Latest News issue: January 2020 - II

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority fines seven wholesalers of plant protection products and their responsible employees for agreeing on price lists, discounts and some individual sales prices (AGRAVIS Raiffeisen / AGRO Agrargroßhandel / BayWa / Betriebsmittel Service Logistik / Getreide / Raiffeisen Waren / Kassel / ZG Raiffeisen) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Wholesalers of plant protection products fined for anti-competitive agreements on price lists, discounts and individual prices* Bonn, 13 January 2020: The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling 154.6 million euros on seven wholesalers of plant protection products and their responsible (...)

The Danish High Court fines two companies for bid rigging in the construction sector (Jorton / H. Skjøde Knudsen) New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
THE HIGHT COURT FINES TWO CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES FOR BID RIGGING * The High Court has fined the construction companies Jorton A/S and H. Skjøde Knudsen A/S respectively DKK 3,000,000 (€ 401,442) and DKK 267,628 (€ XXX) for bid rigging. Two members of the managements were fined respectively DKK (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines over €30 million the main companies in the private security sector for bid-rigging (Allsystem / Coopservice / Italpol / IVRI / Sicuritalia) New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
I821 - ICA: tenders for security services. Fine of over 30 million euros for an agreement restricting competition* The Italian Antitrust Authority has closed an investigation finding an anticompetitive agreement between the main companies in the private security sector, Allsystem, Coopservice, (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that a public body indirectly affected by a cartel can claim compensation for losses resulting from an antitrust infringement (Otis) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 December 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) delivered a judgment on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Austrian Supreme Court (C-435/18, Otis and Others v. Land Oberösterreich and Others). The request was made in the context of a compensation claim brought by (...)

The German Competition Authority fines steel manufacturers for collusion and exchange of sensitive information (ThyssenKrupp) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) dated 12 December 2019, the FCO fined steel manufacturers ThyssenKrupp, Ilsenburger Grobblech and Voestalpine Grobblech, as well as three individuals, a total amount of approximately € 646 million for exchanging sensitive (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues preliminary injunction against the use of exclusivity provisions in vertical agreements by the owner of a training aggregator app (Bruce) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 December 2019, the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) issued a preliminary injunction against IM WITH BRUCE (“Bruce”), the owner of a so-called “training aggregator” app which offers subscribers access to a variety of fitness studios, prohibiting Bruce from using exclusivity provisions in its (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines alarm system distributors over €1.5 million for anticompetitive agreements (Paradox) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) fined a supplier of security alarm systems, Paradox Security Systems (“Paradox”), registered in the Bahamas, and two of its Hungarian distributors, Power Biztonságtechnikai Kereskedelmi Kft (“Power”) and Trióda Biztonságtechnika Zrt (“Trióda”), approximately (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation in the battery lead recovery sector New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
I838 - Antitrust: investigation launched into an anti-competitive arrangement in the battery lead recovery sector* On 3 December 2019, the Italian Competition Authority opened an investigation against COBAT RIPA, COBAT, Fiamm Energy Technology S.p.A., Clarios Italia S.r.l., Eco-bat S.r.l., (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals brought by three manufacturers of power cables in a cartel case (Power cables cartel) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice”) dismissed in their entirety the appeals brought by LS Cable, Brugg Kabel and VISCAS (together with its parent company Furukawa), three manufacturers of power cables, against the judgment of the General Court which had upheld the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a company for anticompetitive restrictions in contracts concluded with authorised repairers of gas boilers (Vaillant) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) imposed total fines of € 859,763 on several companies in the Vaillant Group, suppliers and repairers of gas boilers, for a breach of Article 1 of the Spanish Competition Act for anticompetitive restrictions in contracts concluded with (...)

The German Competition Authority fines car makers for steel purchasing cartel (BMW / Daimler / Volkswagen) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) dated 21 November 2019, car manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were fined a total amount of approximately € 100 million for their involvement in a steel purchasing cartel between 2004 and 2013. The anticompetitive (...)

The China State Administration for Market Regulation publishes a draft to incentivise whistle blowing and reward measures for complaints against significant illegal conduct in the regulation field New
Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
COMPETITION LAW WHISTLE-BLOWING TO PAY OFF IN CHINA ?* As the number of leniency applications is down globally and competition authorities are struggling to find alternative sources of supply for antitrust complaints, China has circulated a draft rule to financially incentivise employee (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €77 million on two national leading TV channel operators for restricting other channels’ abilities to compete for advertising revenue (Mediaset / Atresmedia) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) fined Spain’s two leading TV channel operators Mediaset and Atresmedia a total of € 77 million for imposing single-branding obligations in their agreements with television advertisers. The CNMC concluded that the two TV channel (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority announces the initiation of investigations in diverse oil markets New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
The probes will be carried out in the gasoline and diesel markets, as well as the aviation fuel for national territory.* Today, the Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE or Commission) Investigative Authority published in the Federal Official Gazette and on its website, three (...)

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies the principles governing competition damages and reiterates that judges must base their decisions on the evidence before them by exclusively focusing on the loss of the claimant (BritNed / ABB) New
Case Associates (London)
The Court of Appeal in BritNed v ABB [2019] EWCA Civ 1840 has again had to clarify the principles governing competition damages. It reaffirmed the English High Court’s rejection of the claimant’s approach to damages but took issue with the trial judge’s position that damages should err on the side (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Israeli Commissioner of Competition fines a company for abuse of its monopoly status, unreasonable refusal to supply and for the violation of merger conditions in the soft drink market (Coca Cola) New
Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA)
THE COMMISSIONER OF COMPETITION FINED COCA COLA ISRAEL APPROXIMATELY NIS 39 MILLION:* The Commissioner of Competition decided today (Tuesday) to impose a monetary sanction of approximately NIS 39 Million on the Central Company for Sales and Distribution, for abusing its monopoly status, for (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abusing its dominant position in the online search advertising market (Google) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 December 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) announced that it had imposed a € 150 million fine on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for search advertising. This is the fourth antitrust fine imposed on Google by a competition authority of the EU in less than (...)

The City Court of Copenhagen imposes a fine to an ambulance service company for abusing of its dominant position by excluding its competitors through the adoption of exclusion strategies (Falck / BIOs) New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
FINE OF DKK 30 MILLION TO FALCK* The City Court of Copenhagen has imposed a fine of DKK 30 million to the ambulance service company Falck Danmark A/S for abuse of dominant position. Falck abused its dominant position by excluding its competitor BIOS from ambulance services in the Region of (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority imposes a fine of €342,221.35 on an undertaking for abusing its dominant position in the market of producing and presenting theatrical performances (CPC / THOC) New
Trojan Economics (Nicosia)
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Introduction On 27th August 2019 the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (“CPC”) issued a decision imposing a fine of €342,221.35 to the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (“THOC”) for a violation of Section 6(1) of the Protection of Competition Law (Law 13(I)/2008), as amended (“Law”). (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority imposes a fine to an undertaking for having abused of its dominance in the market of balancing energy of renewables (NEK / BCPA) New
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
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Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
THE BULGARIAN NATIONAL ELECTRICITY COMPANY SANCTIONED FOR ABUSE OF DOMINANCE ON THE MARKET OF BALANCING ENERGY OF RENEWABLES* The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (“BCPC”) imposed a fine amounting to BGN 315 612 the National Electricity Company EAD (“NEK”) for abuse of dominance (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the newspaper market (Groupe Nice Matin / NJJ) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Groupe Nice Matin by NJJ, controlled by Xavier Niel* The Autorité de la concurrence examined the acquisition of sole control of the Nice Matin newspaper group (GNM), which publishes the Nice-Matin, Var-Matin and Monaco-Matin newspapers, by (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measure suspending the implementation of the shareholders agreement and the radio access network sharing agreement in the telecommunications market (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus) New
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on Orange and Proximus in respect of the joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has at the request of Telenet Group NV and Telenet BVBA (Telenet) imposed on 8 January 2020 an (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the pharmaceutical sector (AbbVie / Allergan) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Allergan by AbbVie. The approval is conditional on the divestment of a product under development by Allergan to (...)

The UK Competition Authority cancels its phase II investigation following an abandon merger in the DNA sequencing systems market (Illumina / PacBio) New
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Illumina/PacBio abandon merger* Illumina has abandoned its anticipated $1.2 billion takeover of PacBio after an in-depth CMA merger probe highlighted serious competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has therefore today confirmed that it will be cancelling its Phase 2 (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority identifies anticompetitive risks into a joint venture of port towage in which the companies later decided to dissolve (Svitzer / Iskes) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
JOINT VENTURE PORT TOWAGE AMSTERDAM TO BE DISSOLVED, FOLLOWING AN INVESTIGATION OF ACM* Joint ventures cannot be used for circumventing competition rules. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) investigated the joint venture Port Towage Amsterdam (PTA). This joint venture (...)

The Canadian Commissioner of Competition files an application with the Competition Tribunal challenging the acquisition by an undertaking of a primary grain elevator (P&H / Virden Elevator / Louis Dreyfus) New
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
HE KNOWS WHEN YOU’VE BEEN NAUGHTY: CANADA’S COMPETITION COMMISSIONER DELIVERS LUMPS OF COAL TO MERGING PARTIES* In his own version of the pre-holiday rush, the Canadian Commissioner of Competition challenged one merger transaction just before the Christmas holidays and entered into a consent (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the cash handling services sector (Ziemann / Loomis) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 December 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibited Loomis’ proposed acquisition of its competitor, Ziemann Sicherheit Holding (“Ziemann”). Loomis and Ziemann are both cash handling service providers. The proposed concentration would have affected the provision of cash to banks (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the natural gas distribution market (AcegasApsAmga / Ascopiave) New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
Antitrust: The acquisition of control of the business units of AcegasApsAmga S.p.A. by Ascopiave S.p.A. authorized with conditions* On 19 November 2019, the Italian Antitrust Authority authorized, with remedies, the acquisition of control of the business units of AcegasApsAmga S.p.A. by (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the market for semi-submersible accommodation vessels as it would reduce competition in terms of prices, quality and innovation (Prosafe) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 October 2019, the Norwegian Competition Authority (“NCO”) prohibited Prosafe, the leading global producer of semi-submersible accommodation vessels, from acquiring competitor Floatel. Prosafe is Norwegian, whereas Floatel is based in Bermuda and Sweden. Semi-submersible accommodation (...)

Procedures

The US District Court of Arizona receives a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the FTC’s administrative process in merger review (Axon / FTC) New
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
AXON SUES FTC OVER USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION IN MERGER INVESTIGATIONS * On January 3, 2020, Axon Enterprises Inc. filed a complaint against the Federal Trade Commission in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the constitutionality of the FTC’s (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority assists the French Competition Authority in the dawn raids of a Dutch company in order to dismantle a cartel in the selling of apple sauce (Coroos) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM AND THE FRENCH COMPETITION AUTHORITY HAVE WORKED TOGETHER IN FINING A FRENCH CARTEL* The French competition authority today imposed fines, totalling 58.3 million euros, on seven food companies for concluding anticompetitive arrangements regarding the selling of apple sauce. These companies (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine of €1.84 million against a company for obstructing an on-the-spot inspection (WhatsApp) New
ACTECON (Istanbul)
ACM HAS IMPOSED A FINE OF 1.84 MILLION EUROS FOR DELETING WHATSAPP CHAT CONVERSATIONS DURING A DAWN RAID* Dawn raids may become a nerve-racking experience for companies that are under scrutiny of competition authorities and their employees. During a dawn raid, which is performed without prior (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine of €1.84 million on a company for obstructing and deleting chat conversations during a dawn raid (WhatsApp) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM HAS IMPOSED A FINE OF 1.84 MILLION EUROS FOR DELETING WHATSAPP CHAT CONVERSATIONS DURING A DAWN RAID* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine on a company for obstructing an ACM investigation. During a recent dawn raid, employees of the company under (...)

The Romanian Competition Council updates and enacts new guidelines on the assessement of fines New
Maravela, Popescu & Roman
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Maravela, Popescu & Roman
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Maravela, Popescu & Roman
Introduction Competition authorities at both European and national level develop and update policies regarding the enforcement of competition legislation. Such a policy for the prevention of infringements of competition law rules was recently updated by the Romanian Competition Council (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority initiates a market study on competition law in the Swedish markets for digital platforms New
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
MARKET STUDY OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS* The Swedish Competition Authority is initiating a market study into competition on the markets for digital platforms in Sweden. This includes, for example, digital advertising, food delivery, audiobooks, and digital payment services. The study will illuminate (...)

The US Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit rejects an undertaking’s attempt to assert state-action immunity from antitrust liability in the water services and natural gas distribution sector (City of LaGrange) New
Bona Law (San Diego)
ANTITRUST NEWS: THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT AGREES THAT THE SUPREME COURT’S PHOEBE PUTNEY DECISION REALLY DID CHANGE THE STATE-ACTION-IMMUNITY TEST FROM THE EARLIER HALLIE AND OMNI DECISIONS* The Eleventh Circuit recently rejected the City of LaGrange’s attempt to assert state-action immunity from (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues a study on behavioural remedies in competition law New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence publishes a new study on Behavioural remedies in competition law* In 2018, together with La Documentation française, the Autorité created a new collection, Les Essentiels, to further understanding of competition. After an initial study on loyalty rebates (2018), it (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a study on algorithms and competition New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publication on “Algorithms and Competition“* Bonn, 16 January 2020: As a follow up to its joint study with the French Autorité de la concurrence on Algorithms and Competition the Bundeskartellamt has published a new paper on this theme. The paper appears in the Bundeskartellamt’s (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau announces that agencies and brands involved in influencer marketing have to comply with the Competition Act New
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
INFLUENCER ADVERTISING: COMPETITION BUREAU INCREASES PRESSURE ON BRANDS AND AGENCIES TO COMPLY WITH THE COMPETITION ACT* Practical Law Canada has published a New Legal Update, which discusses the Competition Bureau’s new guidelines for influencer advertising. While the Bureau’s new guidelines (...)

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