August 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The Danish Competition Authority informs that demolition companies and its management members payed fines after they entered into settlement agreements with the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (G. Tscherning / Villy C. Petersen / Brandis)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Demolitions companies and management members pay fines in settlement agreements for bid rigging* Three demolition companies and three management members have entered into settlement agreements with the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for infringing (...)

The Swiss Competition Commission fines a manufacturer of sport products for vertical price fixing with dealers (Stöckli)
Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
Introduction The Swiss Competition Commission (“ComCo”) fined Stöckli Swiss Sports (“Stöckli”), a Swiss manufacturer of Skis and other sport products, for vertical price fixing with its dealers with CHF 140’000. The fine was rather low, as Stöckli had filed a leniency application, albeit after ComCo (...)

The Australian Federal Court imposes a record fine on a shipping company guilty of cartel conduct due to the length, serious nature, and economic importance of the market (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) has received the largest criminal fine imposed under the Competition and Consumer Act, after pleading guilty to criminal cartel conduct in 2018. Justice Wigney of the Federal Court stated that the penalty “should send a powerful message to multinational (...)

The Australian Competition Authority starts an inquiry focusing on the practices and roles of investments funds in the water trading market (Murray-Darling Basin)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Melbourne)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recently commenced an inquiry into the water trading market in the Murray-Darling Basin. IN BRIEF The ACCC has commenced an inquiry into the tradeable water rights market in the Murray-Darling Basin at the direction of the Federal (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objection to operators of mobile telephony regarding their network sharing agreement in the Czech market (O2 / CETIN / T-Mobile)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to O2 CZ, CETIN and T-Mobile CZ for their network sharing agreement* The European Commission has informed Czech operators of mobile telephony O2 CZ and T-Mobile CZ, as well as the Czech telecom infrastructure provider CETIN of its preliminary (...)

The Danish Competition Authority informs that an association of camera distributors accepts fine for price coordination and information exchange (Team DS)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Team DS a.m.b.a., Denmark, accepts fine for price coordination and information exchange”* On 6 August 2019, the Danish association of camera distributors Team DS a.m.b.a. accepted to pay a fine of DKK 1,300,000 (€ 174,300) for coordination of prices and information exchange between the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes the highest fines ever applied for a cartel in the financial sector (Lusitania / Zurich)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The first cartel sanctioned by the AdC in the Portuguese financial sector has the highest fines ever applied* The AdC applied a fine totalling more than €54 million on insurance companies, board members and directors involved in the “insurer cartel”. The proceedings is now concluded with the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes record fine of € 54 million for a cartel in the markets for insuring workplace accidents, health, and cars (Lusitania / Zürich)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 August 2019, the Portuguese competition authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, “AdC”) published a press release in which it announced that it had imposed total fines of € 42 million on two insurance companies (Lusitania and Zürich), two board members and two directors for, inter alia, (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes a record-breaking £3.7 million fine for online resale price maintenance (Casio)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 1 August 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) imposed a fine of £ 3.7 million (approximately € 4.1 million) on piano supplier Casio Electronics (“Casio”) for online resale price maintenance (RPM). Between the years 2013 and 2018, Casio reportedly (...)

The Australian Parliament passes a repeal of subsection 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010
Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
Both houses of the Australian Parliament have passed a repeal of subsection 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) ("CCA"). Following the repeal, owners of intellectual property rights in Australia must comply with certain competition rules from which they previously enjoyed an (...)

Unilateral Practices

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)
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 Mexican Competition Authority fines an airport for refusal to deal in the market for federal land transportation (Cancun Airport)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions the Cancun Airport for refusal to deal in the market for federal land transportation* The Cancun International Airport conducted a set of actions to prevent new participants from providing services, as the only agent that can rent and grant spaces for taxi access. • The harm (...)

The Mauritian Competition Authority orders two multinational financial companies to reduce their banking interchange fees in order to promote competition (Visa / MasterCard)
Nortons (Sandton)
Mauritius: Competition Commission orders VISA and MasterCard to lower interchange fees* On 13 August 2019, the Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) has, following a lengthy investigation, ordered VISA and MasterCard (Respondents) to reduce their banking interchange fees from 1% to 0,5%. (...)

The Competition Commission of India orders investigation into multinational technology company with the aim of protecting Micro-processors importers from the company’s discriminatory practices (Intel)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
On 9th August 2019, the Competition Commission of India directed the Director General to carry out investigations against Intel Corporation for allegedly violating Section 3 and 4 of the Indian Competition Act, 2002 (the ‘Act’). The case in hand was filed by Matrix Info Systems Pvt. Ltd. (the (...)

Mergers

Clearance: The French Competition Authority authorises the sale by a mobile telephone operator of exclusive control over its mobile phone equipment hosting infrastructure sites to an operator of telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructure (Iliad 7 / Cellnex)
Hogan Lovells (Paris)
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Hogan Lovells (Paris)
On 30 August 2019, the French Competition Authority (’FCA’) approved Cellnex’s acquisition of a 70% stake in Iliad 7, a subsidiary of Iliad (controlled by Mr. Xavier Niel). Iliad 7 owns all the mobile telecommunication hosting sites previously controlled by Free Mobile, a French mobile network (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the men’s clothing and footwear retail markets (SMCP / De Fursac)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Clothing and shoes* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of the group De Fursac by the group SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot) On 24 July 2019, the group SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot brands) notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to take over the group De (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the market for the transfer of professional players, which had never been defined before by decision-making practice (OGC Nice / Ineos)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Professional football* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of OGC Nice by Ineos On 22 July 2019, Ineos notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of SASP Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d’Azur, which manages the OGC Nice football club. By a (...)

The Indian Competition Commission clears merger of health insurer (Apollo Munich / HDFC ERGO)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI cleared the proposed merger of health insurer Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company (Apollo Munich) into HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company (HDFC ERGO). HDFC ERGO is a joint venture between HDFC and ERGO International AG. The CCI found that Apollo Munich and the HDFC Group overlapped (...)

The UK Competition Authority raises competition concerns regarding a merger in the markets of supply of IT systems used by airlines and travel agents to sell airline tickets (Sabre / Farelogix)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Sabre’s takeover of Farelogix raises competition concerns* Sabre’s proposed takeover of Farelogix raises competition concerns in the supply of IT systems used by airlines and travel agents to sell airline tickets. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the proposed (...)

The Competition Commission of India issues regulatory changes to the merger notification procedure
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
In a welcome move, on 13 August 2019, amendments to the Combination Regulations were published in The Gazette of India. With effect from 15 August 2019 (India’s Independence Day), parties to notifiable acquisitions, mergers and amalgamations (collectively referred to as “combinations”) will, if (...)

The Competition Commission of India releases amendments to its regulations, introducing a green channel mechanism for mergers and acquisitions
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
As part of the scheme of the Ease of Doing Business in India, CCI was finally able to mature its 7th set of amendment (amendment regulations 2019) to the Competition Commission of India (procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) regulations, 2011. The new set (...)

The French Competition Authority clears, subject to remedies, the creation of a TV platform by three television channels (Salto)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Pay Television Sector* The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the creation of the Salto platform by TF1, France Télévisions and Métropole Télévision (M6) Background Following a referral decision by the European Commission, TF1, France Télévisions and Métropole Télévision (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger in the supply of fuels market (PKN Orlen / Lotos)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Lotos by PKN Orlen, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger may (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission finds that the marketing agreements concluded between a local Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows and an airline company are illegal under EU State aid rules (Ryanair / Montpellier airport)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport* The European Commission has found that the marketing agreements concluded between the local Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (APFTE) and Ryanair at the airport of Montpellier (...)

Procedures

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf suspends the decision of the German Competition Authority which prevented data gathering practices from a social network company (Facebook)
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
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Ashurst (London)
On 26 August 2019, the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf suspended the German Federal Cartel Office’s (’FCO’ or Bundeskartellamt) decision to prevent Facebook from combining user data from various sources such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and unrelated sites that use Facebook analytics and (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf grants a social network company the suspensive effect to an appeal in an interim decision (Facebook)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Frankfurt)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
In February of this year the German antitrust agency, the Federal Cartel Office, issued a decision against Facebook regarding their handling of user data. Facebook appealed and on August 26, 2019, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal in an interim decision granted suspensive effect to Facebook’s (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf orders suspensive effect of an appeal against FCO decision concerning a social network company (Facebook)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 August 2019, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the “Court”) granted Facebook’s request for an injunction against the immediate application of measures imposed by the German Federal Cartel Office (the “FCO”) arising from the FCO’s finding in February 2019 that Facebook abused its dominant (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf suspends an order of the German Competition Authority on an alleged abuse of dominance in the social networks (Facebook)
Baker Botts (London)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
On 26 August 2019, a German appeal court suspended an order of the German competition authority (the “FCO”) which had found that Facebook’s data processing practices in Germany constituted an abuse of dominance in breach of German antitrust rules (the “decision”). Expressing serious doubts as to the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarifies the means by which the FTC can exercice its enforcement authority without being able to seek any restitution thereafter (Credit Bureau)
Morgan Lewis (Boston)
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Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Boston)
Background In the Credit Bureau Center case, the FTC sued a company and its owner for advertising “free” credit reports without adequately disclosing that consumers would be enrolled in an expensive credit monitoring service on an ongoing basis. The FTC brought its lawsuit under Section 13(b), (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denies the FTC’s authority to seek restitution (Credit Bureau)
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Chicago)
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Jones Day (Chicago)
In Short The Situation: Overruling its precedent, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") may not seek restitution under FTC Act Section 13(b) because the statute, which permits the FTC to obtain injunctions, does not explicitly (...)

The Supreme People’s Court of China clears its stance on arbitration clauses and states that the jurisdiction of Chinese courts over antitrust civil disputes cannot be excluded
AnJie Law (Beijing)
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AnJie Law (Beijing)
CHINA’S SUPREME COURT ENUNCIATED THE NON-ARBITRABILITY OF ANTITRUST CIVIL DISPUTES* For a few years, the topic of whether antitrust civil disputes could be arbitrable had been hotly debated in China. There were few precedents in connection with this issue for people to better understand what (...)

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)
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 (...)

Public sector

The Competition Commission of India fines companies for bid rigging regarding a tender for the selection of an agency to carry-out tree census (Nagrik Chetna Manch / SAAR / CADD / Pentacle / Pune)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Bengalore)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently found that SAAR IT Resources Private Limited (OP 1), CADD Systems and Services Private Limited (OP 2) and Pentacle Consultants (I) Private Limited (OP 3), collusively manipulated the process of bidding, by rigging the bids for the tender (...)

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