December 2020 - II

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority publishes the final report in funerals market investigation
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA publishes final report in funerals market investigation* The CMA has published the final report on its in-depth market investigation into funeral services, confirming its remedies for the sector. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today confirmed its provisional conclusions, (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority establishes that there are not effective competition conditions in the card payment system
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE’s Preliminary Investigative Opinion establishes that there are not effective competition conditions in the card payment system in the Mexican territory* COFECE observed the probable existence of barriers to competition that prevent the entry and increase the costs of new participants in (...)

The EU Commission announces a package of digital markets legislation intended to better regulate major online platforms and to protect consumers and businesses
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
On 15th December, the European Commission announced a package of digital markets legislation intended to give the Commission the power to better regulate major online platforms and to protect European consumers and businessess for effectively: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets (...)

The EU Commission proposes legislation to overhaul regulation of digital platforms in the EU
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 15 December the European Commission announced far-reaching proposals for regulation of the digital sector in the form of a Digital Services Act (DSA) and a Digital Markets Act (DMA). In summary the DSA contains new rules including on illegal content and transparency. It applies to all (...)

The EU Commission publishes proposed rules for the regulation of digital services by imposing a series of ex-ante behavioral obligations on entities that are considered as ‘gatekeepers’
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
The European Commission has today published the long awaited Digital Markets Act proposal. The Proposed Regulation imposes a series of ex ante behavioural obligations on entities that the Commission designates as ‘gatekeepers’. The obligations for those designated platforms and the potential (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority signs a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine Competition Authority to strengthen cooperation in the advancement of competition law and policy
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission signs MoU with Philippine Competition Commission to strengthen cooperation in the advancement of competition law and policy* The Competition Commission (Commission) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) today to (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases preliminary issues and proposed scope for grocery study
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Commission releases preliminary issues and proposed scope for grocery study* The Commerce Commission has today released a paper outlining the preliminary issues it may explore and the proposed scope for its market study into the grocery sector. “We expect that the issues we focus on will (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on using market studies to tackle emerging competition issues
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The debate on how best to use and adjust the current competition policy framework and tools to deliver benefits to society in a changing world continues to evolve as competition authorities gain experience in both antitrust and merger cases in various industries. This experience has shown that (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a study into the functioning of algorithms in practice
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM launches a study into the functioning of algorithms in practice* Today, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) launched a trial in which it seeks to find out how it can monitor in practice the functioning of algorithms that businesses use. ACM wants to use this knowledge (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases perishable agricultural goods inquiry report recommending the introduction of an unfair trading practices prohibition
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
New fair trading law needed to enhance Australia’s perishable agricultural markets* Australia’s perishable agricultural goods markets need a new fair trading law to address harmful practices arising from bargaining power imbalances that are not covered by current laws, the ACCC has found. The (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority takes part in the EU Commission’s public consultation on competition policy and environmental sustainability targets
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC takes part in the European Commission’s public consultation on competition policy and environmental sustainability targets The CNMC includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of its key areas of activity. Competition policy contributes to the SDGs by stimulating (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority calls big tech company to inform consumers about the data use of apps (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Apple informs consumers about the data use of apps following call from regulators worldwide* Apple will indicate in its App Store what personal data each app uses. Starting today, app providers are required to include such information on their products’ pages in app stores. This information (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority seeks input on Canadians’ experiences accessing and using digital health services
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau seeking input on Canadians’ experiences accessing and using digital health services* Today, the Competition Bureau launched a short online survey to learn about Canadians’ experiences accessing and using digital health care services. By filling out this short 5-minute online (...)

The EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager delivers a speech on priorities for competition policy and enforcement at the OECD
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 December 2020, the European Commissioner responsible for competition policy Margrethe Vestager delivered a speech at the OECD Global Forum on Competition entitled “Competition policy: time for a reset?” in which she discussed the Commission’s priorities for 2021 (see, attachment). These (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches an investigation into users’ freedom of choice regarding payment apps on smartphones
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM launches an investigation into users’ freedom of choice regarding payment apps on smartphones* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched an investigation into payment apps’ access to NFC communication (‘Near-Field Communication’). NFC communication offers the (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition economics of digital ecosystems
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Competition in the digital economy is increasingly a competition between ecosystems. The most successful digital companies in recent years have been building their business model around large ecosystems of complementary products and services around their core service. Integration of a wide (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes its report on the role of big techs in the payment market
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Stockholm)
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Bird & Bird (Singapore)
Dutch regulator calls for tighter regulation of Big Techs in payment market study On 1 December 2020, the Dutch competition authority (ACM) published its long-awaited report on the role of major technology firms (Big Techs) in the payment market. The publication of the report was expected in (...)

The UK Competition Authority consults on its annual plan for 2021 and 2022
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
The CMA is consulting on its Annual Plan for 2021/22.* The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has outlined the key areas on which it expects to focus in the coming year, including its ongoing commitment to protect UK consumers during the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus (...)

The US FTC publishes its annual report on pharmaceutical patent settlements
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (Washington)
On December 3, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its annual report on pharmaceutical patent settlements filed with the FTC under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA)—its fourth annual review since the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on sustainability and competition
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Public and private entities across the globe are called to strengthen their commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include, among others, tackling poverty and inequality, promoting sustainable agriculture, supporting affordable and clean energy, promoting responsible (...)

The US FTC issues a FY 2017 report on branded drug firms’ patent settlements with generic competitors
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Staff Issues FY 2017 Report on Branded Drug Firms’ Patent Settlements with Generic Competitors* The number of reverse-payment agreements remains low; for the first time since FY 2004, no agreement contains a no-AG commitment. According to a new FTC staff report, the total number of final (...)

The UK Competition Authority and the EU Commission publish guidance on the impact of Brexit on competition law
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
Last week both the CMA and the European Commission published their final guidance on the impact of Brexit on competition law after the end of the transition period. Both sets of guidance explain the legal changes after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and how these will (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on the role of competition policy in promoting economic recovery Free
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
As the COVID-19 crisis develops and moves through different stages including soon towards economic recovery, governments, policymakers and regulators, including competition authorities, face different challenges in order to support a swift and robust recovery. In a world hard hit by a pandemic (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance to explain how it will conduct its work following the end of the transition period after Brexit
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA publishes EU Exit guidance* The CMA has today published further guidance to explain how it will conduct its work following the end of the Transition Period for the UK’s exit from the EU. As of 1 January 2021, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will take on responsibility for (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority finds in its study of major tech firms on the national payment market that tightening of rules is needed to maintain a level playing field
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Big Tech and the Dutch payment market: tightening of rules needed to maintain a level playing field* Big Tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, Amazon, or Ant Group (Alibaba) must ensure that their platforms or devices are suitable for different providers of payment services. The Netherlands (...)

The UK Government announces its intention to establish a dedicated digital markets unit to protect competition in respect of digital platforms
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
The United Kingdom and the European Union are set to take bold strides towards the regulation of digital markets in coming months. While both are broadly aligned in their intention to better regulate large tech companies, the extent to which their post-Brexit regulatory approaches might diverge (...)

The EU Commission adopts an action plan for intellectual property to promote recovery and resilience
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
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Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
On November 25, 2020, the EU Commission adopted an action plan for intellectual property to promote recovery and resilience in the EU – its plan for a new IP strategy. The focus is not only on the protection of, but the access to innovation. Companies from all sectors have realized that in this (...)

The EU Commission reflects on how to prevent competition rules standing in the way of sustainability initiatives
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
Main points discussed in this article: Sustainability is one of the highest priorities of our times. Sustainability goals can only be achieved on time when companies will have more leeway to cooperate. Competition rules sometimes appear to present a barrier for much needed cooperation and (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority fines five aluminium forging companies and ten employees responsible for engaging in illegal anti-competitive agreements (Otto Fuchs / Leiber / Emmingen-Liptingen..)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt - Cartel Prosecution* Fines imposed on aluminium forging companies on account of anti-competitive agreements Bonn, 23 December 2020: The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approximately 175 million euros on five aluminium forging companies and ten employees (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against the Catalan National Assembly for the launch of an anticompetitive advertising campaign (Catalan National Assembly)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against the Catalan National Assembly.* It investigates potentially unfair practices involving the launch of the “Strategic Consumption” campaign. This campaign encourages consumers not to buy certain products for reasons unrelated to competition (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes to authorise national dairy farmers association licensing scheme (Fair Go Dairy)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes to authorise ’Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme* The ACCC is proposing to authorise the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Limited’s (QDO) Fair Go Dairy licensing scheme for five years. Under the scheme, QDO will grant processors a licence to use the ‘Fair Go Dairy’ logo on (...)

The Australian Competition Authority allows Japanese vehicle manufacturer’s exclusive dealing notification relating to its 10-year conditional warranty to stand (Mitsubishi)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Mitsubishi’s 10-year conditional warranty allowed to stand* The ACCC does not object to an exclusive dealing notification lodged by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (Mitsubishi) relating to its new 10-year or 200,000 km extended warranty. The warranty is conditional on the vehicle being (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines auto expertise services providers for price fixing and supply cartel (Auto / Çözüm / Dyno Max...)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
On 17 December 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) announced, on its website, the reasoned decision as a result of its investigation against certain auto expertise services providers in a province of Turkey (i.e. Gaziantep), unveiling a price fixing and supply cartel among the (...)

The German Competition Authority does not oppose two undertakings’ joint payment system
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
The Bundeskartellamt has no objections to Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft’s first steps to introduce a joint payment system* The Bundeskartellamt has no objections to the first stage of implementation of Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft’s (German Banking Industry Committee) “Xpay” or “#DK” project to set up a (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines construction suppliers £15M for collusion (Vp plc / M.G.F.)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Construction suppliers fined £15m for breaking competition law* The CMA has fined 2 major suppliers to the construction industry more than £15m for illegally colluding to reduce competition and keep prices up Following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), 2 UK-based (...)

The French Competition Authority receives a request by the national railway company to revise the commitments made in 2014 regarding the sale of train tickets (SNCF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
SNCF has requested the revision of commitments made in 2014 regarding the sale of train tickets* SNCF, which undertook commitments before the Autorité de la concurrence in 2014 concerning the terms of train ticket sales online, is now requesting for them to be revised, arguing that the (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that the rules of a sports union providing severe penalties for athletes taking part in other speed skating events are contrary to EU competition law (International Skating Union)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The General Court confirms that the rules of the International Skating Union (ISU) providing for severe penalties for athletes taking part in speed skating events not recognised by it are contrary to EU competition law* On the other hand, the Commission was wrong to dispute the ISU’s (...)

The EU General Court delivers ruling on the application of competition law to sports authorization rules and upholds the role of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (International Skating Union)
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Geneva)
The General Court of the European Union (the "General Court") has confirmed this week that the eligibility rules of the International Skating Union ("ISU"), which penalized athletes participating in competitions not authorized by the ISU, infringe EU competition law. While the EU General Court (...)

The EU General Court rules that sports associations cannot stop athletes from competing in third-party events (International Skating Union)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
On 16 December 2020, the General Court largely confirmed the European Commission’s Decision according to which the International Skating Union’s (the “ISU”) rules on eligibility are contrary to EU competition law. However, it partially annulled the Commission’s Decision on the ground that it failed (...)

The German Competition Authority investigates the sale of dietary supplements via telemarketing using unfair practices
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
The GVH is investigating the sale of dietary supplements via telemarketing* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has initiated a proceeding against two undertakings, which may have been promoting the ‘Helvetia Apotheke’ dietary supplements using unfair practices. Based on the high number (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority claims that a municipality’s purchase of supported housing services constitutes an illegal direct award of contract
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Malmö’s purchase of supported housing services constituted an illegal direct award of contract* The Swedish Competition Authority is claiming that the Labour Market and Social Welfare Board in Malmö Municipality must pay SEK 10 million in procurement fines for carrying out an illegal direct (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority takes legal action against a company in the cheese and dairy industry for exchanging strategic information with a competitor in connection to a public procurement (Arla Foods)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority takes legal action against Arla Foods for unlawful cooperation*. According to the Swedish Competition Authority, Arla Foods has participated in an unlawful cooperation by exchanging strategic information with a competitor in the connection to a public (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority concludes that region Blekinge violated the rules on public procurement when purchasing translation service provider (Interpretation services)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Interpretation services incorrectly procured by Region Blekinge* Region Blekinge violated the rules on public procurement when the region purchased interpretation services. This is the conclusion of the Swedish Competition Authority, now referring the matter to the Administrative Court in Växjö (...)

The US DoJ indicates the owner of a therapist staffing company on wage-fixing charges (Neeraj Jindal)
Morgan Lewis (San Francisco)
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Morgan Lewis (Silicon Valley)
A federal grand jury in Texas indicted the owner of a therapist staffing company on wage-fixing charges on December 9. Although this is the US Department of Justice’s first criminal wage-fixing prosecution, the indictment underscores that enforcement agencies remain focused on policing these (...)

The US DoJ remains committed to prosecuting collusion in labor markets to reduce employee wages (Neeraj Jindal)
Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
On December 10th, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice announced its first criminal indictment targeting an alleged conspiracy to reduce employee wages. The DOJ charged the former owner of a therapist staffing company with conspiring to reduce pay rates for healthcare worker (...)

The US DoJ brings criminal charges for wage fixing on therapist staffing companies (Neeraj Jindal)
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Jones Day (Houston)
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division ("DOJ") has indicted a Texas businessman for conspiring with competitors to fix employee wages in violation of the Sherman Act. This action challenges particularly blatant conduct, but is consistent with recent attention to antitrust in employment (...)

The US DoJ indicts former owner of healthcare staffing company for wage fixing (Neeraj Jindal)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Former Owner of Health Care Staffing Company Indicted for Wage Fixing* Antitrust Division Remains Committed to Prosecuting Collusion in Labor Markets A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Neeraj Jindal, the former owner of a therapist staffing company, for participating in a (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority issues a statement of objections to supermarket chains and supplier of cosmetics for price fixing (Modelo Continente / Pingo Doce / Auchan / Beiersdorf)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC issues Statement of Objections to supermarkets and Beiersdorf for price fixing, harmful to consumers* The AdC – Autoridade da Concorrência issued a Statement of Objections to the supermarket chains Modelo Continente, Pingo Doce and Auchan and the supplier of cosmetics and personal care (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a Commission decision allowing a TV company to preserve competition on the markets of pay-TV services (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal +)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice annuls a Commission decision making binding the commitments offered by a company in order to preserve competition on the markets* The fact that it is possible, for the contracting partners of a company which has made commitments not to comply with certain contractual (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls the Commission decision that made commitments legally binding for companies in the pay-TV services sector (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal +)
Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law
Canal+ (C-132/19 P): The Court of Justice Annuls Commitment Decision – The Importance of Third Party Contractual Rights* Today, the Court of Justice annulled the Commission decision that made commitments legally binding for Paramount. This decision is the first annulment of a commitment (...)

The EU Court of Justice overturns a decision and declares a settlement between a company in the pay-TV service and the Commission null and void (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal+)
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
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Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
Settlements are a frequently used means of efficiently terminating proceedings, not only in cartel cases but also in other antitrust proceedings. The EU Commission can avoid having to spend resources on a time-consuming investigation and there are advantages for the companies concerned as well: (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a complaint formed by travel agencies on the basis that there is no evidence of anticompetitive practices resulting from failure to refund cancelled flights due to the COVID-19 outbreak (Cediv Travel) Free
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Failure to refund cancelled flights: the Autorité de la concurrence rejects the complaint by travel agencies on the basis that there is no evidence of anticompetitive practices. The Autorité’s decision should not prejudge the compatibility of practices with European Regulation No. 261/2004 (...)

The US Congress passes the criminal antitrust anti-retaliation act aiming to protect whistleblowers
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The US Congress passed S.2258, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2019, on December 8 and presented the bill to the president on December 11 – almost a year-and-a-half after Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bill in the Senate. The bill follows recommendations from a 2011 (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority finds that the fixed and minimum rates of notary fees approved by the Ministry of Justice are restricting the ability of notaries to compete on prices
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
By restricting competition between notaries, Ministry of Justice prevents consumers from paying less for services* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has found the fixed and minimum rates of notary fees approved by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania to (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority accepts commitments offered by national insurance company (Croatia osiguranje)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA accepts commitments offered by croatia osiguranje* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) closed the infringement proceeding against the undertaking Croatia osiguranje d.d. that was opened ex-officio regarding the commercial lease agreement that Croatia osiguranje concluded as a lessee, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines companies for collusion on the heat market (Veolia / PGNiG Termik)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Decision of the President of UOKiK concerning collusion on Warsaw heat market. First penalty for manager* Market allocation, as well as price and tender fixing resulting in higher heat prices in Warsaw. Nearly PLN 120 million in penalties have been imposed by Tomasz Chróstny, the President of (...)

The Australian Competition Authority files court action against a construction company and construction trade union over alleged boycott (Hutchinson / CFMMEU)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Court action against Hutchinson and CFMMEU over alleged boycott* The ACCC has instituted Federal Court civil proceedings against construction company J Hutchinson Pty Ltd (Hutchinson) and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) over alleged boycott conduct at a (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines big tech companies for distributing and advertising a prohibited dietary supplement for manufacture and distribution (Yandex / Google)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
The FAS Russia Fined Yandex and Google LLC* 100 thousand rubles fines were imposed for distribution in search engines of an advertisement for a dietary supplement that contained Kava pepper that is prohibited for manufacture and distribution The FAS Russia recognized both Yandex and Google (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines two telecommunications companies for entering into a cartel (MEO / NOWO)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC imposes fine of 84 million euros to MEO for cartel with NOWO* The AdC - Portuguese Competition Authority imposed a fine of 84 million euros on the telecommunication operator MEO for market sharing and price fixing of mobile and fixed telecommunications services with NOWO – Communications. (...)

The French Competition Authority fines national tea producer for imposing sales prices on the retailers selling its products online (Dammann Frères)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands out a fine to Dammann Frères tea for imposing sales prices on the retailers selling its products online* Background Following an investigation report from the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), the (...)

The Irish Competition Authority welcomes the publication of a report dealing with economic crime (Hamilton Review Group)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
The CCPC welcomes publication of the Hamilton Report to deal with economic crime The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) welcomes the publication today of the “Review of structures and strategies to prevent, investigate and penalise economic crime and corruption” by the (...)

The UK Competition Authority starts an inquiry into the electric vehicle charging sector
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to examine electric vehicle charging sector* The CMA is launching a market study into electric vehicle charging, to make sure that this new and fast-growing sector works well for UK drivers. Traditional cars are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and as part of its “green (...)

The Regional Court in Bonn dismisses plant protection wholesaler’s action to establish German Competition Authority’s liability (BayWa)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
BayWa’s legal action to establish Bundeskartellamt’s liability dismissed* The action brought by BayWa AG, Munich, against the Bundeskartellamt to establish the authority’s liability was dismissed in full by the Regional Court in Bonn today (case no. 1 O 201/20). BayWa had filed a claim for (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a market inquiry into the electric vehicle charging sector
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Düsseldorf)
The CMA has today (2 December 2020) launched a market study into the electric vehicle charging sector in the UK. The study will consider two broad themes: how to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment to help the sector grow; how to ensure people using electric (...)

The Australian Competition Authority charges a pharmaceutical ingredient company and its former director for leading a criminal cartel (Alkaloids / Christopher Kenneth Joyce)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Criminal cartel charges laid against pharmaceutical ingredient company and its former export manager.* Alkaloids of Australia Pty Ltd and its former export manager, Christopher Kenneth Joyce, have each been charged with 33 criminal cartel offences, contrary to the Competition and Consumer Act (...)

The US District Court for the District of Delaware contradicts the Supreme Court precedent regarding patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector (Chimicles Schwartz Kriner / Donaldson-Smith / Amgen / Teva / Watson / Actavis)
White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
A Nov. 30 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, In re: Sensipar Antitrust Litigation, contradicts controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent and, if followed, could have significant implications for patent settlements well outside the pharmaceutical context in which it (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority expresses concerns about the possible anticompetitive consequences of agreements between competitors on employees and labour markets
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
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Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Canadian Competition Bureau Issues Guidance on “No-Poach” and other “Buy-Side” Employment Agreements Between Competitors* Introduction The Canadian Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) has issued a statement (the “Statement”) clarifying its position on “no-poaching”, wage-fixing and other types of (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority confirms that no-poaching, wage-fixing, and other buy-side agreements do not violate the Competition Act’s price fixing provision
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
No-poaching, wage-fixing, and other buy-side agreements do not violate the Competition Act’s price fixing provision (section 45), the Competition Bureau has confirmed. This is because section 45 only applies to agreements relating to the supply of a product, and not the purchase of a product. (...)

The French Competition Authority announces an amendment on its decision-making practice concerning responses to calls for tenders by subsidiaries of the same group and stops considering it unlawful (Ovimpex / Dhumeaux / Mondial Viande Service / Vianov)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
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Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
French Competition Authority amends its decision-making practice in relation to responses to calls for tenders by subsidiaries of the same group* On 25 November 2020, the French Competition Authority (FCA) announced that it was amending its decision-making practice regarding responses to calls (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority imposes its highest ever fine for retail price maintenance practices (Bahlsen / Auchan / Cactus / Delhaize)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
I. Introduction On 18 November 2020, at the end of an eventful 2020, the Luxembourg Competition Council announced the adoption of “the most important decision that the authority has ever taken, in terms of content and the amount of the penalty”. Indeed, the imposition of an aggregate fine of (...)

The EU Commission conducts an extensive review process in which it analyses the practice of applying the current VBER and determines the scope and character of guidance to be provided in the VBER due out in 2022
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Online platforms and e-commerce have significantly changed the business environment since the current Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) was adopted. They have had a huge impact on the way business is conducted and on the behaviours of consumers who can switch within different online (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls the Commission inspection decisions ordering several French undertakings active in the distribution sector to submit to dawn-raid inspections (Casino, Guichard-Perrachon / Achats Marchandises Casino) (Intermarché Casino Achats) (Les Mousquetaires / ITM Entreprises)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
In October 2020, the General Court of the European Union (GC) issued an important decision in the joined Casino cases which promises to ensure that competition investigations will be more robust and afford greater protection to companies‘ rights. Both the European Commission (EC) and companies (...)

The Ankara Administrative Court annuls the Turkish Competition Board’s decision to close its preliminary investigation conducted against a company regarding its alleged resale price maintenance practices in the food retailing sector (Duru Bulgur)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of the Ankara 13th Administrative Court’s (the “Court”) judgment, where the Court reviewed and annulled the Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) decision to close its preliminary investigation conducted against Duru Bulgur Gıda San. Tic. A.Ş. (“Duru (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Authority accepts legally binding commitments from a pharma company to continue supplying a key bipolar drug at an affordable price (Essential Pharma)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published today its decision accepting binding commitments from Essential Pharma (EP) to continue supplying for at least 5 years a medicine for the first line treatment of bipolar disorder and other mental conditions at a price considered (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts legally binding commitments from a pharmaceutical company (Essential Pharma)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA secures affordable supply of key bipolar drug* The CMA has accepted legally binding commitments from Essential Pharma to continue supplying a key bipolar drug at an affordable price for at least 5 years. In October, the CMA launched an investigation suspecting that the pharmaceutical (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens an investigation against a company for an abuse of dominance in the market for accessing and connecting to the electricity transmission network (Enel)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC investigates Enel Green Power, S.L. (Enel) and its parent company Endesa Generación, S.A. for alleged anticompetitive practices* It assesses Enel’s possible abuse of its dominant position as a company designated as a Single Node Interlocutor (IUN) in the market for accessing and (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine on supermarket chain for abuse of superior bargaining power (Biedronka)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
The President of UOKiK has imposed a fine of PLN 723 million on Biedronka* The Jeronimo Martins company was earning unfairly to the detriment of food suppliers. This is the biggest sanction for abusing of superior bargaining power imposed to date. Commercial networks get various commercial (...)

The German Competition Authority announces that it has initiated abuse proceedings against a social platform company for linkage with a virtual reality products brand (Oculus / Facebook)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Düsseldorf)
The German FCO has not lost its appetite to take on major tech companies. Today, it has announced that it has initiated abuse proceedings against Facebook to examine the linkage between Oculus virtual reality products and Facebooks’ social network. The accusations against Facebook Facebook’s (...)

The US FTC sues the world’s dominant social network company for illegal monopolization, requires divesting its acquisitions of up-and-coming rivals and prohibiting the imposition of anticompetitive conditions on software developers (Facebook)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization* The Federal Trade Commission today sued Facebook, alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct. Following a lengthy investigation in cooperation (...)

The US State of New York AG leads a bipartisan lawsuit by 46 State AGs, District of Columbia AG, and Territory of Guam AG seeking to end the dominant social network company’s allegedly illegal monopoly, including predatory acquisitions and reduction of privacy protections for consumers (US State AGs / Facebook)
Office of the New York State Attorney General (Albany)
Attorney General James Leads Multistate Lawsuit Seeking to End Facebook’s Illegal Monopoly* AG James Leads Bipartisan Coalition of 48 Attorneys General Charging Anticompetitive Conduct Facebook Thwarted Competition, Reduced Consumer Privacy for Profits New York Attorney General Letitia James (...)

The UK Competition Authority, along with other national competition authorities, secures privacy changes to tech company’s mobile app store (Apple App Store)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA and global partners secure privacy changes to the App Store* Following international intervention, Apple will shortly indicate on its App Store what personal data each app uses, empowering consumer choice. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), along with the Netherlands (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on abuse of dominance in digital markets
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Many digital markets exhibit certain characteristics, such as low variable costs, high fixed costs and strong network effects, that result in high market shares for a small number of firms. In some cases, these lead to “competition for the market” dynamics, in which a single firm captures the (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority fines an engineering firm $3.2 million for bid-rigging on municipal infrastructure contracts (CIMA+)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
CIMA+ to pay $3.2 million in latest Québec bid-rigging settlement* Competition Bureau investigation has led to more than $12M in payments by six colluding firms Engineering firm CIMA+ has been ordered to pay $3.2 million over the next four years for bid-rigging on municipal infrastructure (...)

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

The EU Court of Auditors encourages the Commission to tighten the screws on ‘big tech’
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
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Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
European Court of Auditors encourages European Commission to tighten the screws on ‘Big Tech’* The Court of Auditors believes that the introduction of new instruments should go hand in hand with stricter enforcement of existing instruments In a Special Report published on 19 November 2020, the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures requested by a football club following an appeal judgment (Virton / RBFA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 November 2020, the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - the BCA) imposed interim measures on the Royal Belgian Football Association (the RBFA) at the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reverses a judgment that upheld “skinny labels” and allowed a generic to launch on uses not covered by a patent (GlaxoSmithKline / Teva)
Rutgers University (Camden)
On October 2, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a district court’s judgment in favor of defendant Teva in a case involving “skinny labels.” GlaxoSmithKline LLC v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., 976 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2020). When a drug can be used to treat multiple (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears subject to conditions the exclusive control acquisition by a mobile phone operator of a company specialised in mobile telephony services (Bouygues Telecom / Euro Information Telecom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears, subject to conditions, the exclusive control acquisition by Bouygues Telecom group of Euro Information Telecom* The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the exclusive control acquisition by Bouygues Telecom group, of Euro Information Telecom, subsidiary (...)

The US FTC issues commentary on vertical merger enforcement
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Issues Commentary on Vertical Merger Enforcement* The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Commentary on Vertical Merger Enforcement. In June 2020, the FTC and the Department of Justice issued Vertical Merger Guidelines describing the principal analytical techniques, practices, and (...)

The Australian Competition Authority rejects big tech company’s behavioural remedies for wellness and healthcare manufacturer acquisition (Google / Fitbit)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC rejects Google behavioural undertakings for Fitbit acquisition* The ACCC has announced that it will not accept a long-term behavioural undertaking offered by Google that sought to address competition concerns about its proposed acquisition of wearables supplier and manufacturer Fitbit. (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger between automotive companies (Fiat Chrysler / Peugeot)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Peugeot S.A., subject to conditions * The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed merger between the automotive companies Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (‘FCA’) and Peugeot S.A. (...)

The German Competition Authority clears under merger control the launch of a digital health platform (Phoenix / Noventi)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt allows Phoenix and Noventi to launch digital health platform* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared under merger control the planned launch of a joint venture by the Phoenix Group subsidiary ADG Apotheken-Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH, Mannheim, and the pharmacy services provider (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into the proposed acquisition of an insurance brokerage company by a global risk management firm (Aon / Willis Towers Watson)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson by Aon* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson by Aon, under the EU Merger Regulation. Aon and Willis Tower Watson (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth examination into a merger in the food retail sector in Martinique (Parfait / ACDLec / Géant la Batelière)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Take-over of a Géant Casino hypermarket in Martinique: the Autorité opens an in-depth examination* The Parfait group (hereinafter “Parfait”) and the Association des Centres Distributeurs E. Leclerc (hereinafter “ACDLec”) notified the Autorité de la concurrence of the joint take-over of a hypermarket (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between a vehicle glass specialist and its competitor (Carglass / ATU)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Carglass can acquire parts of ATU’s vehicle glass business* After closer examination the Bundeskartellamt has decided that the Belron Group, Carglass GmbH’s parent company, can acquire ATU’s vehicle glass business. Carglass operates around 350 service centers in Germany. Since its acquisition in (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose building products manufacturer’s proposed acquisition of brick manufacturer (BCG / Midland Brick)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
BGC’s proposed acquisition of Midland Brick not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose BGC’s proposed acquisition of Midland Brick. BGC and Midland Brick both manufacture and supply clay bricks in Western Australia, along with other clay and masonry building products. BGC is also a residential and (...)

The US FTC approves a final order settling charges that the acquisition by a medical device company of its competitor would violate federal antitrust law (Stryker / Wright Medical Group)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Imposing Conditions on Stryker Corp.’s Acquisition of Wright Medical Group N.V.* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that medical device company Stryker Corp.’s proposed $4 billion acquisition of (...)

The EU Commission clears acquisition of healthcare manufacturer by a big tech company, subject to conditions (Fitbit / Google)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Fitbit by Google, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Fitbit by Google. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by Google. Executive (...)

The Australian Competition Authority outlines preliminary competition concerns over supermarket chain’s acquisition of food service distributor (Woolworths / PFD)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Preliminary competition concerns over Woolworths’ PFD acquisition* The ACCC has outlined preliminary competition concerns with Woolworths’ (ASX: WOW) proposal to acquire 65 per cent of PFD Food Services. PFD is a wholesale food distributor, purchasing a wide range of food products from (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose a financial services company’s acquisition of wealth management firm (IOOF / MLC Wealth Management)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
IOOF’s acquisition of MLC Wealth Management not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose IOOF’s (ASX:IFL) proposed acquisition of MLC Wealth Management, owned by National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB). IOOF and MLC both supply wealth management solutions in Australia. They compete in the supply of retail (...)

The US DoJ requires divestiture of commercial health insurance business for healthcare merger in New Hampshire to proceed (Harvard Pilgrim / Health Plan Holdings)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Divestiture of Tufts Health Freedom Plan in Order for Harvard Pilgrim and Health Plan Holdings to Proceed With Merger* Divestiture Will Preserve Competition for Commercial Health Insurance in New Hampshire The Department of Justice announced today that it would (...)

The UK Competition Authority refers the proposed merger of two telecommunications companies for a phase 2 investigation (Virgin / O2)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Virgin and O2 merger referred for in-depth investigation* The CMA has referred the proposed merger of Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile with O2 for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation The move comes after Virgin and O2 requested that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) move quickly to the (...)

The Irish Competition Authority carries out a phase 2 investigation of an energy corporation and state-owned forest company’s joint venture (ESB / Coillte)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC to carry out a Phase 2 investigation of ESB and Coillte joint venture* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has decided to carry out a full Phase 2 investigation into the proposed joint venture between the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Coillte Cuideachta (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on economic analysis in merger investigations
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Economic analysis is a fundamental part of merger control. It underpins the theories of harm that guide merger reviews, and it provides the tools to interpret evidence when assessing these theories. Economic expertise can be of value at each stage of a merger investigation, from evidence (...)

The UK Competition Authority gradually moves towards a mandatory notification regime
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
In recent years, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has become noticeably more pro-active and interventionist in reviewing transactions. In 2019 more than 50% of mergers referred to Phase 2 were prohibited or abandoned. At Phase 2 in 2020, the CMA has already issued three prohibitions (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an investigation into the acquisition of an oil pipeline company by a private equity investment firm (SPMR / Ardian Group)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens an in-depth examination into the acquisition of Société du Pipeline Méditerranée-Rhône (SPMR) by Ardian Group* On 14 September 2020, Ardian France, a French private equity and asset management company notified of its plan to acquire exclusive control of the oil (...)

The US FTC loses bid to stop Philadelphia hospital merger (Thomas Jefferson University / Albert Einstein Healthcare Network )
Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
On December 8, 2020, Judge Gerald Pappert in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Pennsylvania attorney general (AG) to preliminarily enjoin a proposed merger between Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and (...)

The US FTC sues to block packaged goods distributor’s acquisition of body care company (Procter & Gamble / Billie)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Sues to Block Procter & Gamble’s Acquisition of Billie, Inc.* Merger would eliminate innovative nascent competitor for wet shave razors The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint (a public version of which will be available and linked to this news release as (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a company in women’s ready-to-wear sector by an investment fund specializing in commercial property (Financière Immobilière Bordelaise / Camaïeu)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears the acquisition of 511 Camaïeu stores by Financière Immobilière Bordelaise* The Financière Immobilière Bordelaise group (hereinafter referred to as "FIB") notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its intended acquisition of 511 Camaïeu stores. The transaction comes within the (...)

The EU Commission approves Japanese ink manufacturer’s acquisition of colorants and effect pigments company, subject to conditions (DIC / BASF Colors & Effects)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves DIC’s acquisition of BASF Colors & Effects, subject to conditions The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of BASF Colors & Effects by the DIC Corporation (‘DIC’). The approval is conditional on full (...)

The US FTC challenges medical center’s proposed acquisition of competitor (Hackensack Meridian Health / Englewood Healthcare Foundation)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Challenges Hackensack Meridian Health, Inc.’s Proposed Acquisition of Competitor Englewood Healthcare Foundation* New Jersey healthcare system merger would increase price and reduce quality of healthcare. The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint, and authorized a (...)

The US FTC approves prosthetics manufacturer’s application to divest assets it gained through the acquisition of prosthetics company (Otto Bock HealthCare North America / FIH Group Holdings)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Otto Bock HealthCare North America, Inc.’s Application to Divest Assets It Gained through Acquisition of FIH Group Holdings, LLC* Divestiture preserves competition for microprocessor prosthetic knees The Federal Trade Commission has approved an application by prosthetics (...)

The UK Competition Authority looks to appeal CAT judgment stating the lack of information regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in sportswear retailer case (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA looks to appeal CAT judgment in JD Sports case* After careful consideration, the CMA has today applied for permission to appeal the CAT’s recent judgment in the JD Sports/Footasylum case. Last month, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) supported the Competition and Markets Authority’s (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens in-depth investigation into a merger involving two mooring and port services companies (S.L. / Cemesa Amarres de Barcelona)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC will analyse in depth the merger involving Mooring & Port Services, S.L. and Cemesa Amarres de Barcelona* It consists of creating a joint venture, which will be the only provider of mooring services in the Port of Barcelona. The CNMC starts an in-depth investigation (Phase II), (...)

The Egyptian Government approves its first pre-notification merger regime
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Cairo)
Egypt is getting closer to adopting a new merger control regime that would transform the system from a post-closing to a pre-closing filing regime. The Egyptian Council of Ministers has approved a draft proposal to amend Egypt’s antitrust legislation accordingly. If enacted, the amendments would (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes new rules related to antitrust merger reviews
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
In Short* The Development: China’s antitrust authority, the State Administration for Market Regulation ("SAMR"), published new rules related to antitrust merger reviews—the Interim Rules on the Review of Concentrations of Undertakings ("Interim Rules"). The Result: The most significant changes (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves €650 million Polish support to national network airline in context of the Covid-19 pandemic (LOT) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €650 million Polish support to LOT in context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved two Polish measures, for a total of about €650 million (approximately PLN 2.9 billion), to support the airline LOT in the context of the coronavirus (...)

The EU Commission approves €300 million German aid scheme to support the transition to sustainable local public transport
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €300 million German aid scheme to support transition to sustainable local public transport* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €300 million German scheme to support innovative projects aimed at strengthening sustainable local public (...)

The EU Commission approves a €900 million Slovenian scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €900 million Slovenian scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a Slovenian €900 million scheme to cover part of the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus (...)

The EU Commission publishes guiding templates to assist Member States in the design of their national recovery and resilience plans, consults on a possible extension of the general block exemption regulation, and conducts a survey on the implementation of the State aid temporary framework Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission puts forward initiatives to further facilitate implementation of recovery and coronavirus support measures * The European Commission has today published guiding templates to assist Member States in the design of their national recovery and resilience plans in line with EU (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves State aid scheme to the Icelandic airport Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves ISK 15 billion in aid to Keflavík Airport* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved an Icelandic measure that will offer damage compensation to Isavia, the operator of Keflavík Airport, by increasing its share capital. Air travel has plummeted in (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves ISK 400m compensation to Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves ISK 400m compensation to Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved state aid for Harpa aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had serious (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves continued and increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves continued and increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of a scheme to compensate losses incurred by operators of long-distance bus and passenger boat (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves Norwegian compensation scheme for canceled and downscaled large public events as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves Norwegian compensation scheme for cancelled and downscaled large public events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a scheme offering compensation to organisers and co-organisers of large public events for losses due to the COVID-19 (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves aid to national metals company to develop green technology for zinc production (Boliden Odda)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves aid to Boliden Odda to develop green technology for zinc production* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved environmental aid to facilitate a project to develop more environmentally friendly and energy efficient processes and technologies for the production of (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the granting of a state-aid to a cultural venue aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (Harpa) Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves ISK 400m compensation to Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved state aid for Harpa aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had serious (...)

The EU Commission approves €55 million German scheme to support the roll-out of infrastructure for mobile communication services in German land of Brandenburg
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €55 million German scheme to support roll-out of infrastructure for mobile communication services in German Land of Brandenburg* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €55 million German aid scheme to support the deployment of (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts revised emissions trading system State aid guidelines New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA adopts revised Emissions Trading System state aid guidelines* The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts revised guidelines for assessing state aid for sectors exposed to the European carbon market, the Emissions Trading System (ETS). The guidelines will allow Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority clears amendments to Norwegian trade credit insurance scheme due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA clears amendments to Norwegian trade credit insurance scheme* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved amendments to a scheme ensuring access to trade credit insurance for enterprises with activity in Norway. The changes will align the scheme with (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves continuation of a Norwegian compensation scheme for companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves continuation of Norwegian compensation scheme for companies* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today authorised amendments and a prolongation of a temporary compensation scheme for companies in Norway. The updated scheme reflects the continued impact of (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of Icelandic travel voucher scheme due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of Icelandic travel voucher scheme* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of an Icelandic scheme offering digital gift vouchers of ISK 5 000 (approximately EUR 33) to individuals, which can be used to buy services (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to the Norwegian support scheme for cultural events due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves amendments to Norwegian support scheme for cultural events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved amendments to a scheme to cover losses due to cancellation or postponement of events. Norway notified ESA on 14 December of changes to the (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves additional aid to Norway’s national airport due to the COVID-19 pandemic
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves additional aid to Norway’s Torp Sandefjord Airport* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today found a Norwegian plan to continue support to Torp Sandefjord Airport to be in line with EEA state-aid rules. The aid will help alleviate the airport’s financial losses (...)

The EU Commission gives green light to the pan-European guarantee fund to enable up to €200 billion of additional financing for companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in 21 Member States Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission gives green light to the Pan-European Guarantee Fund to enable up to €200 billion financing for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak in 21 Member States* The European Commission found the creation of a €25 billion Pan-European Guarantee Fund managed by the (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves Icelandic grant scheme for businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves Icelandic grant scheme for businesses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved an Icelandic scheme that will offer grants to companies suffering income losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, (...)

The EU Commission approves €106.7 million restructuring aid and €30.2 compensation for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak in favour of French airline (Corsair)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €106.7 million restructuring aid and €30.2 compensation for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak in favour of French airline Corsair* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, two French measures in favour of Corsair, an airline active (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority clears public financing of Norway’s e-health record system (Akson)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA clears public financing of Norway’s e-health record system Akson* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today concluded that Norway’s financing of Akson, an electronic health (e-health) record system, does not raise state aid issues. On 25 November 2020, Norway notified ESA of its (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to support scheme for Norwegian tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves amendments to support scheme for Norwegian tourism sector* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of and amendments to the Norwegian liquidity support grant scheme for businesses in the tourism sector. On 6 July 2020, ESA found (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to grant scheme for Norwegian traders of package travels due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves amendments to grant scheme for Norwegian traders of package travels* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved amendments to a Norwegian scheme that provides access to liquidity for tour operators offering package holidays. The package-holiday (...)

The EU Commission approves €20 million voucher scheme to support access to broadband services by students in Greece essential in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €20 million voucher scheme to support access to broadband services by students in Greece* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €20 million voucher scheme to help students in Greece access broadband services and benefit from remote online (...)

The EU Commission approves €625 million Italian scheme to support tour operators and travel agencies affected by COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €625 million Italian scheme to support tour operators and travel agencies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €625 million Italian scheme to support tour operators and travel agencies in Italy affected by the coronavirus (...)

The EU Commission approves German “umbrella” scheme to enable capital support to enterprises affected by COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves German “umbrella” scheme to enable capital support to enterprises affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved German plans to set up a scheme under which the German federal and regional authorities can invest through debt and equity (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears pandemic-related package aid to a German airline company (Lufthansa) Free
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
Introduction Applying its Temporary Framework, the European Commission (EC) has conditionally authorized a rescue package granted by German to Lufthansa to cover financial losses resulting from the Covid-19 crisis. Conditions for the approval of tge proposed bail out included, among other (...)

Procedures

The US DoJ gives permission to three States to join its antitrust lawsuit against a big tech company for maintaining monopolies in search and search advertising (Google)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Three Additional States Ask Court To Join Justice Department Antitrust Suit Against Google* Today, the Attorneys General of Michigan and Wisconsin filed for permission to join the antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States and eleven other state Attorneys General against monopolist Google. (...)

The UK Supreme Court gives guidance on collective proceedings in competition appeal tribunal in the financial services sector (Merricks / Mastercard)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
In our May 2020 Competition Litigation Update, we covered the hearing of the landmark Supreme Court case of Mastercard Incorporated v Walter Hugh Merricks [2020] UKSC 51. The Supreme Court has now handed down its judgment in the case which concerned the test for the certification of collective (...)

The UK Supreme Court lowers the bar for certification of class actions when giving its judgment against a financial services company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
In a key decision, the UK Supreme Court has given guidance on the threshold for certifying a class action for breach of competition law. The Court’s judgment in Mastercard v Merricks will make it easier to obtain class certification and will likely encourage a significant increase in class (...)

The UK Supreme Court dismisses the appeal of a financial services company in a class action related to an alleged overcharging of interbank fees (Merricks / Mastercard)
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
The UK Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of Walter Merricks, the former head of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service., in a hotly-anticipated judgment in the first opt-out competition class action brought in the UK. Background Mr Merricks is the proposed class representative for 46.2 (...)

The UK Supreme Court hands down a landmark judgment, finding that the Competition Appeal Tribunal incorrectly rejected an application for certification to bring collective proceedings (Merricks / Mastercard)
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The UK Supreme Court has handed down a landmark judgment, finding that the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) incorrectly rejected an application for certification to bring collective proceedings. This decision sets out important clarifications on the framework to be applied by the CAT when (...)

The UK Supreme Court receives actions from consumers and small businesses to seek redress for price fixing and abuses of dominant power in the financial services sector (Merricks / Mastercard)
Hausfeld (London)
In 2015, the legislation introducing a UK collective litigation procedure for competition claims came into force – enabling consumers and small businesses to seek redress for the anti-competitive behaviours of price fixing and abuses of dominant power. Five years later, and such a collective (...)

The UK Supreme Court overturns a Competition Appeal Tribunal’s ruling and clarifies the class action regime in a proceeding brought against a credit card company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
Earlier today the Supreme Court handed down its hotly-anticipated judgment regarding the certification of an opt-out competition collective action brought by Walter Merricks against Mastercard. The claim is seeking £14bn in damages on behalf of some 46.2 million UK consumers, in respect of (...)

The UK Supreme Court dismisses the appeal of a financial services company by upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal and makes a significant impact on the national collective proceedings for the future (Merricks / Mastercard)
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
In a landmark judgment (and in unusual circumstances), the UK Supreme Court has held that the ongoing Merricks v Mastercard case should be referred back to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). Not only is this a step towards Merricks’ claim that interchange fees were "an invisible tax on UK (...)

The UK Supreme Court hands down a significant judgment relating to the certification of a £14bn opt-out competition collective action brought against a credit card company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 11 December 2020 the Supreme Court handed down a very significant judgment relating to the certification of a £14bn opt-out competition collective action brought by Walter Merricks against Mastercard, in respect of losses alleged to have resulted from the use of anti-competitive multilateral (...)

The US Parliament passes legislation that aims to protect whistleblowers who come forward with information on criminal antitrust violations
GeyerGorey (Washington)
House Passes Antitrust Whistleblower Protections Authored by Senators Grassley, Leahy* Congratulations to Senator Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy for the passage in the House of Representatives of their bipartisan legislation that has already passed the Senate that aims to protect (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules in favour of domestic undertakings allowing them to sue big tech companies (Booking.com)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Booking.com – domestic undertakings can also sue foreign ‘giants’ in Hungarian courts* The Court of Justice of the European Union adopted a decision which is significant and favourable for Hungarian undertakings as well: even the largest foreign platforms can be (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the extent of whether a document containing sensitive personal information requested as part of an RFI is relevant for an investigation by ordering interim measures in a Court order (Facebook)
Deloitte (Brussels)
Just How Far Could We and Should We Stretch the Facebook V Commission Court Order?* The Court order of 29 October 2020 struck by the President of the General Court in a dispute between Facebook and the European Commission is probably the first time in a while where the essence of a case (...)

Regulatory

The New Zealand Competition Authority seeks feedback on funding to improve work in regulated sectors
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Commission seeks feedback on funding to improve work in regulated sectors* The Commerce Commission is seeking feedback on the level of funding needed over the next five years to help deliver its regulation of the telecommunications, electricity and gas sectors. The Commission’s regulatory (...)

The UK Competition Authority advises the Government on a regulatory regime for tech giants
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA advises government on new regulatory regime for tech giants* The CMA has issued advice to government on the design and implementation of the UK’s new pro-competition regime for digital markets. New regime will proactively shape the behaviour of the most powerful tech firms It will ensure (...)

The UK Competition Authority proposes a pro-competition regime for digital markets
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 8 December 2020 the CMA issued advice to the UK government on the design and implementation of a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. The advice was prepared by the Digital Markets Taskforce (DMT) formally launched by the CMA on 1 July 2020, following recommendations by the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes recommendations for the regulation of digital markets
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has published advice to the UK Government on the design and implementation of a new regulatory regime for digital markets. The new regime, if implemented, will apply to certain digital businesses that are designated as having Strategic Market (...)

The Irish Competition Authority welcomes proposed reforms to legal education and training
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC welcomes proposed reforms to legal education and training* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) welcomes the recent publication of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority’s (LSRA) report into the education and training of legal practitioners. Over the years, the CCPC (...)

The Turkish Administrative Court decides that the practices based on secondary legislation in force cannot be deemed as violation of the competition law (EMO)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction On 13 October 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) announced that Ankara 17th Administrative Court (“Court”) suspended the TCA’s decision fining the practices of Electrical Engineers Chamber (Elektrik Mühendisleri Odası – “EMO ”) with respect to the establishment of minimum (...)

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