December 2019

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority releases an interim report on its market study into online platforms and digital advertising
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) released its much anticipated interim report (the “Interim Report”) on its market study into online platforms and digital advertising (the “Market Study”) on 18 December 2019, following the publication of its statement of scope in July 2019 and the (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Australian Competition Authority finds concerted practices between two roofing companies who fixed prices rates for the repair of homes damaged by hail
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
What you need to know The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has achieved its first enforcement outcome for alleged anticompetitive concerted practices since the prohibition was introduced in November 2017. Two Sydney roofing companies acknowledged in Court-enforceable (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority issues an opinion letter regarding its preliminary investigation of a manufacturer of ceramic and granite product for restricting active and passive sales of its dealers outside their territory and for forcing consumers to purchase its products within their provinces (Qua Granit)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) published its reasoned decision regarding its preliminary investigation pertaining to the allegations that Hayal Seramik Yapı ve Ürünleri San. Tur. ve Tic. A.Ş. (“Qua Granit”) violated Article 4 of the Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition (“Law No. (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court accepts appeals against the Authority’s ruling which found that telecommunications companies restricted competition and prevented the development of disaggregated forms of supply of ancillary technical services (Telecom Italia)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 23 December, the Italian Supreme Administrative Court ("Consiglio di Stato") accepted the appeals lodged by several companies active in the supply of technical ancillary services and the incumbent network owner, Telecom Italia S.p.A., against the rulings of the Regional Administrative Court (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens investigation into potential anticompetitive practices in the maritime transport of passengers and vehicles in the South of Spain (Algeciras / Ceuta)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Spanish Competition and Markets Authority, CNMC, is investigating whether a number of companies active in maritime transport between Algeciras and Ceuta may be in breach of article 1 of the Spanish Competition Act (‘LDC’) and article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (‘TFEU’). (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes a £36 million fine on three suppliers of pre-cast concrete drainage products for participating in a cartel (FP McCann / Stanton Bonna Concrete / CPM Group)
Ashurst (London)
FP McCann Ltd, Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd ("SBC") and CPM Group Ltd ("CPM") have collectively been fined more than £36 million by the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") for participating in an illegal cartel in relation to the supply of concrete drainage products. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - (...)

The Australian Federal Court orders a car manufacturer to pay $125 million in penalties for breaching national consumer law by making false representations relating to its compliance with the diesel emissions standards (Volkswagen)
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
In December 2019, the Federal Court ordered the German car manufacturer, Volkswagen AG, to pay AUD$125 million in penalties for engaging in a breach of Australia’s consumer law (the Australian Consumer Law ("ACL")) by making false representations relating to its compliance with Australian diesel (...)

The Australian Federal Court rejects the Competition Authority’s dieselgate settlement and imposes a record $125 million fine on an automobile manufacturer for breaches of national consumer law (Volkswagen)
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
What you need to know The Court imposed a penalty amount AUD 50 million higher than had been agreed between the parties, bucking the recent trend of the Court reducing penalties proposed by the ACCC. The AUD 125 million penalty was calculated under the old ACL penalty regime where the maximum (...)

The French Competition Authority fines meal vouchers issuers for anticompetitive practices taking the form of information exchange, market sharing and price-fixing (Edenred France / Up / Natixis Intertitres / Sodexo Pass France)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines the four historical meal vouchers issuers for a total of nearly 415 M€, for anticompetitive practices* Background The Autorité has been informed of anti-competitive practices in the meal vouchers sector by the company Octoplus (Resto Flash), which offers a (...)

The French Competition Authority fines fruit-compote manufacturers for pricing agreement and market sharing (Conserves France / Valade / Délis / Vergers de Chateaubourg / Materne / Andros / Charles Faraud / Charles & Alice)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands down fine worth a total of up to 58.3 million euros to the main fruit-compote manufacturers for pricing agreement and market sharing* Background The Autorité publishes today a decision by which it fines a national cartel between the main fruit-compote (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches an inquiry in the inter-city bus transport sector in Spain
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The CNMC has announced the launch of an inquiry on the competition conditions in the inter-city bus sector in Spain. The first phase of the inquiry includes a public consultation, which aims at obtaining input from operators, regulators, consumers and sector experts. This consultation is (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines over €30 million the main companies in the private security sector for bid-rigging (Allsystem / Coopservice / Italpol / IVRI / Sicuritalia)
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)
Court of First Instance of Namur
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 EU Court of Justice clarifies that a public body granting promotional loans to the purchaser of products covered by a cartel is entitled to claim damages for loss caused by the cartel (Otis / Land Oberösterreich)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (London)
On 12 December 2019, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") provided important clarification, holding that Article 101 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that a public body which granted promotional loans to purchasers of products covered by a cartel are entitled to claim damages for loss (...)

The US DoJ challenges a trade association rule for college admission (NACAC)
Jones Day (Sillicon Valley)
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Jones Day (Minneapolis)
In December 2019, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division ("DOJ") settled charges that certain National Association for College Admission Counseling ("NACAC") rules governing college admissions were anticompetitive under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. NACAC is a trade association for (...)

The German Competition Authority fines €646 million three companies and three persons for agreeing and exchanging certain supplements and surcharges for quarto plates (Ilsenburger / Thyssenkrupp Steel / Voestalpine)
Fieldfisher (Düsseldorf)
Steel manufacturers fined record €646 million for agreeing surcharges and exchanging information* The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has fined three companies and three persons a total of approximately €646 million. The companies agreed and exchanged certain supplements and surcharges for so-called (...)

The German Competition Authority fines steel manufacturers for collusion and exchange of sensitive information (ThyssenKrupp)
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 US DoJ resolves antitrust investigations into trade association standards-setting activity (NACAC)
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 12 December 2019, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) announced that it has entered into a proposed consent decree with the National Association (...)

The Ankara Regional Administrative Court annuls the lower Court’s decision due to the claimant’s lack of capacity to sue in a case alleging resale price maintenance in the market for cereals and legumes (Duru Bulgur)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Capacity to Sue of Consumers Whose Interests Are Affected Was Held Under the Microscope of the Administrative Courts in Turkey* The issue of the “appropriate claimant” or the capacity to sue always comes into question at the stage of the judicial review of the decisions of the competition (...)

The Turkish Council of State rejects an appeal request made by a cement producer concerning the Regional Administrative Court’s decision which imposed a monetary fine for engaging in concerted practices with its competitors, increasing prices and territorial allocation (Batısöke)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of 13th Chamber of the Council of State’s (“Council of State”) decision (E. 2019/1035, K. 2019/4253, 11.12.2019) concerning the last stop of the judicial review. In the judicial review process, Batisöke Söke Çimento Sanayii T.A.Ş. (“Batısöke”) filed to annul (...)

The Danish High Court finds distributor of hair products guilty of illegal resale price maintenance (Icon Hairspa)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 10 December 2019, the Danish High Court found that the Danish company, Icon Hairspa A/S, was guilty of illegal resale price maintenance by dictating the minimum resale price of certain hair products for their retailers. From 2016 to 2017, Icon Hairspa required that all retailers ought to (...)

The German Competition Authority makes legally bidding remedies by which two telecommunications companies will carry out an extensive deployment and grant third companies access to their network (Telekom / EWE)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Binding commitments undertaken by Telekom and EWE for joint fibre-optic deployment* Telekom Deutschland GmbH and EWE AG would like to cooperate in the development of fibre-optic networks in parts of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen. The companies have now undertaken to the (...)

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)
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)
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
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., (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes its first investigation concerning abuse of dominance by a standard essential patent holder (Philips)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Turkish Competition Authority’s (“TCA”) Philips Decision (26.12.2019, 19-46/790-344 – published on 27.05.2020) is quite significant as it is the first time that the TCA examined the conducts of a Standard Essential Patent (“SEP”) holder within the scope of Article 6 of the Act No. 4054 on the (...)

The Israeli Competition Authority 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)
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
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 Copenhagen City Court fines an ambulance service company for abusing of its dominant position by excluding its competitors through the adoption of exclusion strategies (Falck / BIOs)
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 Californian Attorney General announces a $575 million settlement with the largest hospital system in Northern California (Sutter)
McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES HISTORIC $575 MILLION SETTLEMENT OF ANTITRUST SUIT AGAINST SUTTER HEALTH * California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (AG Becerra) announced on Friday, December 20, 2019, the terms of a comprehensive settlement agreement reached with Sutter Health (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a research engine company for abuse of dominance in the search advertising market (Google)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands down a €150M fine for abuse of a dominant position* Google has abused its dominant position in the search advertising market by adopting operating rules of its Google Ads advertising platform which are opaque and difficult to understand and by applying them (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abusing its dominant position in the online search advertising market (Google)
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 French Competition Authority fines €150 million a big tech company for abusing its dominant position in the search advertising market (Google)
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
On 19 December 2019, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") fined Google for abusing its dominant position in the French search advertising market. The decision follows a complaint from Gibmedia (a company which publishes weather information, company data and telephone information) after (...)

The French Competition Authority rules that a Big Tech firm had abused its dominant position in the French market for search advertising through its auction-based advertising system (Google)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
Introduction On 20 December 2019, the French Competition Authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) (the “Authority”) announced its finding that Google had abused its dominant position in the French market for search advertising through the operating rules applied by Google Ads (previously known as (...)

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)
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)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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 Cypriot Competition Authority fines a dominant mobile telephony services provider €237.181,76 for foreclosing the ability of its competitor to offer services for 10 years (MTN Cyprus / Golden Telemedia)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition imposed on MTN Cyprus Limited (EPIC LTD) an administrative fine of €237.181,76 for the infringement of Section 6(1)(b) of the Protection of Competition Laws of 2008 and 2014, following an investigation of the complaint submitted by Golden (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments of an online travel agency (Booking.com) New
European Commission (Brussels)
The French, Italian and Swedish Competition Authorities Accept the Commitments Offered by Booking.com* In their investigations of so-called "price parity" clauses (also called "best price" clauses) contained in agreements between online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotels, the French (...)

The Polish Competition Authority opens an investigation into an e-commerce platform’s possible abuse of its dominant position (Allegro)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Following the inspection conducted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ("UOKiK") in Allegro in July 2017, UOKiK has opened an antimonopoly investigation into Allegro’s practices that may violate both Polish and EU competition law. In its press release, UOKiK notes that Allegro (...)

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirms and defines margin squeeze as a particular form of abusive pricing strategy in the telecommunication market (Swisscom)
Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
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Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
Federal Supreme Court examines margin squeeze under Swiss competition law* Introduction On 9 December 2019 the Federal Supreme Court confirmed that Swisscom AG and Swisscom (Schweiz) AG (together, Swisscom) had abused its dominant position by charging abusive prices for wholesale broadband (...)

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 Hungarian Competition Authority fines €3,5 million a social network company for unfair commercial practices (Facebook)
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
On 6 December 2019, the Hungarian Competition Office ("GVH") found that Facebook’s practice of referring to its services as “free” on its cover page and Help Centre misled Hungarian users. As a consequence, the GVH held that Facebook violated the Hungarian Unfair Commercial Practices Act ("UCPA") (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines major national winemaker for unfair trading practices (Iločki podrumi)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Winemaker Iločki podrumi sanctioned HRK 250,000 for imposing unfair trading practices* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) opened an ex-officio infringement proceeding against the undertaking Iločki podrumi after having assessed the writing by a supplier of grapes which was communicated to the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases a report on customer loyalty schemes following a review of the major schemes operating nationally
Ashurst (Sydney)
On 3 December 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") released its Final Report on Customer Loyalty Schemes ("Report"), following a review of the major schemes operating in Australia, in the airline, supermarket, credit card, travel, telecommunication and retail (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority makes legally binding remedies proposed by an media company ending discount scheme in the radio advertising spots market (One Media Sales)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Following an ACM investigation, media company OMS is to adjust its discount scheme for radio advertising spots* From January 1, 2020, Dutch media company One Media Sales (OMS) will stop offering its so-called ‘budget-share discount’ when selling radio advertising spots. OMS has made this (...)

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 German Competition Authority conducts parallel investigation into potential for cartelization and merger review proceedings resulting in a conditional approval of the joint venture (Telekom / EWE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Telekom and EWE, two of Germany’s largest telecommunications companies, sought to form a joint venture (JV) to expand the fire-optic broadband network in north-western Germany. On 21 March 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) launched two sets of parallel proceedings: an investigation (...)

The French Competition Authority approves the creation of a public bank insurer (La Banque Postal / CNP Assurances / Caisse des dépôts et consignations)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence gives its approval to the creation of a public bank insurer in France* By a decision issued on 30 December 2019, the Autorité de la concurrence authorizes, on the one hand, La Banque Postale to take control over CNP Assurances. On the other hand, it authorizes the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the merger of agricultural cooperatives (Océalia / Natéa)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the merger of agricultural cooperatives Océalia and Natéa* On 25 November 2019, the agricultural cooperative Océalia notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its proposed merger by takeover of agricultural cooperative Natéa. The parties to the transaction (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a transaction in the electrical engineering sector (Snef / Steam Power Delta)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité clears takeover of Steam Power Delta by Groupe Snef* Groupe Snef notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its proposed takeover of Steam Power Delta. After examining the effects of the transaction, the Autorité de la concurrence has cleared the transaction unconditionall The (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority identifies anticompetitive risks into a joint venture of port towage in which the companies later decided to dissolve (Svitzer / Iskes)
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 Dutch Competition Authority confirms the commitment to dissolve the joint venture by two port towing undertakings (Port Towage Amsterdam)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
PORT TOWING JOINT VENTURE DISSOLVED AFTER INVESTIGATION BY THE DUTCH COMPETITION AUTHORITY: FULL-FUNCTIONALITY QUESTIONED* Background On 20 December 2019, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) published a decision in which the commitment to dissolve the joint venture Port (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority acknowledges that market shares are not the sole indicators of market power and grants an unconditional clearance to an acquisition in the airline transport market (GA Akaryakıt / THY / Total / Zirve)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary concerns an analysis of the Turkish Competition Board’s (“Board”) IGA Akaryakıt/THY/Total/Zirve decision, in which the Board evaluated the acquisition of joint control over IGA Havalimanı Akaryakıt Hizmetleri A.Ş.’s (“IGA Akaryakıt”) shares by Türk Hava Yolları A.O. (“THY”), Total Oil (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority acknowledges that market shares are not the sole indicators of market power and grants an unconditional clearance to the acquisition of a company in the energy sector (IGA Akaryakıt / THY / Total / Zirve)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary concerns an analysis of the Turkish Competition Board’s (“Board”) IGA Akaryakıt/THY/Total/Zirve decision, in which the Board evaluated the acquisition of joint control over IGA Havalimanı Akaryakıt Hizmetleri A.Ş.’s (“IGA Akaryakıt”) shares by Türk Hava Yolları A.O. (“THY”), Total Oil (...)

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)
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 French Competition Authority clears a merger in the IT services market (Softeam / Le Groupe La Poste)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Softeam by Le Groupe La Poste* On 14 November 2019, Le Groupe La Poste notified the Autorité of its intention to acquire Softeam. This transaction is part of Le Groupe La Poste’s strategy to diversify its activities, resulting in multiple (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the biotechnologies market (Danaher / GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ Biopharma Business)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Danaher’s acquisition of GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ Biopharma Business, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of General Electric’s Healthcare Life Sciences Biopharma Business by Danaher (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the cash handling services sector (Ziemann / Loomis)
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 EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into a proposed merger in the maritime transport market (DSME / HHIH)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering CO., Ltd (DSME) by another shipbuilding group, Hyundai (...)

The Indian Competition Authority invites public comments on a proposed amendment to the Combination Regulations relating to the acquisition of shares pursuant to a public bid or a stock exchange
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI invited public comments on a proposed amendment to the Combination Regulations relating to the acquisition of shares pursuant to a public bid or on a stock exchange. At present, such an acquisition cannot, where it qualifies as a notifiable transaction, be completed until CCI clearance (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the luxury perfumes and cosmetic products market (Azzaro / Thierry Mugler / L’Oréal)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the take-over of the perfumes Azzaro and Thierry Mugler and their derived products by L’Oréal Group* On 14 November 2019, L’Oréal Group notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its proposed acquisition of control of the marketing of luxury perfumes and (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the food retail market (Casino / Capdis / Holding Mag Spring)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence authorises Casino to change from joint to sole control of companies Capdis and Holding Mag Spring.* It will now become the sole owner of 198 sales outlets operated jointly until now, under the brand names of its group. On 14 November 2019, Casino notified the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a food delivering company subject to remedies (MIH Food Delivery / Just Eat)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC has authorised MIH Food Delivery Holdings (MIH), of the Naspers Group, to purchase Just Eat, with commitments. The operation will be carried out through the takeover bid announced on 22 October 2019. This takeover bid competes with the operation that was already authorised on 19 (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the airport management concessions (Toulouse-Blagnac airport / Eiffage)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Toulouse-Blagnac airport by the Eiffage group* On 8 November 2019, the Eiffage group notified the Autorité of its plan to acquire sole control of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport ("ATB"), which operates the Toulouse airport (31). By a decision (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority’s Tribunal discusses the possibility of increasing the legal limits for fines in gun jumping cases (IBM / Red Hat)
Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
IBM Red Hat case triggers discussion on gun jumping fine* CADE’s Tribunal debates changing the limits for fines, which would be currently outdated for high-value transactions. In the context of an Administrative Proceeding to Investigate a Merger (APAC, in its Portuguese acronym), CADE’s (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation into a proposed merger in the petroleum product storage services market (Trapil / Pisto)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has begun an in-depth examination into the acquisition of Société des Transports Pétroliers par Pipelines (Trapil) by Pisto SAS* Acquisition of France’s largest pipeline On 5 November 2019, Pisto SAS, which is active in the petroleum product storage services (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the hearing aids sector (Audilab / Demant)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Sale of hearing aids: the Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Audilab by the Demant group, subject to conditions.* Background After an in-depth examination of the hearing aids sector in its 2016 sector-wide inquiry and having made several recommendations aiming to ensure its (...)

The French Competition Authority clears two separate mergers of companies in the same group in the transport sector (Capelle / AltéAd Marchal Levage and Mediaco-Capelle / AltéAd)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears two separate acquisitions but concerning companies belonging to the same group, AltéAd* These decisions are made following the opening of judicial reorganisation proceedings regarding AltéAd. On 25 June 2019, Mediaco Levage and Capelle Investissements (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on merger control in dynamic markets
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The modern competition dynamics observed in rapidly-evolving sectors, such as high-technology, consumer services and online retail, is challenging the role of competition authorities in merger control, where enforcement decisions fundamentally depend on an effects-based analysis of the likely (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the plans of telecommunications companies to jointly expand and operate fiber-optic networks (Telekom Deutschland / EWE)
Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has cleared the plans of Telekom Deutschland GmbH and EWE AG to jointly expand and operate fiber-optic networks in parts of North West Germany. This is a landmark decision by the FCO in relation to the expansion of fiber optic networks in Germany, (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two groups of restaurants chains in the high-end restaurant market (Léon de Bruxelles / Bertrand)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Groupe Léon de Bruxelles by Groupe Bertrand (Hippopotamus, Burger King, Lipp, La Coupole, etc.)* On 30 October 2019, Groupe Bertrand notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to take exclusive control of Groupe Léon de Bruxelles. (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the markets for batteries and portable battery chargers (Varta / Energizer)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Varta AG’s acquisition of Energizer’s divestment business, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, Varta AG as a suitable purchaser of assets divested by Energizer in order to acquire Spectrum Brands’ batteries and (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a company does not necessarily insulate from State aid if it enjoys exclusive rights and operates in a sector covered by a legal monopoly (Arriva Italia)
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 General Court dismisses the appeal of financial service’s companies which wanted to annul a State aid (BPC Lux 2)
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 Court of Justice dismisses an appeal by the beneficiary of an aid concluding that the preferential electricity tariff constituted incompatible State aid (Mytilinaios)
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 allows under EU State aid rules an important project of common European interest notified by several member states to cooperate for the development of innovative products (IPCEI)
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 approves a project to support research and innovation in the battery value chain (IPCEI)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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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, (...)

Procedures

The Hungarian Competition Authority publishes updates to the collection of its important decisions relating to the Competition Act and to the Consumer Protection Act
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
The Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) has published updates to the collection of its important decisions relating to the Competition Act (the “Competition Act Collection”) and to the Consumer Protection Act (the “Consumer Protection Collection”), respectively, covering cases closed by the GVH (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority considers using a new economics test with Moran’s I statistic to detect collusive behavior between competitors bidding in public procurement auctions
Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
New cartel screening tool may enhance investigations by CADE* A new working paper published by the authority explores the possibility of applying statistics to public procurement auctions. CADE’s Department of Economic Studies (DEE) released, in December, a working paper discussing the (...)

The US DoJ files a motion clarifying certain provisions and extends the consent decree due to violations of the final judgement in the entertainment sector (Ticketmaster)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
US MOVES TO MODIFY, EXTEND ANTITRUST CONSENT DECREE WITH LIVE NATION / TICKETMASTER* Consent decree reform has been a hallmark of the Makan Delrahim Antitrust Division. For two years, the head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division has undertaken efforts to terminate legacy consent (...)

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)
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 EU Court of Justice clarifies the eligibility requirements of claims for indirect damages caused by a violation of Art. 101 TFEU (Otis / Land Oberösterreich)
University of Liège
The parties Otis GmbH, is an Austria based manufacturer and provider of maintenance services for elevators and escalators. Taken over in 1969, they are now a subsidiary of the American Otis Elevator Company Corp. Schindler (Schindler Liegenschaftsverwaltung GmbH and Schindler Aufzüge und (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine of €1.84 million against a company for obstructing an on-the-spot inspection (WhatsApp)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (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)
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 Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine of €1.84 million on a company for failing to comply with the duty to cooperate during an on-site investigation (Onderneming)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 10 December 2019 , the Authority for Consumers & Markets ("ACM") imposed a fine of € 1,84 million on a company for the failure to comply with the duty to cooperate as laid down in Article 5:20(1) of the Dutch General Administrative Law Act ("GALA"). ACM found that during an on-site (...)

The Romanian Competition Council updates and enacts new guidelines on the assessement of fines
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 Vice-President Margrethe Vestager announces the intention to launch the review of the Commission Notice on the definition of relevant market
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 9 December 2019, the Commission’s Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager announced the Commission’s intention to launch the review of the Commission Notice on the definition of relevant market for the purposes of Community competition law (‘the Notice’). The Notice dates back from 1997 and (...)

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)
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 French Competition Authority can access data of electronic communication operators in order to investigate anticompetitive practices
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence will now be able to access the data of electronic communication operators* The PACTE Law for the Growth and Transformation of Companies of 22 May 2019, has given the Autorité de la concurrence new power to investigate anticompetitive practices. The law now allows (...)

Regulatory

The Brazilian Securities & Exchange Commission opens public hearing to discuss the possibility of multiple stock exchanges in the country following discussions by the Competition Authority about this possibility in a number of recent proceedings
Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
CADE’s analysis influence CVM debate regarding competition in the securities market* CVM has opened a public hearing to discuss the possibility of multiple stock exchanges in Brazil after the antitrust authority’s debates. In light of the discussions held by Cade in a number of antitrust (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau announces that agencies and brands involved in influencer marketing have to comply with the Competition Act
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 (...)

The US DoJ and PTO issue a policy statement on standard-essential patents subject to a commitment to license on FRAND terms
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
After withdrawing support from a 2013 policy statement on appropriate remedies for standard-essential patents subject to a commitment to license on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, along (...)

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 OECD holds a roundtable on competition for-the-market
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Some products have characteristics that lead firms to compete to be the supplier of a whole market of product or services, rather than for market share (whether it be a share of units, of contracts or of consumer relationships). These might for example include: a) natural monopolies (with large (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition provisions in trade agreements
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The majority of trade agreements include a competition policy chapter or individual competition provisions. These cover a range of issues, such as the adoption or maintenance of competition laws, international co-operation on competition policy or the introduction of procedural safeguards. In (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition under fire
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The current policy debate criticising the activities of competition authorities is broad and wide ranging from questioning the inadequacy of the consumer welfare standard, to concerns about the current merger control standards. Competition authorities face questions about the effectiveness of (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on hub-and-spoke arrangements in competition
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Hub-and-spoke arrangements are horizontal restrictions on the supplier or retailer level (the “spokes”), which are implemented through vertically related players that serve as a common “hub” (e.g., a common manufacturer, retailer or service provider). The “hub” facilitates the co-ordination of (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on barriers to exit in competition
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Most of the focus in relation to barriers has been on barriers to entry and their effects on competition. However, for competition to be effective there must also be firm exit. Barriers to exit, like barriers to entry, decrease the market discipline mechanisms of the competitive process to (...)

The French Competition Authority issues two maps regarding the establishment of court bailiffs and judicial auctioneers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of establishment for court bailiffs and judicial auctioneers* The process of progressively opening up the two professions, which are scheduled to merge into the new profession of commissioner of justice in 2022, is producing encouraging results and should continue. Pursuant to the (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on independent sector regulators and competition
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Independent regulators are those that operate autonomously and with no undue influence from political forces or private entities. This independence, and their relationship with competition authorities that focus on merger control and antitrust enforcement, is important as an effective regulator (...)

The Australian Government publishes its response to the National Competition Authority’s Final report in its digital platforms inquiry
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
The Australian Government has now published its eagerly awaited response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ("ACCC") Final report in its Digital Platforms Inquiry. The Digital Platforms Inquiry was undertaken by the ACCC in order to consider the impact of digital platforms (...)

International

Spain: The Audiencia Provincial of Valencia grants in second instance 5% compensation for damages in a follow-on action based on the European Commission Decision in the truck cartel case (CNH Industrial NV)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The Audiencia Provincial of Valencia has partially upheld a first instance judgment awarding damages equivalent to 5% of the purchase price of the truck (totalling 3,985 euros) and quashed the judgment just in respect of the interests, finding that they should have been added from the purchase (...)

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