December 2020

General antitrust

The EU Commission and the UK Government agree on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement that has consequences on competition law post-Brexit
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
The UK officially left the European Union (EU) at 11:00 pm on 31 January 2020. However, as part of the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU to help the UK transition away from EU membership, EU law continued to apply to the UK as if it were still a Member State until the end of 31 December 2020. On (...)

The EU Commission and the UK Government publish an agreement governing post-Brexit trade relations that includes provisions on competition law enforcement and cooperation
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
The Trade Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”) includes various provisions regulating EU and UK competition law enforcement and cooperation, which became effective as of 1 January 2021. Competition law and merger control The TCA provides for a mutual commitment from the UK and the EU to maintain (...)

The EU Commission reaches an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of their future cooperation after the Brexit
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On DECEMBER 24, 2020, the European Commission reached an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), provisionally applicable as of January 1, 2021, rests on three main pillars, which are a) (...)

The EU Commission and the UK Government publish an agreement governing post-Brexit trade relations that includes provisions regulating antitrust enforcement and cooperation
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
The European Union (EU)-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) governing post-Brexit trade relations between the U.K. and the EU includes provisions regulating EU/U.K. antitrust enforcement and cooperation effective January 1, 2021: Anticompetitive practices and mergers. The TCA provides (...)

The EU Commission and the UK Government publish an agreement governing post-Brexit trade relations that includes provisions on competition law
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
Following Brexit, EU competition law continued to apply in the United Kingdom until 31 December 2020 as part of an agreed Transition Period. In this LawFlash, we summarise how the end of the Transition Period is likely to impact the enforcement of competition law in the United Kingdom going (...)

The German Competition Authority releases its review of 2020
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt – Review of 2020* In 2020, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines in cartel proceedings totalling approx. 358 million euros, examined around 1,200 corporate mergers, received more than 120 applications for review in public procurement cases and conducted important abuse of (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes its 2020 market power report on the electricity generation sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt’s 2020 market power report on the electricity generation sector* The Bundeskartellamt has today published its second market power report – report on the conditions of competition in the electricity generation sector in 2020. As in the previous year, the report focuses on (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority carries out a market inquiry in the on-line hotel booking sector
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA carried out a market inquiry in the on-line hotel booking sector in the republic of Croatia* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) has conducted a market inquiry into the provision of on-line hotel booking services in the Republic of Croatia. The market inquiry was commenced at the end of (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its priorities in a roadmap
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
After a year strongly marked by the unprecedented COVID-19 health and economic crisis, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") recently published its roadmap for 2021. Continuity and novelty are the two words that can summarise the FCA’s 2021 priorities: Continuity: given that some of these (...)

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 UK Competition Authority publishes final report in its funeral market investigation and orders funeral directors and crematorium operators to disclose prices
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 December 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published the final report of its market investigation into funeral services. The CMA said that it had serious concerns about the sector and it has put in place a number of “sunlight” remedies designed to make the sector more (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority continues its monitoring of competition in the national aviation market
Norwegian Competition Authority
Monitoring of the Norwegian aviation market expanded* The Norwegian Competition Authority continues its monitoring of competition in the Norwegian aviation market. In addition, it is expanding its monitoring to include the operations of Wizz Air. This is in line with the wishes of the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its final report on funerals and crematoria market’s investigation
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Following an in-depth market investigation into the funeral services sector, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") published its final report in December 2020. The report identifies a number of competition issues and confirms a package of "sunlight remedies", including obligations on (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a review regarding the progress made in the legal services sector
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA publishes review of progress in legal services sector* The CMA’s assessment of changes in the legal services sector since its market study has found some positive developments but concludes more progress is needed. The review follows recommendations made in 2016 after the Competition and (...)

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 publishes the digital services act intended to modernize the legal framework for digital services in the European Union
Morgan Lewis (New York)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The European Commission (Commission) published the first draft of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) on December 15 2020. Morgan Lewis previously reported on the anticipated DSA. The DSA and DMA are intended to modernize the legal framework for digital services in (...)

The EU Commission publishes a draft regulation aiming the imposition of ex-ante obligations on providers of certain pre-defined core platform services that qualify as gatekeepers
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
1. Introduction The draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Contestable and Fair Markets in the Digital Sector (Digital Markets Act) (“DMA Proposal”) was announced by the European Commission (“Commission”) on December 15, 2020. The DMA Proposal envisages the imposition of (...)

The EU Commission publishes a draft on a legislative package promoting a single market for digital services
University Littoral-Cote d’Opale (Boulogne)
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University Littoral-Cote d’Opale (Boulogne)
Toward New European Rules for Digital Players in the Internal Market GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon & Microsoft), the providers of core platform services, are dominating the digital market. In other words, globally, almost all digital services depend on GAFAM. This phenomenon was (...)

The EU Commission unveils sweeping proposals to regulate the digital sector
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Development: The European Commission ("EC") recently released two long-awaited legislative proposals, the Digital Services Act ("DSA") and Digital Markets Act ("DMA"), that would significantly increase the EC’s regulatory oversight of online platform companies (previewed in our (...)

The EU Commission publishes legislative proposals for the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act to regulate conducts in the digital sector including the power to impose fines
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 15 December, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its legislative proposals for the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) and the Digital Services Act (“DSA”). The proposals introduce new ex ante obligations for a wide range of firms active in the digital sphere, as well as significant new (...)

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 EU Commission publishes new obligations and sanctions for digital gatekeepers
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Brussels)
The debate about competition issues and unfair practices specific to online platforms and the appropriate tools to tackle them was taken a step further by the European Commission (‘Commission’), which presented two legislative proposals on 15 December 2020: The Digital Services Act (‘DSA’) and (...)

The EU Commission publishes a proposal of the Digital Markets Act to regulate the so-called "gatekeeper platforms"
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
Shaken, not stirred: EU mixes big tech regulation and antitrust* On December 15, 2020, the European Commission (EC) published its long-awaited legislative proposal to regulate so-called “gatekeeper platforms,” the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA will create a new framework to identify (...)

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 publishes proposals imposing obligations on providers of digital services and augmenting enforcement powers
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Geradin Partners (Brussels)
Yesterday, the European Commission published its proposals for the Digital Markets Act (“DMA Proposal”) and Digital Services Act (“DSA Proposal”), proposing new regulation of “intermediary services” and “designated gatekeepers”. The proposals would impose new obligations on providers of digital (...)

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 proposes regulation on a single market for digital services
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) presented a legislative package consisting of a proposed Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services (“Digital Services Act” or “DSA”), which creates new rules applicable to providers of online intermediary services, as well as a (...)

The EU Commission issues the proposed digital markets act aimed to complement antitrust intervention in digital markets with ex-ante regulation in the form of a set of obligations that platforms identified as “gatekeepers” should abide by
CRA International (London)
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Yale University - School of Management (New Haven)
The European Commission Digital Markets Act: A translation* The European Commission has finally issued the proposed Digital Markets Act, its bid to complement antitrust intervention in digital markets with ex-ante regulation in the form of a set of obligations that platforms identified as (...)

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 EU Commission publishes a report on the implementation of the 2014/104/EU Damages Directive
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
Almost exactly four years after the implementation deadline, the European Commission (the “EC”) has published a short report on 14 December 2020 on the implementation of its Directive 2014/104 (the “Damages Directive”) across the European Union (the “EU”). The primary aim of the Damages Directive (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on the implementation of the damages directive
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 14 December 2020, the European Commission published a report on the implementation of Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (“the Damages Directive”). Overall, the Commission is positive about the implementation of the Directive in the Member States, but the (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases preliminary issues and proposed scope for grocery study
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
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 Turkish Competition Authority publishes a decision ruling that state owned financial entities are under the Same Economic Unity (Gunes Sigorta / Vakifbank)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
On 9 December 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published a reasoned decision concerning an individual exemption application regarding two bancassurance agreements signed between (i) Güneş Sigorta A.Ş. (“Güneş Sigorta”) and Türkiye Vakıflar Bankası T.A.O. (“Vakıfbank”), (ii) Vakıf Emeklilik (...)

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 UK Competition Authority proposes national competition regime for large tech firms
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has advised the U.K. government to create additional competition rules for large tech firms and platforms: Large tech firms considered to have “strategic market status” (SMS) should be subject to an enforceable code of conduct to prevent (...)

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 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 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 Romanian Competition Authority publishes a study on big data
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 December 2020, the Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) published a study on the effects of Big Data on competition (the “Study”). The Study explains that the use of algorithmic models helps companies adjust their prices in real time, depending on changes in market demand. However, these (...)

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 Russian Competition Authority agrees on prices of producers for two scarce cancer medicines
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia has agreed on prices of producers for two scarce cancer medicines* The Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No 1771 approves the procedure for setting economically reasonable prices for medicines that are in short supply due to low registration prices “The purpose of (...)

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 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 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 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 Chinese SAMR promulgates the Anti-monopoly Guidelines for intellectual property rights providing a more detailed analytical framework for monopoly agreements and abuse of dominant position
King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
In 2020, SAMR promulgated the Anti-monopoly Guidelines for Intellectual Property Rights, i.e. IP Guidelines, which provide a more detailed analytical framework for monopoly agreements and abuse of dominant market position involving intellectual property: Definition of relevant market: The IP (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Italian Competition Authority opens fourteen investigations into a national dairy products distributor for alleged unfair practices to the detriment of the contributing farmers (As many dairies)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: fourteen investigations opened into as many dairies for alleged unfair practices to the detriment of the contributing farmers* The proceedings were initiated following reports by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies The Italian Competition Authority (Autorità (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority includes a transport company in the proceedings initiated against several undertakings that maintain and operate the national highway network (Ferrovial Servicios)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC includes Ferrovial Servicios in the disciplinary proceedings initiated against several companies that maintain and operate the national highway network* In 2019, the CNMC opened an investigation into some of the main companies in the sector for potential anti-trust practices. These (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority receives complaints involving the terms of national bank’s COVID-19 loans (ICO) Free
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC receives new complaints involving the terms of ICO COVID loans* It is continuing its investigation into various financial institutions to determine whether they engaged in unfair actions when granting ICO loans. The actions it is analysing include the cross-selling of products (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s judgment ruling that the allocation of broadcasting rights is not the result of an anticompetitive agreement between companies in the pay-TV sector (League/ Infront / Sky / Mediaset)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 28 December 2020, the Italian Supreme Administrative Court (Consiglio di Stato – "CDS") issued a judgment marking the last act in the national judicial dispute related to the assignment of the Lega Serie A (i.e. the main national professional league in Italy – "the League") broadcasting rights (...)

The Russian Competition Authority detects a cartel in the construction industry (SK Vershina / F-data / GRSK 33)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Moscow regional office of the fas Russia detected a cartel in the construction industry* The companies agreed not to reduce the price at 38 auctions. The total revenue of the cartel amounted to more than 373 million rubles The Moscow Regional Office of the FAS Russia recognized SK Vershina (...)

The Arbitration Court of Moscow upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to fine three construction companies involved in a cartel for price-fixing (Mostootryad-99 / Dorstroyotrayd-99 / SPA Dormost)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
DAGESTAN ROAD CARTEL WILL PAY A FINE OF 170 MILLION RUBLES* The arbitration court of Moscow upheld the decision of the FAS Russia on bringing to administrative responsibility Mostootryad-99 JSC, Dorstroyotrayd-99 LLC and scientific production association (SPA) Dormost LLC. It should be (...)

The German Competition Authority fines five aluminium forging companies and ten responsible individuals for price fixing (Otto Fuchs / Leiber / Emmingen-Liptingen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 December 2020, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had fined five aluminium forging companies and ten responsible individuals a total amount of approximately € 175 million for price fixing between April 2006 and April 2018. Automotive and motorcycle manufacturers and (...)

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 UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses the appeal of a Northern Irish producer against its £25.4 million fine for participating in a cartel concerning the supply of concrete drainage products (FPM)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
In October 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") imposed fines totalling £36 million on three Northern Irish concrete producers, including FP McCann ("FPM"), for participating in a cartel in relation to the supply of concrete drainage products between July 2006 and March 2013 (see (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal rejects concrete producer procedure-based appeal against concrete pipe cartel fine (FPM)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2020, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) rejected concrete producer FP McCann’s appeal of a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) fining it for its participation in a cartel in the supply of pre-cast concrete drainage products. FP McCann appealed the CMA’s (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes fines on six large retail food chains and two suppliers for price fixing, harmful to consumers (Modelo Continente / Pingo Doce / Auchan)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC imposed fines on six large retail food chains and two suppliers for price fixing, harmful to consumers* The decisions The AdC – Autoridade da Concorrência imposed a total fine of circa €304 million on six large food retail chains, two beverage suppliers, a board member and a director (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation into contracts for the establishment of a national telecommunications company (FiberCop)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: investigation launched into contracts for the establishment of FiberCop* Telecom Italia, Fastweb, Teemo Bidco, FiberCop, Tiscali Italia and KKR & Co. under investigation. According to the Authority, developing fibre telecommunication networks is crucial for the country Autorità (...)

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 Hungarian Competition Authority imposes a fine on the Association of human resources consulting agencies for restricting competition among its members (SZTMSZ)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
By decision of 18 December 2020, published on 1 February 2021, the Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) imposed a fine of HUF 1 billion (approximately € 2.8 million) on the Association of Hungarian HR Consulting Agencies (“SZTMSZ”) for a series of anti-competitive practices. The members of (...)

The Spanish Second-Instance Court reduces the overcharge in an appeal against a judgment awarding damages in the context of a follow-on action deriving from the EU Commission’s decision fining a cartel of trucks manufacturers (Iveco / Trucks cartel)
Ashurst (Madrid)
On 18 December 2020, a Spanish second-instance court (Audiencia Provincial de Asturias, "APA") issued a ruling partially endorsing an appeal brought by IVECO S.a.P. ("IVECO") against a judgment awarding damages to one of its customers in the context of a follow-on action deriving from the EU (...)

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 UK Competition Authority fines suppliers of groundworks products to the construction industry for coordinating their commercial activities (Vp plc / M.G.F.)
Ashurst (London)
On 17 December 2020, the CMA issued a decision finding that three UK-based suppliers of groundworks products to the UK construction industry had illegally colluded in order to reduce competition and maintain or increase prices, in breach of Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 (...)

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 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 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 UK Competition Authority fines two groundworks suppliers for cartel activity (Vp plc / M.G.F.)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 December 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued an infringement decision fining two companies which supply groundworks products Vp plc and M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd more than £ 11.2 million and £ 3.7 million, respectively, for illegal collusion. In its (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a decision regarding the purchase of offices and determines that the commitments made by two supermarket chains are binding (Carrefour / Tesco)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité issues a new decision concerning purchasing offices and makes the commitments made by Carrefour and Tesco binding* The retailers commit to reducing the scope of their joint purchases for their own-brand labels and take measures to ensure that SMEs have access to tenders for the (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority adopts a stricter position toward resale price maintenance concerning online sales (Markslöjd)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 December 2020, Markslöjd AB, a supplier of lighting products, accepted to pay a fine of SEK 1,780,000 for resale price maintenance. The Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) found that Markslöjd AB had violated competition law by entering into agreements with one of its resellers to fix (...)

The EU General Court issues a judgment stating that an international skating union may apply a prior authorisation system for third party events only if the applicable rules and procedures are fair transparent and proportionate (International Skating Union)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 16 December 2020 the General Court of the European Union (the "Court") issued an important ruling in the International Skating Union ("ISU") case. While accepting that sports governing bodies may apply a prior authorisation system for third party events to ensure that all sports competitions (...)

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 Australian Competition Authority fines and convicts a former general manager of a national steel producing company for obstructing a cartel investigation (BlueScope Steel)
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
In December 2020, Jason Ellis, a former general manager of sales and marketing at BlueScope Steel Limited ("BlueScope"), was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment (suspended) and ordered to pay a A$10,000 fine, for inciting the obstruction of an investigation by the Australian Competition and (...)

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 (Brussels)
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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 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 Norwegian Competition Authority warns in a statement of objections that it is considering imposing fines on three grocery store chains for collusion leading to higher prices (Norgesgruppen / Coop / Rema 1000)
Norwegian Competition Authority
Anticompetitive practices may have led to higher grocery prices* The Norwegian Competition Authority warns in a Statement of Objections that it is considering imposing fines totaling 21 billion NOK on Norgesgruppen, Coop and Rema 1000. The Authority’s preliminary assessment is that the three (...)

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 Finnish Market Court confirms that an association of driving schools has breached competition law by issuing price recommendations which sought to increase the price level of driving lessons (Uusimaa association of driving schools)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 15 December 2020, the Market Court agreed with the submission of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority ("FCCA"), that the regional association of driving schools in Finland’s most populous region, Uusimaa, ("Association") as well as the Association’s Board members, had breached (...)

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 Italian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the annulment of the National Competition Authority decision to fine broadcasters for an alleged anti-competitive agreement in the pay-TV service sector (Mediaset / Sky Italia / Italian Football League / Infront)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Milan)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 12 December 2020, Italy’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, upheld the annulment of the Italian Competition Authority’s ("ICA") decision to fine broadcasters Mediaset and Sky Italia, the Italian Football League, and marketing agency Infront a total of €66m for an alleged (...)

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 Danish Competition Authority publishes new guidelines on joint bidding
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 December 2020, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (“DCA”) published new guidelines on joint bidding consortia under the title “When companies bid jointly – guidelines for joint bidding under competition law” (the “New Guidelines”). The New Guidelines replace the Guidelines on Joint (...)

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 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 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 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 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 annuls the Commission decision on a pay TV service company’s commitments for breaching the principle of proportionality (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal +)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On December 9, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union granted Canal+’s application to annul the European Commission’s decision under Article 9 of Regulation No. 1/2003 to adopt commitments offered by Paramount (the “Commitments Decision”). The commitments prohibited Paramount from (...)

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 Japanese FTC brings criminal accusations with suspicion of bid-rigging against four wholesalers in the pharmaceutical sector (Alfresa / Mediceo / Suzuken / Toho)
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
On December 9, 2020, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) brought criminal accusations with regard to bid-rigging involving pharmaceutical products ordered by the Japan Community Healthcare Organization (“JCHO”). Three pharmaceutical wholesalers and seven individuals were indicted. According (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a Commission’s decision accepting legally binding commitments offered by a company aimed at addressing an investigation into cross-border pay-TV in the EU (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal +)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 9 December 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) annulled a European Commission decision accepting legally binding commitments offered by Paramount aimed at addressing a Commission investigation into cross-border pay-TV in the EU (the “Paramount Commitment Decision”). The CJEU also set (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets aside a judgment of the General Court upholding a 2016 EU Commission’s decision to make binding commitments offered by an American film studio on cross-border pay-TV services (Paramount)
Ashurst (London)
On 9 December 2020, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") set aside a judgment of the General Court upholding a 2016 decision by the European Commission ("Commission") to make binding commitments offered by Paramount on cross-border pay-TV services. This is the first time that a commitment (...)

The Czech Competition Authority imposes fines for IT cartel agreement (Autocont / Tesco / Asseco Central Europe)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
Office imposed fines for IT cartel agreement in total amount of CSK 75 million* By its first-instance decision of 7 December 2020, the Office for the Protection of Competition imposed fines in the total amount of CZK 74,622,000 on AUTOCONT a.s., TESCO SW a.s., ICZ a.s., MERIT GROUP a.s., (...)

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 EU Court of Justice annuls commission’s settlement decision for its failure to consider adverse effects on third party interests (Paramount / Sky / Groupe Canal +)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 December 2020, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) upheld Canal +’s appeal against the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment that had upheld the Commission’s commitments decision in the Paramount case, and annulled the GC’s judgment as well as the Commission decision (Case C-132/19 P). The ECJ, (...)

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 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 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 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 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 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 Singaporean Competition Authority reduces fines by 20% to 70% imposed on distributors of fresh chicken engaged in a cartel (Gold Chic Poultry / Hua Kun / Toh Thye San Farm / Lee Say...)
Ashurst (Singapore)
On 4 December 2020, Singapore’s Competition Appeal Board (CAB) reduced penalties imposed on eight out of thirteen distributors of fresh chicken found to have engaged in cartel conduct in September 2018. The reduction in fines ranged from 20% to 70%. What you need to know - key takeaways While (...)

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 French Competition Authority fines high-end tea producer for restricting its retailers’ ability to set online prices (Dammann Frères)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a decision published on 3 December 2020, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined tea producer Dammann Frères (“Dammann”) € 226,000 for violating Article 101 TFEU and its French law equivalent by restricting the ability of its retailers to set online prices. The FCA found that Dammann (...)

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 Paris Court of Appeal preserves the presumption of innocence but upholds the fines imposed by the Competition Authority on German chemical company (Brenntag / Deutsche Bahn)
Ashurst (Paris)
On 3 December 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal ("Court") confirmed the fines imposed by the French Competition Authority ("FCA") in 2013 on the German chemical distributor Brenntag, and its former parent company Deutsche Bahn, of EUR 47 million and EUR 5.2 million respectively for participating (...)

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 (Dusseldorf)
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 German Competition Authority dismisses a crop protection producer’s claim for state liability against Federal Cartel Office (BayWa)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 December 2020, the Regional Court of Bonn (“Court”) dismissed a claim of € 72.8 million by crop protection producer BayWa against the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”). BayWa argued that the FCO had violated its procedural rights, in particular the principle of equal treatment, in the (...)

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 (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Lithuanian Competition Authority terminates investigation into real estate ads company for alleged abuse of dominant position (Diginet LTU)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Lithuanian Competition Authority terminates investigation into real estate ads prices* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has terminated the investigation into the actions of Diginet LTU, the owner of classified real estate ads websites, without finding that the company (...)

The Japanese FTC and the Government propose draft guidelines for business collaboration between large companies and startups for the purpose of promoting open innovation and ensuring fair and free competitive environments
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
On December 23, 2020, the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ("METI") proposed a draft of Guidelines for Business Collaboration with Startups ("Guidelines") for the purpose of promoting open innovation and ensuring fair and free competitive (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority confirms the opening of an investigation against pharmaceutical firms (Leadiant Biosciences Spa / Leadiant Biosciences LTD)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Reports that Leadiant is also in the crosshairs of the Spanish competition authority were confirmed today. The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia announced that it started formal proceedings against Leadiant Biosciences Spa and Leadiant Biosciences LTD on the grounds that these (...)

The Spanish Competition authority initiates proceedings against two pharmaceutical companies for abuse of dominant position ((Leadiant Biosciences SPA / Leadiant Biosciences LTD))
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against Leadiant Biosciences Spa and Leadiant Biosciences LTD for alleged practices prohibited by the Antitrust Law It is investigating a potential abuse of their dominant market position in Spain involving the manufacture and supply of the drug (...)

The Italian Competition Authority condemns a ticketing and marketing company for committing exclusionary abuse (TicketOne)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2020, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of around € 10.8 million on several companies belonging to the ticketing and marketing for music company, CTS Eventim-TicketOne group (“TicketOne”) for abuse of its dominant position on the Italian market for the sale of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines main national ticket operator €10.9 million for abuse of dominant position (TicketOne)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 22 December 2020, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) issued an important decision fining CTS Eventim €10.9 million for having implemented an unlawful exclusive strategy in the Italian market of pop music events ticket sellers. In September 2018, the AGCM launched an investigation (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a national ticket operator for abuse of dominant position in the entertainment sector (TicketOne)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
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Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
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Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
TicketOne S.p.A. (hereinafter "TicketOne") is the leading company in Italy in ticketing, marketing, information and e-commerce services, with specific reference to live music events. TicketOne is controlled by CTS Eventim AG & Co. KGaA, which holds 99.65% of the share capital. CTS Eventim (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority brings the first case on abuse of substantial market power to the Competition Tribunal (Linde)
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission brings first case on abuse of substantial market power to Competition Tribunal* The Competition Commission (“Commission”) has today filed a case in the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) against Linde HKO Limited (“Linde HKO”) and Linde GmbH (collectively referred to as “Linde” (...)

The Croatian Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision fining fruits and vegetables company for imposition of unfair trading practices (Fragaria)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
UTPS: Administrative court upholds CCA decision sanctioning Fragaria 350,000 kuna for imposition of unfair trading practices* On 16 December 2020 the Administrative Court in Zagreb completely rejected the statement of claim of the re-seller Fragaria d.o.o. in the administrative dispute (...)

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 in order to secure the affordable supply of a key drug (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 Italian Competition Authority fines American crowdfunding platform for unfair commercial practices (GoFundMe)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: 1.5 million fine to GoFundMe for unfair commercial practices* The fundraising platform has provided misleading information on the absence of costs as to making donations and has preset the commission in its favor with the possibility of modifying it after several steps that are not always (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts the commitments of a pharmaceutical company to continue supplying a bipolar medicine to the national market (Essential Pharma)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 December 2020, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced that it had accepted Essential Pharma’s commitments to continue supplying a bipolar medicine to the UK market. Essential Pharma is a supplier of both Priadel and Camcolit, long-term treatments for individuals (...)

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 Luxembourg Competition Authority’s president rejects a request for interim measures in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis (Bionext / Laboratoire National de Santé) Free
Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
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Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
I. Introduction On 17 December 2020, the President of the Luxembourg Competition Council (hereinafter the “President”) rendered a decision on a request for interim measures requested by the laboratory Bionext S.A. (hereinafter “Bionext”) against the Laboratoire National de Santé (hereinafter (...)

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 Spanish Competition Authority opens an investigation against a national football federation for abuse of dominant position (RFEF)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Ecija & Asociados (Madrid)
The sale and use of audio-visual football rights in Spain has always been in the spotlight due to frequent controversies between the Spanish Football Federation (“RFEF”), the national professional football league (“LaLiga”) and the football clubs. At a national level, LaLiga organises the first (...)

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)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
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 Attorney General (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 US FTC settles allegations that a real-time communications platform offering a videoconferencing software has engaged in a series of unfair practices and requires it to enhance its security procedures (Zoom) Free
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) gained enough popularity to attract the FTC’s attention, including to its security practices. The FTC-Zoom settlement announced on November 9, 2020, which requires Zoom to implement a robust information security program, marked (...)

Mergers

The UK Government and the EU Commission publish a trade and cooperation act trying to control and provide a framework for regulatory divergence
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement will govern the future relationship of the UK and the EU. This article will examine some key areas to note for Competition law, reviewing important changes to state aid regulation and the Competition and Market Authority’s ("CMA") function. Introduction The (...)

The UK Government and the EU Commission agree on a trade and cooperation act detailing the applicability of both merger control regimes after Brexit
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 1 January 2021, with the end of the Brexit transition period, the UK entered the real world of Brexit. This has immediate implications for merger control both in the UK and the EU. Any companies involved in deals need to be aware of the impact. As of 1 January 2021 the EU Merger Regulation (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears national chemicals company’ acquisition of paint and coating manufacturer with remedies (Pigments / Ferro)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC clears Pigments’ acquisition of Ferro with remedies* The merger affects the ceramic tile sector, which has a long tradition in Spain and is a significant international economic activity. Before approving the purchase, the CNMC conducted a market test and paid special attention to the (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority secures its second merger block in 2020 as €360 million healthcare deal is abandoned during the Market Court proceeding (Mehiläinen / Pihlajalinna)
White & Case (Brussels)
An exceptional year in Finnish merger control came to an end on 29 December 2020 when the Finnish Market Court announced its decision concerning the Finnish Competition Authority’s (the FCCA) proposal to prohibit the merger between healthcare firms Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna. After the oral (...)

The Czech Competition Authority imposes fine for gun-jumping on mobility company (Skyport / CSG)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The Office imposed a fine for gun-jumping in the csg/skyport case* The Office for the Protection of Competition (“the Office”) imposed a fine of CZK 4,487,000 on Skyport, a. s. (formerly CSG a.s.) for unapproved implementation of concentration before its clearance by the Office. The decision has (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the acquisition of certain assets and securities of national restaurant chain by the holding company of a steakhouse chain (Courtepaille / Buffalo Grill)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of certain assets and securities of the Courtepaille Group by the holding company of Buffalo Grill Group* The company Antelope Acquisition 2, which owns Buffalo Grill Group, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its planned takeover of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears acquisition of glass products manufacturer by pigments company, subject to divestment commitments (Ferro / Pigments Spain)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC clears acquisition of Ferro Corporation by Pigments Spain, subject to divestment commitments* The AdC – Portuguese Competition Authority has decided to clear the proposed acquisition of Ferro Corporation (Ferro), subject to commitments by the acquiring undertaking, Pigments Spain, SL. The (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority closes investigation into Swedish refrigeration company’s acquisitions of national refrigeration products provider (Beijer / Heatcraft)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission closes investigation into Beijer acquisitions* The Commerce Commission has closed its investigation into Beijer Ref AB’s 2018 acquisition of Heatcraft New Zealand Limited, and its 2019 acquisition (via its subsidiary Kirby NZ Limited) of a right to import hydrofluorobcarbons (...)

The US FTC imposes conditions on wine and spirits maker’s acquisition of assets from a competitor (E. & J. Gallo Winery / Constellation Brands)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Imposes Conditions on E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Acquisition of Assets from Constellation Brands, Inc.* Wine and spirits maker E. & J. Gallo Winery has agreed to divest several product lines and remove certain others from its asset purchase agreement with competitor Constellation (...)

The Icelandic Competition Authority announces that a national audiobook and e-book streaming and publishing company withdrew the merger notification regarding its acquisition of publishing house (Storytel / Forlagið)
Icelandic Competition Authority
Storytel AB withdraws merger notification regarding its acquisition of a 70% share in Forlagið The Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA) has recently had under investigation Storytel AB’s proposed acquisition of 70% of Forlagið’s share capital, but the merging parties notified the merger in (...)

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 German Competition Authority clears a proposed purchase of up to 92 stores of a food retail sales division subject to conditions (Kaufland / Real)
University of Konstanz
Introduction In December 2020, The German Antitrust Authority has conditionally authorized the purchase of up to 92 stores of the food retail sales division of Real by Kaufland. The decision exemplifies how to correctly deal with economic idiosyncrasies of buyer power in merger analysis. The (...)

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 German Competition Authority clears two acquisitions of hypermarkets by two food retail chains subject to conditions (Kaufland / Globus)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Kaufland can acquire 92 Real stores subject to conditions – Globus can acquire 24 Real stores* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the acquisition of up to 92 Real stores by Kaufland, which is part of the Schwarz Group, from SCP Retail S.àr.l., subject to conditions. The authority has at the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority applies a COVID-19 related provision to clear a merger in the postal sector (Poste Italiane / Nexive) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2020, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) cleared the incumbent postal firm Poste Italiane’s (“PI”) acquisition of the sole control over its main rival Nexive Group (“Nexive”). The ICA did not apply the usual merger control rules in this case, but rather cleared the transaction (...)

The US FTC issues commentary on vertical merger enforcement explaining the approach to assessing the competitive effects of vertical mergers
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On December 22, 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) issued a Commentary on Vertical Merger Enforcement. This follows the recent issuance of revised Vertical Merger Guidelines published jointly by the FTC and Department of Justice (the “Agencies”) on June 30, 2020. While the Guidelines (...)

The US FTC publishes commentary on vertical merger enforcement to provide greater transparency to the public regarding its analysis of vertical mergers
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 22 December 2020, on a divided vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or the Commission) issued a Commentary on Vertical Merger Enforcement (FTC Commentary) to provide “greater transparency to the public regarding its analysis of vertical mergers.” Following the FTC and Department of (...)

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 German Competition Authority authorises a proposed joint venture company to run a digital healthcare platform for the purchase and ordering of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines (Phoenix / Noventi)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Bundeskartellamt, the German competition authority (BKA), authorised today under German merger control rules a proposed joint venture company (JV) to run a digital healthcare platform for the purchase and ordering of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other functions such (...)

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 French Government extends COVID-19 interim rules on foreign investments and rejects the American industrial conglomerate’s acquisition of national optronic technologies firm (Teledyne / Photonis) Free
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
France Extends COVID-19 Interim Rules on Foreign Investments and Vetoes Teledyne’s Acquisition of Photonis* On December 18, 2020, French Minister for the Economy (MoE) Bruno Lemaire announced that the COVID-19 interim rules on foreign investment control (interim rules) — which were issued on (...)

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 French Government rejects the American industrial conglomerate’s acquisition of a national optronic technologies firm (Photonis / Teledyne)
Delcade Avocats & Solicitors (Paris)
French veto to the acquisition of Photonis par Teledyne* Applying legislative and regulatory measures to control foreign investments in France, the French Government has banned the American Teledyne from buying French Photonis. 1. France established a scheme for controlling investments made (...)

The French Government announces that the COVID-19 interim rules on foreign investment control will be extended Free
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
On December 18, 2020, French Minister for the Economy (MoE) Bruno Lemaire announced that the COVID-19 interim rules on foreign investment control (interim rules) — which were issued on July 23, 2020, and were set to expire December 31, 2020 — will be extended to December 31, 2021. The interim (...)

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 French Government rejects the acquisition by an American firm of a medium-sized company specialized in the development of technologies and the production of light equipment (Photonis / Teledyne)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Paris)
On December 18, 2020, the French authorities officially vetoed the proposed acquisition of Photonis, a leading French optronic technologies firm, by the U.S. group Teledyne. While Teledyne is an important business partner to France and employs 850 people in the country, Ms. Parly stated that (...)

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 EU Commission clears subject to conditions the acquisition of a healthcare devices manufacturer by a US tech giant (Fitbit / Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 December 2020, following a Phase II investigation, the Commission approved Google’s acquisition of Fitbit subject to commitments. Fitbit is an American company that develops and sells wearable fitness devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, as well as related software and (...)

The EU Commission finds no gun-jumping in a merger in the water and waste management market and clarifies the scope of the public bid exemption to the standstill obligation (Veolia / Suez)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Paris)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
In the midst of the Homeric battle between Veolia and its takeover target, Suez, the European Commission rejects Suez’s gun-jumping claim and provides further clarifications on the scope of the exemption to the standstill obligation in the case of two-step acquisitions encompassing a public bid. (...)

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 Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation fines internet companies for failures to notify past transactions (Alibaba / China Literature / Shenzhen)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Shanghai)
On 14 December 2020, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) imposed fines against three internet based companies Alibaba Investment Limited, China Literature Limited and Shenzhen Hive-box Network Technology for respective failures to notify past transactions under the merger (...)

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 to 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 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)
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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 Israeli Competition Authority examines 21 national start-ups that were acquired by giant technology companies and submits the findings to the OECD
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
Are there ‘Killer Acquisitions’ in Israel?* The Israel Competition Authority examined what happened to 21 Israeli “start-ups” that were acquired by giant technology companies the findings were submitted to the OECD The digital economy giants provide new challenges to competition authorities (...)

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 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 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 a proposed acquisition of a competitor by a hospital in the healthcare sector (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 German Government prohibits the acquisition of a telecommunication company by a Chinese buyer under the foreign direct investment rules (IMST / Addsino)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
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Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
On 2 December 2020, the German government prohibited the acquisition of German company IMST GmbH, Kamp-Lintfort (“IMST”) by a Chinese investor. This is the second high profile prohibition decision issued by the German government this year on the grounds of Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) rules. (...)

The German Government prohibits the acquisition of a communications technology company by a Chinese communication product manufacturer (IMST / Addsino)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Foreign investment control has become a key factor in M&A deals and 2020 has been an eventful year. A large number of economies have introduced foreign investment control regimes or tightened their existing rules. Now it appears that it is time to make use of them: this week Germany has (...)

The German Government prohibits the acquisition of a telecommunications company by a Chinese industrial group on the basis of the foreign trade and payments ordinance (IMST / Addsino)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 December 2020, the German Government prohibited on public security grounds the sale of the German Institut für Mobil-und Satellitenfunktechnik (“IMST”), a specialist in satellite and communications technologies, to Addsino, a subsidiary of State-owned defence group China Aero- space Science (...)

The US FTC approves prosthetics manufacturer’s application to divest assets it gained through the acquisition of prosthetics company (Otto Bock / Freedom)
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 UK Competition Authority publishes its merger guidelines addressing the effect on the end of the Brexit transition period
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 December 2020, the Commission published a readiness notice addressing the effect of the end of the Brexit Transition Period on EU antitrust and merger review. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its own guidance document on 1 December 2020. While the UK officially (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission and the UK Government agree on post-Brexit State Aid law in their Trade and Cooperation Agreement
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
State aid remained one of the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations right until the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA") on Christmas Eve 2020. One of the key priorities of the European Union ("EU") during the negotiations was to secure a "level playing field" on (...)

The UK Government and the EU Commission issue a trade and cooperation agreement clarifying the subsidy control regime following the end of the Brexit transition period
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The EU State aid regime in its current form ceased to be applicable in the UK as at the end of 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period expired. Going forward, State aid or “subsidy control” in the UK will be based on the subsidy control chapter under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation (...)

The UK Government and the EU Commission issue a Trade and Cooperation agreement providing a set of substantive and procedural rules on subsidy control
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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University of Tilburg
On 24 December 2020, the EU and the UK concluded the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”). The TCA, which is still subject to formal ratification by the EU, has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. One of the major issues of contention in the negotiations was to what extent (...)

The EU Commission approves €73 million of Italian support to compensate national airline for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak (Alitalia) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €73 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found €73.02 million of Italian support in favour of Alitalia to be in line with EU State aid rules. This measure aims at (...)

The EU Commission approves €2.9 billion Polish scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises due to the Covid-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.9 billion Polish scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved an approximately €2.9 billion (PLN 13 billion) Polish State aid scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized (...)

The EU Commission approves €120 million Greek support to compensate national airline company for damages suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Aegean Airlines) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €120 million Greek support to compensate Aegean Airlines for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found a Greek grant of €120 million to Aegean Airlines to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure aims at compensating the (...)

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 EFTA Surveillance Authority reports on the increased State aid spending on research, development and innovation in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
Annual Scoreboard: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway increase state aid spending on research, development and innovation* The EEA EFTA States have increased their combined spending on state aid, according to the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s (ESA) latest annual State Aid Scoreboard. The (...)

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 issues its State aid guidance on national recovery and resilience plans and makes it clear that all investment projects must comply with State aid rules Free
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Paris)
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Jones Day (Madrid)
In Short The Situation: The European Commission has launched its largest ever stimulus package to support recovery of EU economies from the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented economic and social disruption. Each EU Member State must submit a recovery plan and funding requests for Commission (...)

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 €2.58 million compensation to a concert hall and conference center 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 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 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 adopts revised emissions trading system State aid guidelines
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 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 EU Commission approves amended Estonian scheme worth €450 million to support the production of electricity from renewable sources
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves amended Estonian scheme worth €450 million to support production of electricity from renewable sources* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, the modification of the existing aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority clears amendments to the 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 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 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 EU Commission authorises pan-European guarantee fund for companies affected by the Covid-19 outbreak Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 December 2020, the Commission authorised the creation of a € 25 billion Pan-European Guarantee Fund managed by the European Investment Bank (“EIB”) to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The creation of this Pan-European Guarantee Fund (the “Fund”) was endorsed by 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 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 Montenegrin Competition Authority opens an investigation into state aid granted by the government to a state-owned shipping company (Crnogorska plovidba)
BDK (Podgorica)
Following the decision on opening investigation into alleged illegal state aid to Montenegrin airline company Montenegro Airlines, which led to grounding of its airplanes and termination of transport operations in December 2020, the Montenegrin Agency for Protection of Competition (“Agency“) has (...)

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 EU Commission decides that a State guarantee can bridge the funding gap of an infrastructure project in the energy sector (LNG Terminal)
College of Europe (Bruges)
State Guarantee to an Energy Project* A state guarantee can bridge the funding gap of an infrastructure project. Introduction State aid rules allow energy infrastructure projects to be supported by as much aid as is necessary to bridge their “funding gap”; i.e. the difference between the (...)

The EU Commission concludes that the Portuguese Madeira Free Zone (“Zona Franca da Madeira”) scheme is not implemented in line with approved conditions
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission concludes that the Madeira Free Zone (“Zona Franca da Madeira”) scheme not implemented in line with approved conditions* The European Commission has found that the implementation of the Madeira Free Zone aid scheme (Regime III) in Portugal is not in line with the (...)

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 Court of Justice AG Kokott thinks the Commission is right to consider that the Belgian practice of making downward adjustments to the profits of undertakings forming part of multinational groups constitutes an aid scheme (Magnetrol International)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Tax rulings: According to Advocate General Kokott, the Commission was right to consider that the Belgian practice of making downward adjustments to profits of undertakings forming part of multinational groups constituted an aid scheme* The judgment of the General Court of the European Union to (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott suggests annulling the judgment of the General Court and provides guidance on the concept of “aid scheme” in cases of tax rulings (Magnetrol International)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 December 2020, Advocate General Kokott delivered her opinion on the appeal brought against the judgment of the General Court in case Belgium and Magnetrol International v Commission (Cases T-131/16 and T-263/16) of 14 February 2019 (the “Judgment under appeal”), which had annulled Commission (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott discusses the criteria to consider consistent administrative practices as aid schemes under Article 1(d) of Regulation 2015/1589 (Magnetrol International)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
,
Liège University (Liège)
On 3 December 2020, Advocate General (AG) Kokott delivered her Opinion on whether an administrative practice of the Belgian tax authorities could fall within the notion of “aid scheme” as provided in Article 1(d) of Regulation 2015/1589, of 13 July 2015, laying down detailed rules for the (...)

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 State compensation granted by Italy to national postal service for its universal service obligation (Poste Italiane)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves State compensation granted by Italy to Poste Italiane for its universal postal service obligation* The European Commission has found the compensation granted by Italy to Poste Italiane to fulfil its public service mission (so-called ‘universal service obligation’ (...)

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 (...)

Procedures

The Turkish Administrative Court renders decisions setting the bar for the standard of proof for abuse of dominance (Sahibinden.com) (Enerjisa)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
In 2019 and 2020, Turkish administrative courts handed down noteworthy judgments concerning two particular decisions of the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”). In both of these cases, namely the (i) Sahibinden Bilgi Teknolojileri Pazarlama ve Tic. A.Ş. (“Sahibinden”) judgment rendered by the Ankara (...)

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 Government publishes a green paper proposing fundamental reforms of the public procurement rules governing the purchase of goods, works and services by the public sector and certain utilities
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The UK Government has published a Green Paper proposing fundamental reforms of the public procurement rules governing the purchase of goods, works and services by the public sector and certain utilities. Those rules are currently set out in a series of UK regulations that are based very (...)

The UK Government publishes green paper on transforming public procurement
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Morgan Lewis (New York)
The UK government published a Green Paper on December 15 that includes proposals to shape the future of public procurement in the United Kingdom by speeding up and simplifying public sector procurement processes. When the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union it had to comply with (...)

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)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
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 sends back to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal a £14 billion class action lawsuit against a credit card company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 December 2020, the UK’s Supreme Court sent a planned £ 14 billion class action lawsuit against Mastercard back to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) for review. This is the first collective proceedings case of this kind to reach the Supreme Court and it addresses important questions (...)

The UK Supreme Court clarifies low bar for class action certification (Merricks / Mastercard)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
On 11 December 2020, the U.K. Supreme Court (the Court) handed down its much-awaited ruling in Merricks v Mastercard, dismissing Mastercard’s appeal against the English Court of Appeal’s April 2019 decision in a 3-2 ruling. The main aspects of the decision are explained below: This ruling (...)

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)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
,
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 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 lowers the bar on certification for collective actions by dismissing a credit card company’s appeal (Merricks / Mastercard)
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
In a highly anticipated ruling, the UK Supreme Court has dismissed Mastercard’s appeal against the principles established by the Court of Appeal (on appeal from the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT")) in relation to the approval of class actions by the CAT. The case will now be remitted to (...)

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)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
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 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)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
,
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 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)
,
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)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
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 UK Supreme Court gives guidance on collective proceedings in competition appeal tribunal in the financial services sector (Merricks / Mastercard)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
,
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 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 Australian High Court dismisses the Competition Authority’s appeal regarding a merger between two national rail transportation companies (Pacific National)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC’s Pacific National appeal will not be heard by the High Court* The High Court of Australia has today dismissed the ACCC’s application for special leave to appeal from the Full Federal Court’s decision that Pacific National’s acquisition of the Acacia Ridge terminal from Aurizon (ASX: AZJ) (...)

The US Congress passes federal protections for whistleblowers who report criminal antitrust violations
Morgan Lewis (New York)
,
Morgan Lewis (Boston)
,
Morgan Lewis (Silicon Valley)
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act establishes new federal protections for whistleblowers who report violations of antitrust laws. This may impact enforcement efforts and litigation on labor mobility issues, including no-poaching and wage-fixing agreements. Companies can prepare for (...)

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 (...)

Regulatory

The US Senate passes the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act which prohibits employers from retaliating against certain individuals
GeyerGorey (Washington)
An Update on Criminal Antitrust Whistleblower Legislation* On Dec. 23, 2020, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (the “Act”), finally became law. The legislation had passed in the Senate several times previously but until this last Congress, had never been brought up for a vote in the (...)

The US Congress creates a new protection for antitrust whistleblowers
Bona Law (San Diego)
Congress Creates New Protections for Antitrust Whistleblowers* Over a year after it was first passed by the Senate, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act finally became law in December 2020. The new law protects employees who report criminal antitrust violations such as price fixing or (...)

The EU Commission launches a public consultation as part of the ongoing review of the vertical block exemption regulation
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 December 2020, the Commission launched a public consultation as part of the ongoing review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) and its accompanying Vertical Guidelines. Based on the recently completed evaluation, the Commission concluded that, while the rules are still (...)

The EU Commission publishes consultation on vertical block exemption regulation policy options
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 18 December 2020 the Commission published a further consultation on its proposals for a revised vertical agreements block exemption Regulation (VBER) and guidelines. The Commission’s steps to date, and conclusions of its evaluation phase, are set out in our HSF Notes post from 17 September (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority seeks feedback on funding to improve work in regulated sectors
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
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 Danish Government proposes a new competition act entailing several extensive and intrusive changes to the current one as a part of the implementation of the ECN+ directive
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
As a part of the implementation of the ECN+ Directive, a new competition act has been proposed by the Danish Government. The proposed competition act entails several extensive and intrusive changes to the current competition act. Accordingly, companies should be aware that these amendments will (...)

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)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
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)
,
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 UK Competition Authority publishes report setting out recommendations which the Government could implement to regulate technology firms in a way that promotes competition in digital markets
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
In December 2020, the CMA’s Digital Markets Taskforce (DMT) published its report setting out 15 recommendations which the UK Government could implement to regulate technology firms with ‘strategic market status’ (SMS) in a way that promotes competition, innovation and protects consumers and (...)

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 (...)

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