February 2020

General antitrust

The Italian Government adopts a collective action reform which aims at redesigning proceedings beyond consumer law
University of Trento
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University of Turin
Introduction The new Italian collective action regime was adopted by law 12 April 2019, no. 31, but – after a further postponement occurred at the end of 2019 – it is now set to come into force on 19 November 2020. In particular, the remedy will only be available for claims filed after such (...)

The EU Commission confirms the Parliament and Council’s procurement directive to answer the question of COVID-19 may affect the use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication and amending contracts during their term Free
Bird & Bird (Finland)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has in a short time driven the whole world into a state of emergency. The pandemic may cause situations for which contracting authorities cannot have prepared for in advance. In this article, we will look at the question of how COVID-19 may affect the use of the (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority publishes a report analysis on the number of bidders and the level of litigation in Swedish public procurement
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
A new research report analyses the number of bidders and the level of litigation in Swedish public procurement* The focus of the report is to identify key determinants of competition and litigation in Swedish public procurement and provide some guidelines to support the contracting authorities (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance with practical advice for project directors and managers on how to avoid bid rigging and cartel activity in the construction market
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
The recently published Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidance provides practical advice on how to avoid bid rigging and cartel activity. The guidance warns that construction directors, managers and suppliers should be aware that bid rigging can take many forms, for example: bid (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its contribution to the competition policy debate in light of the digital economy challenge
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité publishes its contribution to the debate on competition policy and the challenges raised by the digital economy* The Autorité de la concurrence publishes its contribution to the debate on competition policy in light of the challenges arising from the digital economy. It is thus (...)

The EU Commission imposes a €6.7 million fine on a Spanish hotel group for restrictions on cross-border sales of hotel accommodations by including discriminatory clauses in its agreements with tour operators (Meliá)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 February 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced its decision to fine Spanish hotel group Meliá € 6,678,000 for including clauses in its agreements with tour operators that discriminated between consumers based on their country of residence. According to the Commission’s (...)

The EU Commission fines hotel group for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators (Meliá)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines hotel group Meliá €6.7 million for discriminating between customers* The European Commission has fined Spanish hotel group Meliá €6 678 000 for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators. These clauses discriminate consumers within the European (...)

EIG: The Paris Court of Appeal dismisses the action of a radio-taxi economic interest grouping in Antibes Juan Les Pins against the decision of the French Competition Authority having fined the grouping for a local dimension practice having consisted in non-objectives, non-transparent and discriminatory accessing conditions to the economic interest grouping (GIE Radio Taxi Antibes - Juan Les Pins)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
We know that most taxis dare to do anything and that is what they are known for. Even in the courtroom. The latest proof of this is the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal of 20 February 2020 in the very local case, but so much elsewhere verifiable, of the GIE de radio-taxi in (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority opens investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products and conducts dawn raids in the sector (Waste buyers cartel)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM conducts investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is conducting an investigation into a possible buyer cartel involving certain reusable waste products. As part of this investigation, ACM conducted (...)

The US DoJ confirms it has opened multiple new criminal investigations with its Procurement Collusion Strike Force
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
A senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently confirmed that the Antitrust Division has opened multiple grand jury investigations in connection with the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (“Strike Force”) formed in November of last year. Speaking at a conference on February (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority fines polyethylene gloves providers for price coordination and bid-rigging in the health sector (Galeno / Holiday)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions polyethylene gloves providers for coordinating their prices and discounts bids in public procurement in the health sector*  The Commission proved the responsibility of Galeno and Holiday in the execution of absolute monopolistic practices, also known as collusive agreements or (...)

The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal confirms that a company on which no fine is imposed could still be able to appeal the infringement decision in cases that it is held jointly and severally liable for the cartel infringement of its wholly-owned subsidiary (College van Beroep)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 18 February 2020 the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (“CBb”) ruled that a company may still have an interest in bringing proceedings against a cartel infringement decision even if no fine is imposed on it and even if it is not the direct addressee of the infringement decision. In the (...)

The Latvian Administrative Regional Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision on a prohibited agreement between manufacturers and traders of building materials (Kesko Senukai Latvia / Kurši)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
Court leaves effective a decision of the Competition Council on a prohibited agreement of “Kesko Senukai Latvia” and “Kurši”* The Administrative Regional Court in its judgments of 17 February has rejected applications of AS “Kesko Senukai Latvia” and SIA “Tirdzniecības nams “Kurši”” on cancellation (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority fines $1.3 million for allegedly failing to adequately disclose the full price of tickets in the online ticket seller market (StubHub)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
The Price, the Whole Price and Nothing But the Price: StubHub Pays $1.3 Million Penalty Following Bureau Drip Pricing Probe* The Competition Bureau’s (Bureau) top priority for enforcement and advocacy is currently the digital economy (see, for example, here, here, here, here and here). And for (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines an electric company for organising bid rigging cartel in the market for supply and maintenance of weather radars (AEMET)
Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition Authority ("CNMC") has fined Schneider Electric Spain ("Schneider"), Adasa Sistemas ("Adasa") and DTN Services and Systems Spain ("DTN") a total of EUR 610,000 for organising a bid rigging cartel in the market for the supply and maintenance of weather radars tendered by (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority levies $1.3 million fine for alleged misleading representations in online sales of event tickets (Stubhub)
Commonwealth Secretariat (London)
Introduction There are no rock bottom bargains on offer at StubHub Canada Ltd as Canadian consumers found out the hard way, falling victim to a possible case of drip pricing. StubHub Canada Ltd is a subsidiary of StubHub Inc, an American exchange and resale ticket company that offers services (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority dismantles a cartel affecting the supply of radars to the national meteorological agency (AEMET)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 February 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) imposed fines totalling € 610,000 on three companies involved in cartelising the market for the supply of radars to the Spanish national meteorological agency (“AEMET”) between autumn 2014 and the end of 2018. The investigation was (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a €325,000 fine on an office equipment maker for engaging in online retail price maintenance (Brother)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2020, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (the “UOKIK”) imposed a fine of PLN 1.4 million (approximately € 325,000) on office equipment maker Brother for online retail price maintenance (“RPM”). The UOKIK’s decision explains that, between the years 2010 and 2017, (...)

The Peruvian Competition Authority initiates a proceeding against construction companies and their executives for bid-rigging in the construction sector (Altesa Contratistas Generales)
Peruvian Competition Authority - INDECOPI (Lima)
Indecopi has initiated an administrative sanctioning proceeding against 35 construction companies and 28 of their executives for an alleged liability of participating in bid rigging in 112 public tenders nationwide in the construction sector* The 112 tenders were convened by the Ministry of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine on a manufacturer of office equipment who set minimum online sale prices for its printers (Brother)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
In February 2020, the Polish Competition Authority (“UOKiK”) announced that in December 2019 it imposed a PLN 1.4 million fine on Brother Central & Eastern Europe (“Brother”), a manufacturer of office equipment, which set minimum online sale prices for printers. Between 2010 and 2017, Brother (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority ends an infringement proceeding by adopting a commitment decision following a sports brand alleged anti-competitive conduct (Adidas / LDC)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
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CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
Background On 6 February 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, hereinafter the “CNMC”) adopted a commitment decision to end the infringement proceedings (S/DC/0631/18) initiated in November 2018 against Adidas, S.A.U. (“Adidas”) for alleged (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority accepts commitments offered by a sports manufacturer and retailer following a complaint on the imposition of restrictions in the distribution network (Adidas / LDC)
Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
The CNMC has accepted commitments offered by Adidas Spain ("Adidas") and closed the investigation that had been initiated in November 2018, following a complaint lodged by BCINCOPE (an Adidas franchisee), for an alleged infringement of articles 1 SCA and 101 TFEU in the Spanish retail market (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rules that the conduct of a bidder who hires proxy bidders is not anti-competitive (Plasser / Harbour Sales)
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
Recently, Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the case of Plasser India v. Harbour Sales Private Limited., (Plasser India case) decided that a mere possibility of potential collusion based on common ownership of agents in a bid does not show anti-competitive conduct thereby not leading to (...)

The Russian Competition Authority analyses the state of competition in the market for seeding soybeans
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS ANALYSED THE STATE OF COMPETITION ON THE MARKET OF SEEDING SOYBEANS* The results show significant dependence of the Russian market on import of the agricultural crop The goal of the survey1 is to analyze dependence of the domestic market on supplies of foreign-developed seed material to (...)

The US DoJ indicts a third individual for bid-rigging in online auctions for surplus government equipment (GSA Auctions / Alan Gaines)
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
On February 5, 2020, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the indictment of a Missouri man – the third individual to be charged – for participation in a conspiracy to rig bids submitted to the General Services Administration (“GSA”) at online auctions for (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal overturns Competition Authority’s decision and finds that the termination of a contract with a competitor does not constitute an abuse of a dominant position (Svenska Förpacknings och Tidningsinsamlingen)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The termination of a contract with a competitor did not constitute an abuse of a dominant position* Svenska Förpacknings- och Tidningsinsamlingen, FTI, does not have to provide its competitor TMResponsibility, TMR, access to recycling stations. The decision of the Patent and Market Court of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority investigates online sales platforms for excessive pricing of hand sanitizers and respiratory protection masks in the face of COVID-19 outbreak in the country Free
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: Coronavirus, the Authority intervenes in the sale of sanitizing products and masks* Today the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (the Italian Antitrust Authority) sent a request for information to the main online sales platforms and other sales sites about the marketing of (...)

The German Competition Authority finds in a preliminary assessment that requests for special rebates from a furniture retailer to its suppliers could have been abusive (XXXLutz)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release and case report of 27 February 2020, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) found in a preliminary assessment that requests for special rebates of furniture retailer XXXLutz could have been abusive. After the retailer changed its conduct, the FCO decided not to (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines €116M Italy’s largest telecommunications provider for broadband market abuse (TIM)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 February 2020, the Italian Competition Authority (“AGCM”) fined Telecom Italia (“TIM”) € 116 million for abusing its dominant position in the broadband market by hindering its competitors’ investments in ultra-fast broadband. TIM is currently the largest telecommunications pro- vider in Italy. (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rules that the District Court should not have dismissed a monopolization and tying arrangement suit in the telecom sector (Comcast / Viamedia)
Hausfeld (New York)
On February 24th, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously that a District Court should not have dismissed a monopolization and tying arrangement suit brought against Comcast by Viamedia, a supplier of advertising services to cable companies and other television content (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for non-compliance with commitments in the funeral insurance market in La Réunion (Mutualité de la Réunion)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has fined La Mutualité de la Réunion for non-compliance with commitments* In brief The Autorité has imposed a fine of €200,000 on La Mutualité de la Réunion (MR) for failing to comply with part of the commitments it had entered into before the Autorité that aimed to (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority receives a complaint about abuse of dominance in the internet services market (Teksavvy / Bell / Rogers)
Affleck Greene McMurtry (Toronto)
TekSavvy Claims That Bell And Rogers Abuse Their Dominant Position For Internet Services* In a public version of its complaint to the Canadian Competition Commissioner (see below), Internet re-seller TekSavvy says that Bell Canada and Rogers Communications Canada have been abusing their (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes guidelines for the automobile sector
AnJie Law (Beijing)
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AnJie Law (Beijing)
Implications of China’s Antitrust Guidelines for the Automobile Sector on Regulation of Vertical Restraints* The automobile industry has been under the radar of China’s antitrust enforcement for a number of years. Since 2014, the agency had successively issued fines against many players in the (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines €13 million a big tech company for excluding its competitors in shopping comparison services (Google Shopping)
Bilkent University - Law School (Ankara)
On May 27, 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published its Google Shopping Decision (13.02.2020, 20-10/119-69) whereby it imposed an administrative fine amounting to approx. EUR 13 million on Google for hindering the activities of its competitors in the “shopping comparison services (...)

The EU General Court hears an appeal for abuse of dominance in online comparison shopping services (Google Shopping)
Catholic University of Louvain
Background On 27 June 2017, the European Commission imposed a record fine of 2.42 billion euros to Google for abuse of dominant position under Article 102 TFEU consisting in self-favouring its own Comparison Shopping Service (“CSS”) by displaying it more prominently and under enriched features (...)

The EU General Court hears an appeal following abuse of dominance decision involving online comparison shopping services (Google Shopping)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
Introduction From 12-14 February 2020, the European Union’s General Court (the “General Court”) heard Google’s appeal of the European Commission’s 27 June 2017 abuse of dominance decision pursuant to Article 102 TFEU (the “Decision”) involving on-line comparison shopping services (“CSSs”). A central (...)

The US FTC starts examining acquisitions by 5 Big Tech companies from the 2010-2019 period that were not reported to the antitrust agencies under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (Alphabet / Amazon / Apple / Facebook / Microsoft - 6(b) Platform Study)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC to Examine Past Acquisitions by Large Technology Companies* Agency Issues 6(b) Orders to Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google Inc., and Microsoft Corp. The Federal Trade Commission issued Special Orders to five large technology firms, requiring them to (...)

Unfair practices

Importation exclusive : La Cour d’appel de Paris réforme partiellement une décision sanctionnant des pratiques d’importations exclusives en Outre-mer post loi Lurel (A.D.L.P.)
L’actu-concurrence (Paris)
Le 20 février 2020, la Chambre 5-7 de la Cour d’appel de Paris a rendu un arrêt réformant partiellement la décision n° 18-D-21 du 8 octobre 2018 relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans le secteur des produits de grande consommation sur les îles du territoire de Wallis-et-Futuna, par laquelle elle (...)

Mergers

The US FTC files an administrative complaint alleging that the proposed merger will reduce competition in the hospital sector (Thomas Jefferson / Albert Einstein Healthcare)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Will FTC’s winning record end planned Philadelphia-area hospital merger?* The FTC and State of Pennsylvania on February 28 moved to block the proposed merger of Jefferson Health and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, two leading providers of inpatient general acute care hospital services and (...)

The US FTC updates the notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the HSR Act
Baker McKenzie (Washington D.C.)
Overview The Federal Trade Commission has announced the annual adjustment to notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The revised thresholds will apply to all (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger between two grocery retailers (Conad / Auchan)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By a II-Phase decision clearance issued in Conad/Auchan, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) gave a conditional go-ahead to the Conad acquisition of Auchan in the grocery retail sector. Conad and Auchan were the first and seventh largest supermarket chains in Italy, respectively. By the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a takeover of assets between two parties involved in the production and distribution of personal care products (Cussons / Sarantis)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
In March 2020, the Polish Competition Authority ("UOKiK") announced that in late February 2020 it cleared Sarantis’ takeover of assets belonging to PZ Cussons International and PZ Cussons Polska ("Cussons"). All parties involved produce and distribute personal care products. In fact, the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a proposed merger in the raw milk market (Lion Dairy & Drinks / Mengniu)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Mengniu deal to buy Lion Dairy & Drinks not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks Pty Ltd (Lion D&D) by China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd (Mengniu) after closely considering the potential impact on competition. Mengniu is proposing to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a proposed merger in the printing paper market (Direct Paper / Spicers)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Spicers’ Direct Paper acquisition not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Direct Paper by Spicers Limited, finding that alternative suppliers of commercial printing paper and direct supply arrangements between printers and paper mills will continue to provide strong (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves proposed acquisition of joint control in the telecommunications market (Prosegur Alarmas / Telefónica / Prosegur)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of joint control over Prosegur Alarmas by Telefónica and Prosegur* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of joint control over Prosegur Alarmas by Telefónica and Prosegur. The (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its contribution to the debate on competition policy and digital challenges with a section dedicated to the redefinition of its merger control tools in the digital economy
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
Since 2017, the French Competition Authority (FCA) has been working on the simplification and modernisation of merger control in France, which resulted in particular in: (i) several public consultations on new guidelines aiming at replacing the current ones in the course of 2020; (ii) a new (...)

The Finnish Market Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to block a merger between grocery wholesalers, making it the first merger ever prohibited in the country (Kesko / Heinon Tukku)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Kesko’s acquisition of Heinon Tukku blocked by the Finnish Market Court* The merger between Finnish grocery wholesalers, Kesko and Heinon Tukku, was prohibited by the Market Court on 17 February 2020. In accordance with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s (FCCA) proposal, the Market (...)

The Finnish Market Court blocks for the first time a merger between two wholesalers in the grocery market (Kesko / Heinon)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 17 February 2020, the Market Court prohibited a merger between Finnish grocery wholesalers, Kesko and Heinon Tukku. This was the first time a merger has been prohibited in Finland after merger control rules were introduced in 1998. Previous three prohibition proposals of the Finnish (...)

The Philippine Competition Commission publishes the Commission Resolution which adjusts the mandatory notification thresholds under the Philippine Competition Act
Baker McKenzie (Manila)
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Baker McKenzie (Manila)
Recent Developments On 17 February 2020, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) published PCC Commission Resolution No. 02-2020 dated 11 February 2020 (CR No. 02-2020) on its website, which adjusts the mandatory notification thresholds under the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) and PCA (...)

The Finnish Market Court upholds the Competition Authority’s request to prohibit a proposed acquisition of a grocery wholesaler on the basis that it would become dominant in the market (Kesko / Heinon Tukku)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 February 2020, the Finnish Market Court (the “Court”) upheld the request of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (the “KKV”) to prohibit Kesko’s proposed acquisition of grocery wholesaler Heinon Tukku. The Court’s judgment may be appealed before the Finnish Supreme Administrative (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York clears merger between top third and fourth wireless communications providers with the judge using as main criteria testimony of "reasonable corporate executives" over conflicting economic testimonies which were deemed too static for the dynamic nature of the market at hand (State AGs / T-Mobile / Sprint)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
T-Mobile’s Marathon to Acquire Sprint: Five Takeaways from the T-Mobile/Sprint Antitrust Litigation After almost two years of scrutiny by state and federal regulators and an ensuing court battle, T-Mobile US, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) is moving forward with its acquisition of Sprint Corporation (...)

The Czech Competition Authority authorises a merger between two companies operating in the residential and commercial property rentals (Heimstaden / Residomo)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
In a simplified procedure, the Office for the Protection of Competition authorised the merger of Heimstaden Bostad AB with RESIDOMO, s.r.o., RESIDOMO Services, s.r.o. and DomTherm, s.r.o. The Swedish group thus gains the opportunity to control the aforementioned companies exclusively. The (...)

The South African Competition Authority recommends approving the acquisition subject to a number of conditions (PepsiCo / Pioneer)
Nortons (Sandton)
South Africa: PepsiCo acquisition of Pioneer recommended for approval, at a price!* On 11 February 2020, the South African Competition Commission (SACC) recommended that PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods, be approved, subject to a number of conditions. Despite there being no material (...)

The US FTC issues special orders to large technology companies requesting information on prior acquisitions completed over the last decade (Alphabet / Amazon / Apple / Facebook / Google / Microsoft)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
On Feb. 11, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had issued special orders to five large technology companies, requesting information on prior acquisitions completed by the companies during the past 10 years. The FTC’s announcement follows several recent high-profile events relating (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority approves a request from a major cinema complex operator, to lift one of the merger commitments previously imposed (Kinepolis)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 11 February 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) approved a request from the Kinepolis group, a major cinema complex operator, to lift one of the merger commitments which had been imposed on the group in the 90s. Since the creation of the Kinepolis group in 1997 following the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger between two data center companies (InterXion / Digital Reality)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears acquisition of InterXion by Digital Realty* The acquisition of InterXion by data center Digital Realty has been cleared. Both companies commercially exploit data centers in major cities around the world, including Amsterdam. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority publishes a formal statement on revised procedures for merger filings during the COVID-19 crisis Free
O’Melveny & Myers (Brussels)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Washington DC)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Hong Kong)
These moves follow similar actions by the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), China’s antitrust authority. On February 6, SAMR issued a formal statement laying out revised procedures for merger filings, prohibiting face-to-face meetings and requiring parties to submit pre-merger (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into a merger in the retail markets for optical products (GrandVision / EssilorLuxottica)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is (...)

The Czech Competition Authority approves a merger between two competitors in the financial services market (Moneta Money / Wüstenrot)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
On 6 February 2020, the Office for the Protection of Competition (the “Authority”) cleared the merger between competitors Moneta Money Bank and WÜSTENROT – stavební spořitelna a.s.. ní banka a.s.. The acquired companies mainly operate in the area of providing financial services relating to building (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates on a £5,9 billion merger in the food delivery market (Takeaway / JustEat)
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) is currently investigating Takeaway.com’s acquisition of UK-listed Just Eat for £5.9 billion (see link). Shares in the combined company, Just Eat Takeaway, started trading on 3 February. However, the CMA’s initial enforcement order prohibits the (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority clears a merger in the pay television transmission services market (Slovenia Broadband / Tele2)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Slovenia Broadband and Tele2 merger approved* In the assessment procedure of the concentration between the undertakings Slovenia Broadband and Tele2 the CCA took into account all relevant facts, the results of the legal and economic analysis and the effects of the vertical concentration on (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into public service delegation contracts for maritime services which potentially constituting State aid in Corsica (Corsica Linea)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission launches in-depth investigation into public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica* The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to determine whether the public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica awarded (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the regulation mechanism for natural gas storage in France
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: the Commission launches an in-depth investigation into the regulation mechanism for natural gas storage in France* The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation in order to determine whether the regulation mechanism for the storage of natural gas implemented by (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation relating to potential State aid in the Italian airline sector (Alitalia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into €400 million Italian government loan to Alitalia* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Italy’s € 400 million loan granted to Alitalia constitutes State aid and whether it complies with the rules on (...)

The EU Commission approves public funding granted by Romania to an airport as well as the fees payable by all airlines using the airport (Timișoara)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State Aid: Commission clears public support to Timișoara Airport, airport fees and discounts, as well as individual agreements with Wizz Air* The European Commission has cleared the public funding granted by Romania to Timișoara Airport between 2007 and 2009, as well as the fees payable by all (...)

The EU Commission opens public consultations on the prolongation of EU State aid regulations and guidelines for agriculture, forestry, rural areas, fishery and aquaculture
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Commission has opened two public consultations to receive contributions from interested parties on whether to prolong (i) the guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas and (ii) the block exemption regulations for the aforementioned and for fishery (...)

Procedures

The Regional Court of Munich dismisses follow-on damages claims totalling €600 million against participants in a truck cartel (Trucks cartel)
Court of First Instance of Namur
On 7 February 2020, the Regional Court of Munich (the “Court”) dismissed a follow-on claim for damages brought by litigation vehicle Financial right, a registered legal services company. The claim followed a 2016 fining decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) against participants in (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal rules that cartel damage claims filed by a claim vehicle is not time-barred under Spanish, Finnish and Swedish law in the chemicals market (CDC / Kemira)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 4 February 2020, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (“Court of Appeal”) ruled that cartel damage claims that were filed by claim vehicle CDC against Kemira were not time-barred under Spanish, Finnish and Swedish law. The Court of Appeal also dismissed Kemira’s challenge to the way in which the (...)

The US FTC and the FDA issue a joint statement and plan seeking to advance biosimilar competition and combat deceptive and anticompetitive practices in the biologic marketplace
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
On February 3, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") issued a joint statement and plan seeking to advance biosimilar competition and combat deceptive and anticompetitive practices in the "biologic marketplace." As discussed below, the FTC and (...)

The German Regional Court of Munich provides a guidance document which sets out how the Court intends to apply a landmark ruling of the EU Court of Justice (Huawei / ZTE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In February 2020, the Regional Court of Munich published a guidance document that sets out how that court intends to apply the landmark ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) in Huawei v. ZTE (Case C-170/13). The ECJ’s ruling provided the practical steps which Standard (...)

Regulatory

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes its annual enforcement priorities for 2020
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 26 February 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its annual enforcement priorities, which are largely similar to those of 2019: Telecommunications - the BCA notes that the increased reliance on bundled offers in the telecom retail markets has the effect of increasing (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces its compliance and enforcement policy and priorities for 2020
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Melbourne)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
Beliefs in markets and consumer protection guide the ACCC’s investigations and enforcement actions At an event hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Sydney on Tuesday, Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), announced the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a paper on how merger control and anticompetitive practices concepts should be adapted to the digital sector
Bird & Bird (Paris)
As part of its discussions at international level on the reform of competition law, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) recently published a paper providing food for thought on how merger control and anticompetitive practices concepts should be adapted to the digital sector. Regarding (...)

The EU Commission publishes a package of initiatives on Europe’s digital future to create legislation on AI and big data
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The New EU AI and Data Strategy and what it Means for EU Antitrust Reform* On February 19, the European Commission (EC) published a package of initiatives (the AI and Data Package) on Europe’s “digital future,” delivering on the promise in President von der Leyen’s political guidelines to put (...)

The French Competition Authority issues its opinion on the tariffs for legal professions
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Regulated tariffs setting for legal professions: the Autorité publishes its opinion* The Autorité de la concurrence publishes online the opinion submitted to the French government following the publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic of a decree on the method for setting the (...)

The Indian Government proposes to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs amendments to the Competition Bill and invites public to submit their comments online
Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
Ten years of enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) necessitated a re-look drawing “from past experience and to prepare for future challenges in the enforcement of competition law framework in India.” Recognising this, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) set up the Competition Law (...)

The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs notifies the draft Competition Bill 2020 which reflects the recommendations made by the Competition Law review committee
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Last week, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) notified the Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill 2020 (Draft Bill). The proposed changes reflect recommendations made by the Competition Law Review Committee (CLRC) in July 2019. Public comments may be made until 6 March 2020. The 49 page Draft (...)

The Italian and Brazilian Competition Authorities sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening cooperation between the authorities in competition law matters
Court of First Instance of Namur
On 11 February 2020, the Italian and Brazilian competition authorities signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (the “Memorandum”) aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two authorities and at increasing their capacity to deal with market failures, anticompetitive practices and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority publishes the final report of the big data joint fact-finding survey, which was launched in collaboration with the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority and the Data Protection Authority
Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 10 February 2020, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) published the final report of the Big Data joint fact-finding survey, launched in collaboration with the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority ("AgCom") and the Data Protection Authority on 30 May 2017. As part of the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority and the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data publish a joint investigative report on big data
Court of First Instance of Namur
On 10 February 2020, the Italian Competition Authority, the Authority for Communications Guarantees and the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (together the “Authorities”) published a joint investigative report on big data (the “Report”). The Report is based on a one-year survey carried (...)

The Italian Competition Authority, Communications Authority, and Data Protection Authority publish the findings of a joint sector inquiry into the field of big data
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On February 10, 2020 the Italian Authorities for Communications, Competition and Data Protection published the findings of a joint sector inquiry into the field of Big Data (“Investigation”), which lasted almost three years. It was launched on May 30, 2017 to study the functioning and impact of (...)

The South African Competition Authority publishes Draft Guidelines for the automotive aftermarket industry
Baker McKenzie (Johannesburg)
On 17 February 2020, the Competition Commission (Commission) released a media statement announcing that it has published Draft Guidelines for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry (Guidelines). The Automotive Aftermarket Industry is the market for motor vehicle spare parts, tools and components (...)

The EU Commission Vice-President is being intensely pressured from four large countries which wrote a joint letter to insist on a rapid competition law reform
Bird & Bird (Belgium)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
President Ursula Von der Leyen’s pledge to preside over a "geo-political" Commission is being put to the test by intense pressure from four large countries which are insisting on rapid competition law reform. In a strongly worded letter sent to Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager on 4 (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches a public consultation to develop a comprehensive guide on antitrust compliance programs
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
On 3 February 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (the "CNMC") launched a public consultation with the aim of developing a comprehensive guide on antitrust compliance programs. The consultation essentially focuses on what constitutes an effective compliance program. Regulators, companies, (...)

International

Spain: The Audiencia Nacional annuls the fine imposed by the Spanish Competition Authority on the national refrigerated road transport association due to the lack of evidence of participation in the conduct after 2008 (ATFRIE)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
In 2015, the Spanish competition authority (CNMC) fined ATFRIE and 12 refrigerated transport companies for colluding to fix prices in the refrigerated road transport sector in Spain from April 1993 to December 2012 (Decision of the CNMC of 25 June 2015, case S/0454/12, Transporte frigorífico). (...)

Spain: The Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona partially upholds the appeal lodged by three envelopes manufacturers against eight first instance judgments which awarded damages in follow-on claims based on the envelope cartel decision of the Spanish Competition Authority (Planeta, Misiones Salesianas, Bankoa...)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona has partially overturned eight judgments of two sections of the Juzgado de lo Mercantil of Barcelona which had awarded damages to several claimants in follow-on actions based on the Spanish envelope cartel case. The Audiencia Provincial partially accepts (...)

Spain: The Audiencia Provincial of Madrid overturns the first instance judgments which granted damages quantified by the claimants and grants damages but based on the lower alternative quantification contained in a defendant’s expert report (Cámara de Comercio, Obras Misionales Pontificias)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The Audiencia Provincial of Madrid has overturned two judgments of two different Commercial Courts of Madrid which had dismissed the follow-on claims brought by alleged victims of the envelope cartel. The first instance courts had found that the claimants and their expert reports did not (...)

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