The US FTC Premerger Notification Office temporarily institutes mandatory e-filing system as special measure due to COVID-19 New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Premerger Notification Office Implements Temporary e-Filing System* Due to the developing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and consistent with guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, the Premerger Notification Office (PNO) will implement a temporary e-filing system. During this (...)

The US FTC and EU Commission struggle to balance the need for business and the practical challenges for mergers during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
COVID-19 is impacting all sectors of the economy and society, and merger review is no exception. Competition authorities are struggling to balance the need for business continuity and compliance with administrative deadlines on the one hand, with a variety of practical challenges on the other. (...)

The US DoJ and FTC implement policies in response to COVID-19 including new measures to the HSR e-filing system New
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
Last week, in response to the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the antitrust agencies in the United States and European Union issued policies that will affect, and may delay, merger filings and reviews. On March 13, 2020, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Federal Trade (...)

The EU Commission encourages companies to delay merger notifications originally planned until further notice where possible due to COVID-19 New
White & Case (Brussels)
COVID-19 is changing our lives more rapidly and more profoundly than we could have ever imagined. All over the world, governments order their countries into lockdowns, factories stop producing, people stop buying, citizens are confined to their four walls and businesses switch to working (...)

The Czech Competition Authority approves a merger between two competitors in the financial services market (Moneta Money / Wüstenrot) New
Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
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Bird & Bird (Czech Republic)
On 6 February 2020, the Office for the Protection of Competition (the “Authority”) cleared the merger between competitors Moneta Money Bank and WÜSTENROT – stavební spořitelna a.s.. ní banka a.s.. The acquired companies mainly operate in the area of providing financial services relating to building (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority publishes a formal statement revised procedures for merger filings during the COVID-19 crisis New
O’Melveny & Myers (Brussels)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Washington DC)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Hong Kong)
These moves follow similar actions by the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), China’s antitrust authority. On February 6, SAMR issued a formal statement laying out revised procedures for merger filings, prohibiting face-to-face meetings and requiring parties to submit pre-merger (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates on a £5,9 billion merger in the food delivery market (Takeaway / JustEat) New
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) is currently investigating Takeaway.com’s acquisition of UK-listed Just Eat for £5.9 billion (see link). Shares in the combined company, Just Eat Takeaway, started trading on 3 February. However, the CMA’s initial enforcement order prohibits the (...)

The UK Competition Authority Tribunal quashes the CMA’s decision for failing to provide sufficient evidence in order to prove that the acquisitions would result in vertical input foreclosure effects in the communication technology market (Tobii / Smartbox) New
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
In September 2019, the Competition Markets Authority ("CMA") found that Tobii’s acquisition of Smartbox resulted in or may result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK assistive communication technology market and ordered Tobii to divest Smartbox. Tobii consequently appealed the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture between two of the three main telecom companies in the Belgian market (Orange / Proximus) New
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 8 January, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture ("JV") between Orange and Proximus, two of the three main telecom players in the Belgian market. The cooperation between Orange and Proximus relates to the sharing of (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority clears concentration between marinas on the Adriatic coast (Venilia Investments)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA clears concentration between marinas on the Adriatic coast* Venilia Investments is a part of CVC group – a special-purpose vehicle established exclusively for the purposes of this transaction. The implementation of the concentration concerned will produce effects in the provision of marine (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority clears acquisition in the market for student management software for childcare providers (Juice Technologies / APT)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Commission grants clearance for Juice Technologies to acquire APT* The Commerce Commission has granted clearance for Juice Technologies Pty Limited (operating in New Zealand as Infocare Systems Limited) to acquire APT Business Solutions Limited (trading as APT Childcare). In reaching its (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger subject to a structural remedy in the bakery market in La Réunion (Pain Frotté /Kin Siong / Lam Tow / Yong Wai Man)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the takeover, in La Réunion, of the bakery group Pain Frotté by the groups Kin Siong, Lam Tow and Yong Wai Man* The Pain Frotté group operates artisanal bakeries in La Réunion under the trade names “L’Ambassadeur”, “Délicatesses Casta” (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between cinema chains subject to divestitures (CinemaxX / Cinestar)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Vue Group (CinemaxX) can acquire Cinestar cinemas subject to conditions* Bonn, 2. March 2020: The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the merger between the cinema chains CinemaxX and Cinestar subject to the condition that the cinema operators divest cinemas at six different locations to other (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger in the market for manufacturing chocolate and nougat spreads (Krüger Group / Peeters)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Chocolate and nougat spreads – Merger between Krüger Group and Peeters cleared* Bonn, 2 March 2020: The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of the Dutch Peeters group, a manufacturer of chocolate and nougat spreads, by Wilhelm Reuss GmbH, a member of the Krüger Group based in (...)

The US FTC files an administrative complaint alleging that the proposed merger will reduce competition in the hospital sector (Thomas Jefferson / Albert Einstein Healthcare)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Will FTC’s winning record end planned Philadelphia-area hospital merger?* The FTC and State of Pennsylvania on February 28 moved to block the proposed merger of Jefferson Health and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, two leading providers of inpatient general acute care hospital services and (...)

The US FTC updates the notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the HSR Act
Baker McKenzie (Washington D.C.)
Overview The Federal Trade Commission has announced the annual adjustment to notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The revised thresholds will apply to all (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a proposed merger in the raw milk market (Lion Dairy & Drinks / Mengniu)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Mengniu deal to buy Lion Dairy & Drinks not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks Pty Ltd (Lion D&D) by China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd (Mengniu) after closely considering the potential impact on competition. Mengniu is proposing to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a proposed merger in the printing paper market (Direct Paper / Spicers)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Spicers’ Direct Paper acquisition not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Direct Paper by Spicers Limited, finding that alternative suppliers of commercial printing paper and direct supply arrangements between printers and paper mills will continue to provide strong (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves proposed acquisition of joint control in the telecommunications market (Prosegur Alarmas / Telefónica / Prosegur)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of joint control over Prosegur Alarmas by Telefónica and Prosegur* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Prosegur Alarmas by Telefónica and Prosegur. The (...)

The Finnish Market Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to block a merger between grocery wholesalers, making it the first merger ever prohibited in the country (Kesko / Heinon Tukku)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Kesko’s acquisition of Heinon Tukku blocked by the Finnish Market Court* The merger between Finnish grocery wholesalers, Kesko and Heinon Tukku, was prohibited by the Market Court on 17 February 2020. In accordance with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s (FCCA) proposal, the Market (...)

The Philippine Competition Commission publishes the Commission Resolution which adjusts the mandatory notification thresholds under the Philippine Competition Act
Baker McKenzie (Manila)
,
Baker McKenzie (Manila)
Recent Developments On 17 February 2020, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) published PCC Commission Resolution No. 02-2020 dated 11 February 2020 (CR No. 02-2020) on its website, which adjusts the mandatory notification thresholds under the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) and PCA (...)

The Finnish Market Court upholds the Competition Authority’s request to prohibit a proposed acquisition of a grocery wholesaler on the basis that it would become dominant in the market (Kesko / Heinon Tukku)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 February 2020, the Finnish Market Court (the “Court”) upheld the request of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (the “KKV”) to prohibit Kesko’s proposed acquisition of grocery wholesaler Heinon Tukku. The Court’s judgment may be appealed before the Finnish Supreme Administrative (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York clears merger between top third and fourth wireless communications providers with the judge using as main criteria testimony of "reasonable corporate executives" over conflicting economic testimonies which were deemed too static for the dynamic nature of the market at hand (State AGs / T-Mobile / Sprint)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
,
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
,
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
T-Mobile’s Marathon to Acquire Sprint: Five Takeaways from the T-Mobile/Sprint Antitrust Litigation After almost two years of scrutiny by state and federal regulators and an ensuing court battle, T-Mobile US, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) is moving forward with its acquisition of Sprint Corporation (...)

The South African Competition Authority recommends approving the acquisition subject to a number of conditions (PepsiCo / Pioneer)
Nortons (Sandton)
South Africa: PepsiCo acquisition of Pioneer recommended for approval, at a price!* On 11 February 2020, the South African Competition Commission (SACC) recommended that PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods, be approved, subject to a number of conditions. Despite there being no material (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger between two data center companies (InterXion / Digital Reality)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears acquisition of InterXion by Digital Realty* The acquisition of InterXion by data center Digital Realty has been cleared. Both companies commercially exploit data centers in major cities around the world, including Amsterdam. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into a merger in the retail markets for optical products (GrandVision / EssilorLuxottica)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority clears a merger in the pay television transmission services market (Slovenia Broadband / Tele2)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Slovenia Broadband and Tele2 merger approved* In the assessment procedure of the concentration between the undertakings Slovenia Broadband and Tele2 the CCA took into account all relevant facts, the results of the legal and economic analysis and the effects of the vertical concentration on (...)

The US FTC announces its adjustments to the HSR Act threshold and determines which mergers and acquisitions must be reported to the federal government before consummation
Jones Day (Chicago)
,
Jones Day (Washington DC)
,
Jones Day (Washington DC)
This week, the Federal Trade Commission announced its 2020 adjustments to the Hart-Scott-Rodino ("HSR") Act thresholds. These thresholds determine which mergers and acquisitions must be reported to the federal government before consummation. The new thresholds take effect on February 27, and (...)

The US FTC announces that it will raise the HSR Act jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (New York)
Transactions closing on February 27 or later will be subject to increased HSR Act jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 28 that it will raise the Hart­-Scott­-Rodino Act (HSR Act) jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds. Any (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s €947,700 gun-jumping fine imposed on one of Lithuania’s largest agricultural processing companies (Kauno Grūdai)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 January 2020, the Lithuanian Competition Council, Konkurencijos taryba, published a decision of the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholding a € 947,700 gun-jumping fine imposed on Kauno Grūdai, one of Lithuania’s largest agricultural processing companies. Kauno Grūdai acquired 51% (...)

The UK Government provides a withdrawal agreement for the Competition Authority’s merger control during the Brexit transition period and after
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 31 January 2020, at 11pm GMT, the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU and the transition period provided for in Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement started to run. This briefing looks at the provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement that are relevant for merger control, both during the (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes its largest fine for a single breach of an interim enforcement order in a merger (Paypal / iZettle)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 24 September 2019 the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) imposed its largest ever fine for a single breach of an interim enforcement order (IEO) on Paypal, in the context of its acquisition of iZettle. IEOs are now routinely imposed in almost all completed mergers investigated by (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules €1.3 billion Danish scheme that partially compensates the self-employed for the losses of turnover suffered due to the COVID-19 New
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a DKK 10 billion (approximately €1.3 billion) Danish scheme that partially compensates the self-employed for the losses of turnover suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of (...)

The EU Commission approves two separate UK State aid schemes to support SMEs in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak New
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission has approved two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 (...)

The EU Commission approves the Italian State guarantee supporting a debt moratorium from banks to SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak New
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission has approved the Italian State guarantee supporting a debt moratorium from banks to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of (...)

The EU Commission finds Luxembourg’s €300 million scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules New
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission has found Luxembourg’s €300 million scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (...)

The EU Commission finds Latvian loan guarantee scheme and subsidised loan scheme of €250 million for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves state support for €250 million Latvian subsidised loan scheme and loan guarantee scheme for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found Latvian loan guarantee scheme and subsidised loan scheme for companies affected by coronavirus (...)

The EU Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese State aid schemes for small and medium-sized companies and midcaps affected by the COVID-19 outbreak New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €3 billion Portuguese guarantee schemes for SMEs and midcaps affected by Coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found four Portuguese guarantee schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps affected by the Coronavirus outbreak to be (...)

The EU Commission approves a €50 million Italian State aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €50 million Italian support scheme for production and supply of medical equipment and masks during Coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, such as (...)

The EU Commission approves three French State aid schemes in order to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French schemes to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved three French State aid schemes to support the French economy in the context of the Coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were approved under the State aid Temporary (...)

The EU Commission approves a €130 million State aid scheme to help the Danish small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the COVID-19 outbreak New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Danish guarantee scheme for SMEs affected by Coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found a DKK 1 billion (approx. €130 million) Danish guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by Coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU (...)

The EU Commission implements a specific and temporary framework for State aid measures to support the EU economy during the COVID-19 outbreak New
BCTG Avocats (Paris)
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BCTG Avocats (Paris)
,
BCTG Avocats (Paris)
The current health crisis related to the Covid-19 outbreak has forced several Member States of the European Union (hereinafter the “EU”) to take exceptional containment measures of their population which have resulted in a decrease in the companies’ cash flow and in a freeze on their investments. (...)

The EU Commission adopts a Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
On March 19, the Commission adopted a communication (the “Temporary Framework”) setting out a temporary framework for the implementation of less stringent State aid rules in order to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the limited size of the EU budget, most of the (...)

The EU Commission adopts a new Temporary Framework for State aid in the COVID-19 context to support the business suffering New
White & Case (London)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The European Commission has now adopted a Framework of temporary State aid rules enabling Member States to adopt measures to support the growing number of businesses suffering because of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the first time since the 2008 financial crisis that the Commission has (...)

The EU Commissioner Vestager announces a draft proposal for a State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak New
Shearman & Sterling (London)
Member States of the EU and the U.K. are announcing massive support packages for companies affected by the coronavirus crisis. These interventions are on a vast scale. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, the measures we are seeing this week are predominately fiscal rather than monetary policy (...)

The EU Commission encourages delay of merger notifications and electronic submission as special measures due to COVID-19 New
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been declared an exceptional occurrence, paving the way for more and faster approval of national State aid initiatives in the EU. The massive and unprecedented financial impact on the world economy has led to a number of European governments promising (...)

The EU Commission issues a communication recalling the various options for Member States that are within the rules and adopts a Temporary Framework for support measures to help with the effects of COVID-19 in order to prevent unfair distortions of competition and trade within the EU’s internal market New
WilmerHale (Frankfurt)
,
WilmerHale (Brussels)
,
WilmerHale (Brussels)
The COVID-19 crisis is first and foremost a health issue, as governments around the world seek to limit and treat its effects and save lives. However, it is also an immediate economic and social issue, as companies and individuals strive to deal with its effects on their livelihoods—from (...)

The EU Commission adopts a series of measures implementing a flexible approach for approving urgent aid granted by member states to companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak New
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP (Brussels)
,
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP (Brussels)
,
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP (Brussels)
The unique EU State aid control law requires, in principle, prior notification by Member States and approval by the Commission of all State aid. During a time of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, EU law allows for a flexible approach for approving urgent State aid. In this post, we discuss (...)

The EU Commission approves the first COVID-19 related State aid notification submitted by Denmark within 24 hours of the notification to compensate damages caused by cancellations of large public events New
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
As the number of businesses around the EU affected by the COVID-19 outbreak grows, many Member States are considering or have announced substantial supporting packages in an effort to limit the impact of the outbreak on the economy. Across the EU, measures vary, from governmental loans and (...)

The EU Commission approves a COVID-19 related measure aimed at compensating event organisers for losses caused by cancellation New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
Recognizing the serious economic consequences that the COVID-19 crisis may create, on March 12 the Commission approved within 24 hours of notification a COVID-19 related measure in Denmark aimed at compensating event organizers for losses caused by cancellations. Following this initial ad hoc (...)

The EU Commission approves an project to support research and innovation in the battery value chain (IPCEI) New
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
In the beginning of December, the European Commission approved an Important Project of Common European Interest ("IPCEI") to support research and innovation in the battery value chain. The project, which has a funding capacity of up to €3.2 billion, was jointly notified by Belgium, Finland, (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into public service delegation contracts for maritime services which potentially constituting State aid in Corsica (Corsica Linea)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission launches in-depth investigation into public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica* The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to determine whether the public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica awarded (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the regulation mechanism for natural gas storage in France
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: the Commission launches an in-depth investigation into the regulation mechanism for natural gas storage in France* The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation in order to determine whether the regulation mechanism for the storage of natural gas implemented by (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation relating to potential State aid in the Italian airline sector (Alitalia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into €400 million Italian government loan to Alitalia* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Italy’s € 400 million loan granted to Alitalia constitutes State aid and whether it complies with the rules on (...)

The EU Commission approves public funding granted by Romania to an airport as well as the fees payable by all airlines using the airport (Timișoara)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State Aid: Commission clears public support to Timișoara Airport, airport fees and discounts, as well as individual agreements with Wizz Air* The European Commission has cleared the public funding granted by Romania to Timișoara Airport between 2007 and 2009, as well as the fees payable by all (...)

The EU Commission opens public consultations on the prolongation of EU State aid regulations and guidelines for agriculture, forestry, rural areas, fishery and aquaculture
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Commission has opened two public consultations to receive contributions from interested parties on whether to prolong (i) the guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas and (ii) the block exemption regulations for the aforementioned and for fishery (...)

The EU General Court dismisses in its entirety the action made by a company in the potash mines sector and confirms the existence of aid measures (Iberpotash / EU Commission)
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 EU Commission decides that the scheme used for the construction of sustainable irrigation system does not constitute State aid (Bavaria)
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 (...)

Procedures

The EU Commission launches a dedicated website about which EU-wide cooperation initiatives tackling the COVID-19 crisis are compatible with EU competition law New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: The Commission remains committed to providing swift antitrust guidance on cooperation initiatives in view of the coronavirus crisis* Today, the European Commission launched a dedicated website to provide guidance to companies, associations and their legal advisors where there is (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority issues statement on application of Competition Ordinance during COVID-19 outbreak and invites businesses to contact the Authority about their cooperation plans New
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission issues statement on application of Competition Ordinance during COVID-19 outbreak* The Competition Commission (Commission) is aware of the challenges which the outbreak of COVID-19 poses to business operations and the supply of critical goods and services in Hong Kong. (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority clarifies enforcement of the Federal Economic Competition Law during the COVID-19 health emergency New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE’s position for enforcing the Federal Economic Competition Law in light of the current health emergency* Collaboration agreements between economic agents will not be prosecuted as long as they don’t have the objective of displacing competitors and are necessary, given the present context, (...)

The EU Commission issues a general joint statement on the application of competition rules during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Dechert (Paris)
,
Dechert (Brussels)
,
Dechert (Paris)
Key Takeaways Following several individual initiatives by member state competition authorities to temporarily relax competition rules in specific sectors, the European Competition Network (which includes the European Commission and all member state competition authorities) has issued a more (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority clarifies implications of the European Competition Network’s joint statement on competition law during the COVID-19 crisis and announces it will prioritize competition cases related to the pandemic New
Luxembourg Competition Council (Liège)
Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the implications for competition law in Luxembourg - joint action of the "European Competition Network (ECN)"* The "European Competition Network (ECN)" issued a joint statement of the European competition authorities for the uniform application of competition law (...)

The EU Competition Network issues a joint statement on application of competition law during the COVID-19 crisis, including allowing companies cooperation to meet demand, and reminding that excessive pricing will be sanctioned New
European Commission (Brussels)
Antitrust: Joint statement by the European Competition Network (ECN) on application of competition law during the Corona crisis* The ECN is fully aware of the social and economic consequences triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak in the EU/EEA. The different EU/EEA competition instruments have (...)

The EU Competition Network and individual EU Member State publishes statements in response to antitrust enforcement due to the COVID-19 outbreak New
WilmerHale (Brussels)
,
WilmerHale (Brussels)
,
WilmerHale (Brussels)
The European Competition Network of the 27 EU Member State Antitrust Authorities (the ‘ECN’), several individual EU Member State antitrust authorities, the UK’s antitrust authority and Norway’s government have issued statements in response to antitrust enforcement and COVID-19, focusing on three (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a COVID-19 taskforce to ensure compliance in markets affected by the public health emergency and to advise the Government on competition law matters during the outbreak New
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA launches COVID-19 taskforce* The CMA is today launching a taskforce to tackle negative impacts within its remit of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge that has prompted many concerns that businesses might exploit the situation (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority suspends legal timeframes for most procedures due to COVID-19, except for mergers, public tenders, concessions, and permits New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
The Board of Commissioners decrees to stop legal terms for some procedures filed before COFECE* This measure does not apply to procedures for the notification of concentrations, the verification of notifications for concentrations that were legally bound to be presented before the Commission, (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority suspends most procedures in line with the Government’s Royal Decree declaring state of alert, but keeps open the e-services portal for procedures whose parties can prove that delay is against public interest New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
CoVid-19- Announcement from the CNMC on the timelines for administrative procedures* "Additional provision 3 of Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March, declaring the state of alert to manage the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, provides for the suspension of periods and timelines for (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority switches to working remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis New
Luxembourg Competition Council (Liège)
Coronavirus: Update from the Competition Council* Following government instructions and to ensure the safety of all, our teams switched to telecommuting. Be sure that we have taken all necessary measures to maintain our activities and continue to accompany you, without taking unnecessary (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority switches completely to teleworking due to COVID-19 and invites companies to delay all non-urgent mergers New
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 measures* The offices of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) are closed until further notice. All staff members are teleworking and the handling of cases will continue. While we strive to ensure the continuity of public service, the containment measures imposed by the Government (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority issues letter to the Canadian Bar Association regarding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations New
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Letter from the Commissioner to the Canadian Bar Association regarding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic* GATINEAU, March 18, 2020 – Today, the Commissioner of Competition issued an open letter to executive members of the Canadian Bar Association’s Competition Law Section providing information on (...)

The German Competition Authority remains operational amidst COVID-19 outbreak, but asks undertakings to postpone submitting non-urgent cases New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Communication with the Bundeskartellamt (Coronavirus measures)* The Bundeskartellamt’s operating capacity is currently ensured. We will inform you without delay of any limitations that may arise in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. You can contact us as usual by e-mail, phone, or fax, (...)

The Malaysian Competition Authority temporarily closes its offices following the Government’s Movement Restriction Order due to COVID-19 New
Malaysia Competition Commission (Kuala Lumpur)
NOTICE OF TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF MyCC OFFICE* In light of the current situation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia and the recent Movement Restriction Order announced by the Honorable Prime Minister on the 16th of March 2020; the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) will be closing (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority temporarily suspends most business operations and announces an electronic system for submitting merger notifications as special measures due to COVID-19 New
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Corona (Covid-19) Update Further measures by the Austrian Federal Competition Authority 16. March 2020* The AFCA is doing its utmost in the current situation to maintain at least limited business operations, taking into account the current circumstances in terms of organisation, human (...)

The World’s Authorities present steps to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on antitrust related issues that businesses may confront in the coming days of the outbreak New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
I. INTRODUCTION The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented issues for businesses and we recognize that antitrust is unlikely to be your most important concern at this time. However, some forethought may mitigate risk of future exposure, and position your business as well as possible in this (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal rules that cartel damage claims filed by a claim vehicle is not time-barred under Spanish, Finnish and Swedish law in the chemicals market (CDC / Kemira) New
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
,
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 4 February 2020, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (“Court of Appeal”) ruled that cartel damage claims that were filed by claim vehicle CDC against Kemira were not time-barred under Spanish, Finnish and Swedish law. The Court of Appeal also dismissed Kemira’s challenge to the way in which the (...)

The Spanish Provincial Court of Valencia annuls a lower court’s judgment and argues in favour of the principal of personal liability in a claim for damages in a truck cartel case (Man Truck & Bus Iberia) New
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
On 5 December 2019, the Provincial Court of Valencia upheld the appeal lodged by MAN Truck & Bus Iberia S.A. (a Spanish subsidiary of the worldwide truck producer MAN) against the Judgment of a lower court admitting the possibility to claim for damages from the Spanish subsidiary where the (...)

The US FTC and the FDA issue a joint statement and plan seeking to advance biosimilar competition and combat deceptive and anticompetitive practices in the biologic marketplace
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
On February 3, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") issued a joint statement and plan seeking to advance biosimilar competition and combat deceptive and anticompetitive practices in the "biologic marketplace." As discussed below, the FTC and (...)

The German Regional Court of Munich provides a guidance document which sets out how the Court intends to apply a landmark ruling of the EU Court of Justice (Huawei / ZTE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In February 2020, the Regional Court of Munich published a guidance document that sets out how that court intends to apply the landmark ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) in Huawei v. ZTE (Case C-170/13). The ECJ’s ruling provided the practical steps which Standard (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Authority lays its guidances of approach to business cooperation in response to COVID-19 outbreak New
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Introduction The focus of the CMA in the next few months will be to protect UK consumers from the adverse consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to the greatest extent possible. The CMA is conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues guidance on business cooperation during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
New guidance from UK Competition and Markets Authority allows coordination between businesses in certain circumstances, such as to avoid shortages, protect the public interest, and safeguard health, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the guidance also underscores that the UK (...)

The US DoJ and FTC issue a joint statement to outline that they are monitoring markets behaviour during the global health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak New
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (New York)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has, at least temporarily, reshaped the way that many companies do business. Nevertheless, companies must continue to be vigilant about compliance with the antitrust laws and understand that the U.S. antitrust agencies will continue to scrutinize their behavior (...)

The US DoJ and FTC jointly announce an expedited process to review proposed competitor collaborations specifically related to COVID-19 New
Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Washington)
Efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic or to respond to related supply shocks or other collateral consequences may give companies reason to collaborate with competitors in ways that could benefit the public, but which involve antitrust risk. In order to facilitate procompetitive (...)

The US DoJ and FTC issue a joint statement detailing antitrust procedures and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses that work to protect the health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak New
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
On Tuesday, March 24, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint statement “detailing an expedited antitrust procedure and providing guidance for collaborations of businesses working to protect the health and safety of Americans during the COVID-19 (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority announces it will not apply the Competition Act to cooperations between undertakings needed to ensure adequate supply of goods to consumers during COVID-19 pandemic New
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus to affect the application of the Finnish Competition Act* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) will take into account the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus when applying the Competition Act. During (...)

The Icelandic Competition Authority opens an information center as a response to the antitrust challenges posed by the current COVID-19 outbreak New
Icelandic Competition Authority
On account of the COVID-19, consumers and businesses are confronted with unprecedented challenges. In response to these challenges, the Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an information center where the following issues are addressed. 1- Exemptions from the ban to cooperate (...)

The New Zealand Government asks the Competition Authority to allow cooperation among businesses necessary to provide grocery products and other essential goods to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic New
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19 The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks. “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority allows banks to cooperate on a small business relief package in the face of COVID-19 outbreak New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Australian Banking Association small business relief package* The ACCC has provided urgent interim authorisation to allow the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and banks to work together to implement a small business relief package. The package will allow for the deferral of principal and (...)

The Norwegian Government grants the transportation sector a 3-month temporary exception from the Competition Act as special measure due to COVID-19 New
Norwegian Competition Authority
Transportation sector is granted temporary exception from the Competition Act* Following the corona epidemic, the Norwegian government has as of today granted the transportation sector a three months temporary exception from the prohibition against anticompetitive agreements and practices in (...)

The South African Ministry of Trade and Industry grants block exemptions to the healthcare sector in an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 New
Hogan Lovells (Johannesburg)
Acting swiftly to try to contain the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa, on 15 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster. Now the government has gone further - on 19 March 2020 regulations issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry (the "Regulations") were (...)

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry issues regulations to curb the spread of panic buying and price hikes amidst COVID-19 fears New
Hogan Lovells (Johannesburg)
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster on 15 March 2020 in a proactive attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. In line with this proactive response to the global pandemic, on Thursday 19 March 2020 the Minister of Trade and Industry (the "Minister"), Mr (...)

The EU Commission confirms the EU Parliaments and Council’s procurement directive to answer the question of COVID-19 may affect the use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication and amending contracts during their term New
Bird & Bird (Finland)
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Bird & Bird (Finland)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has in a short time driven the whole world into a state of emergency. The pandemic may cause situations for which contracting authorities cannot have prepared for in advance. In this article, we will look at the question of how COVID-19 may affect the use of the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches a public consultation to develop a comprehensive guide on antitrust compliance programs New
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
On 3 February 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (the "CNMC") launched a public consultation with the aim of developing a comprehensive guide on antitrust compliance programs. The consultation essentially focuses on what constitutes an effective compliance program. Regulators, companies, (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a public consultation to prepare a new opinion on the freedom of establishment of lawyers at the French State Council and the National Supreme Court
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Public consultation - Lawyers at the Conseil d’État (French Administrative Supreme Court) and the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court)* The Autorité de la concurrence has launched a public consultation with a view to preparing a new opinion on the freedom of establishment of these (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases draft guidance on its approach to unbundling fibre services from local fibre companies on acceptable terms and prices for broadband retailers
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Draft guidance released on Commission’s approach to unbundled fibre* The Commerce Commission has released draft guidance to help the telecommunications industry understand its approach to monitoring and enforcing obligations on Chorus and the other local fibre companies (LFCs) to allow (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces its compliance and enforcement policy and priorities for 2020
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Melbourne)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
Beliefs in markets and consumer protection guide the ACCC’s investigations and enforcement actions At an event hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Sydney on Tuesday, Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), announced the (...)

The Indian Government proposes to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs amendments to the Competition Bill and invites public to submit their comments online
Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
Ten years of enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) necessitated a re-look drawing “from past experience and to prepare for future challenges in the enforcement of competition law framework in India.” Recognising this, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) set up the Competition Law (...)

The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs notifies the draft Competition Bill 2020 which reflects the recommendations made by the Competition Law review committee
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Last week, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) notified the Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill 2020 (Draft Bill). The proposed changes reflect recommendations made by the Competition Law Review Committee (CLRC) in July 2019. Public comments may be made until 6 March 2020. The 49 page Draft (...)

The Italian and Brazilian Competition Authorities sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening cooperation between the authorities in competition law matters
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2020, the Italian and Brazilian competition authorities signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (the “Memorandum”) aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two authorities and at increasing their capacity to deal with market failures, anticompetitive practices and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority and the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data publish a joint investigative report on big data
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 February 2020, the Italian Competition Authority, the Authority for Communications Guarantees and the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (together the “Authorities”) published a joint investigative report on big data (the “Report”). The Report is based on a one-year survey carried (...)

The South African Competition Authority publishes Draft Guidelines for the automotive aftermarket industry
Baker McKenzie (Johannesburg)
On 17 February 2020, the Competition Commission (Commission) released a media statement announcing that it has published Draft Guidelines for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry (Guidelines). The Automotive Aftermarket Industry is the market for motor vehicle spare parts, tools and components (...)

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy issues an update on the reform of German competition law
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published an update of its draft 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (the “ARC”), officially called the “ARC Digitization Act”. Compared to the initial draft (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a new study on behavioural remedies in competition law
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 January 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published a new study on behavioural remedies in competition law. The study is available on the FCA’s web- site in both French and English. The assessment was carried out by comparing behavioural commitments to structural commitments (...)

The Japanese FTC amends the guidelines on the application of the antimonopoly act concerning review of business combination and the policies concerning procedures of review of business combination
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
The Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") amended the "Guidelines to Application of the Antimonopoly Act Concerning Review of Business Combination" ("Guidelines") and the "Policies Concerning Procedures of Review of Business Combination" ("Policies") on December 17, 2019. The Guidelines were (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes alongside the German Competition Authority a report on algorithms and competition
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
THE AUTORITÉ DE LA CONCURRENCE AND BUNDESKARTELLAMT REPORT ON “ALGORITHMS AND COMPETITION”* I. Introduction Algorithms may raise competition concerns especially when assessing collusive practices. Very often, the term “algorithm” is used improperly. When we imagine the cartels of the future, we (...)

Public sector

The UK Government issues guidance on using public procurement policy to respond to the COVID-19 emergency situation New
University of Bristol - Law School
EXTREME EMERGENCY PROCUREMENT AND COVID-19 — RE TODAY’S UK GUIDANCE* The UK Government has issued guidance on using public procurement to respond to the COVID-19 emergency earlier today (see PPN 1/20). This follows other EU countries’ introduction of emergency legislation and guidance on the same (...)

The UK Cabinet Office publishes a Procurement Policy note in response to the COVID-19 impact on the supply of goods, services and works to the public sector New
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
Clearly the spread of COVID-19 and the measures imposed by the Government will have a significant impact on the supply of goods, services and works to the public sector. Supplies and services may be required urgently and/or existing procurement processes may be delayed to accommodate issues (...)

The UK Government publishes a Procurement Policy Note which sets out guidelines to contracting authorities on responding to the impact of COVID-19 when carrying out regulated procurement activities New
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Introduction In the light of the global outbreak of Covid-19, contracting authorities will need to procure goods, services and works in truly exceptional circumstances and, potentially, their requirements will be extremely urgent. Therefore, contracting authorities may have legitimate reasons (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority publishes a report analysis on the number of bidders and the level of litigation in Swedish public procurement
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
A new research report analyses the number of bidders and the level of litigation in Swedish public procurement* The focus of the report is to identify key determinants of competition and litigation in Swedish public procurement and provide some guidelines to support the contracting authorities (...)

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