The French Competition Council finds the incumbent rail operator guilty of implementing discriminatory practices in favor of its online travel subsidiaries and for entering into an anti-competitive partnership (SNCF /Expedia)

I. Facts The French rail operator SNCF enjoys a legal monopoly on passenger rail transport. However, train tickets themselves are sold through three main distribution channels : SNCF's physical sales points as well as its merchant website operated by its VSC subsidiary (which altogether account for 81% of total sales), travel agencies and tour operators. In September 2001, SNCF and Expedia established a joint venture called GL Expedia (now called Agence VSC) with a view to providing online travel agency services. Three online travel agencies filed complaints with the Competition Council that SNCF and Expedia had implemented anticompetitive practices. Upon investigation, two types of unlawful practices were identified : 1) An anti-competitive agreement between SNCF and Expedia

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Authors

  • Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)

Quotation

Noëlle Lenoir, Marie-Laure Combet, The French Competition Council finds the incumbent rail operator guilty of implementing discriminatory practices in favor of its online travel subsidiaries and for entering into an anti-competitive partnership (SNCF /Expedia), 5 February 2009, e-Competitions Bulletin February 2009, Art. N° 25714

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