February 2021

General antitrust

The Italian Competition Authority sends to the government its proposal aiming at removing potential legal or administrative burdens to the opening of markets and ensure the development of competition as well as promoting the economic recovery of the country
White & Case (Milan)
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White & Case (Milan)
On 23 March 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) sent to the Italian government its proposals for changes to the Italian competition law for inclusion in the “annual law for competition” pursuant to Article 47 of Law 99/2009. The ICA reform proposals affect a broad variety of industries (...)

The Japanese FTC extends the public comment period regarding a list of proposed issues to be discussed at the study group on competition policy for data market
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
The Competition Policy Research Center ("CPRC") of the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") is seeking comments from the public on a list of proposed issues to be discussed at the Study Group on Competition Policy for Data Market ("Study Group"). The due date was originally set on January 15, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks feedback submissions from consumers on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Feedback sought on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers* The ACCC is seeking submissions from consumers and industry participants about choice screens, which give users a choice of internet search services on mobiles and tablets, rather than a pre-selected search service, (...)

The EU Commission publishes a public consultation to gather views and evidence from a panel to ensure that competition rules do not stand in the way of collective bargaining
DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: Commission invites stakeholders to provide comments on the application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed* The European Commission has launched today a public consultation to gather views and evidence from citizens, businesses, social (...)

The EU Commission opens a public consultation on the application of competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
Over the past years, the EU institutions have shown quite some attention to the position of workers in the so-called gig or peer economy, despite the limited legislative authority of the EU in the area of social policy. As early as 2016, the European Parliament called the EU Commission for (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces that restrictions on travel and economic activity due to the COVID-19 outbreak have an enormous effect on petrol prices
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Petrol prices ended bumpy year slightly lower as demand rebounded* Petrol prices in Australia’s five largest cities stabilised at the end of 2020 after an unpredictable year and petrol sales volumes continued to recover from their earlier pandemic-driven slump. That’s according to the ACCC’s (...)

The UK Government provides greater clarity on new national security screening rules to be introduced by the national security and investment bill
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
On 2 March 2021, the UK government published its response to a consultation on the sectors of the economy which are to be subject to mandatory notification under the new inward investment regime to be introduced by the National Security and Investment Bill (the Bill), which is currently before (...)

The UK Government clarifies the scope of the new national security and investment bill
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
In November 2020, the UK published a draft of its new National Security and Investment Bill ("NSIB"), heralding the introduction of a new regime for reviewing investments on national security grounds. The Bill introduced a mandatory pre-screening mechanism for certain deals involving (...)

The UK Government publishes revised sector definitions for mandatory notification under the national security screening regime
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The UK Government has today published its response to the consultation on mandatory notification in specific sectors under the proposed new national security screening regime contained in the National Security and Investment Bill (NSI Bill). The NSI Bill is currently making its way through the (...)

The UK Government publishes a consultation response which clarifies the national security regime
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
Since the UK Government published the National Security and Investment Bill (the Bill) in November 2020 (see our earlier briefing), a number of issues have prompted significant debate and investor concerns. Many of these centre on the delicate balance between the UK Government’s desire to (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority gains new powers and introduces changes after the transposition of the ECN+ directive
French Competition Authority (Paris)
March 2021 marks a new era for the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA - Konkurrensverket). Major amendments to competition legislation in the country have entered into force on March 1st, introducing changes that result in increased powers for the SCA. These new amendments come as fresh air, (...)

The Czech Government discusses two bills that may grant more powers to National Competition Authority
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
Currently, there are two bills being discussed in the Czech Parliament. Under the first bill, which implements the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) in the Czech Republic, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition (Office) would be entitled to require providers of public (...)

The Australian Competition Authority outlines its enforcement and compliance priorities for 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC’s 2021 enforcement and compliance priorities* Sales practices in Australia’s domestic travel sector, competition in aviation and the conduct of some caravan manufacturers will be among the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities during 2021, ACCC Chair Rod Sims announced today. In his (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its 2021 enforcement and compliance priorities
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 23 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its enforcement and compliance priorities for the year ahead. The Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, also made his first public appearance today to discuss those priorities. As we have previously reported, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its annual list of compliance and enforcement priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 23 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) released its compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021. These priorities provide guidance to industries and businesses regarding those areas which will be a key focus for the ACCC’s enforcement activities in the (...)

The UK Parliament publishes recommendations on how competition law and the consumer protection regime could be improved
Ashurst (London)
In September 2020, John Penrose MP was commissioned by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for BEIS to write an independent report on how the UK’s approach to competition and consumer issues could be improved. In particular, the UK Government’s terms of reference (...)

The UK Parliament publishes an independent report containing proposals to strengthen the competition and consumer law regime
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
Introduction On 16 February 2021, Conservative member of Parliament (“MP”) John Penrose published his much-anticipated independent report on how the UK’s competition regime can evolve and improve, within the context of economic recovery from Covid-19 and the end of the Brexit transition period. (...)

The UK Parliament publishes recommendations for a stronger competition and consumer protection regime
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 16 February the UK government published a Report by John Penrose MP, commissioned earlier this year to lead a review on how the UK’s competition regime will need to evolve to meet its policy aims of promoting a dynamic, innovation-driven economy which delivers for consumers and businesses (...)

The UK Competition Authority and the EU Commission seek views from stakeholders on the new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation
Bird & Bird (London)
The current Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and its accompanying guidelines provide the framework of competition law regulation for suppliers and distributors across the EU. It is due to expire in May 2022. The VBER was retained into UK law following Brexit ensuring (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes an updated version of its Digital Markets Strategy
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 9 February 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") published a ’refresh’ of its Digital Markets Strategy, which was first published in July 2019. The updated strategy takes into account recent policy developments, including the forthcoming launch of the Digital Markets Unit (...)

The Danish Parliament approves extensive amendments to the Competition Act within the implementation of the ECN+ Directive
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 February 2021, as a part of the implementation of the ECN+ Directive, the Danish Parliament approved extensive amendments to the Danish Competition Act. Most importantly, the amendments allow the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority’s (“DCCA”) to request courts to impose civil fines on (...)

The EU Commission discusses the topic of competition policy contributing to the European Green Deal
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 4 February 2021, the European Commission’s long-awaited Conference on Competition Policy Contributing to the European Green Deal took place. The conference was opened by Commission Executive Vice President and Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager. The European (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes a study regarding competition risks in relation to paid ranking
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 February 2021, the Dutch Authority of Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) published a study on paid ranking. Paid ranking is a practice whereby businesses pay online platforms for a better position in search results. The ACM found that paid ranking creates risks for consumers and may even restrict (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority issues a set of guidelines for marketing and commercial practices related to green and eco-friendly claims
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
The growing expectation of consumers towards manufacturers in offering environmental-friendly products and the impact of this expectation to commercial practises did not go unnoticed in Hungary either. At the end of 2020 the Hungarian Consumer Authority (“HCA”) assessed marketing and commercial (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The US DoJ indicts a health care staffing company for collusion in order to suppress wages of school nurses (VDA OC)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Health Care Staffing Company and Executive Indicted for Colluding to Suppress Wages of School Nurses* Alleged allocation and wage-fixing scheme targeted nurses staffed at the Clark County School District who were serving medically fragile students. A federal grand jury in Las Vegas, Nevada, (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeals lodged by two telecommunications companies against the judgments of the General Court relating to anticompetitive practices on the Slovak market (Slovak Telekom / Deutsche Telekom)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice dismisses the appeals lodged by Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom against the judgments of the General Court relating to anticompetitive practices on the Slovak telecommunications market* The fine of € 38 061 963, for which those two companies were found jointly and (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision regarding a cartel between 26 driving schools and a driving schools association
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF LITHUANIA UPHOLDS COMPETITION AUTHORITY’S DECISION ON DRIVING SCHOOLS’ CARTELS* Driving schools and the Lithuanian association of driving schools (Association) which agreed to set prices of driving services for consumers will not avoid sanctions for cartel (...)

The Australian Federal Court fines a sports brand for resale price maintenance (FE Sports)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
FE Sports to pay $350,000 penalty for resale price maintenance* The Federal Court has ordered wholesale distributor B & K Holdings (QLD) Pty Ltd, trading as FE Sports, to pay a $350,000 penalty after it declared by consent that FE Sports engaged in resale price maintenance in relation to (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority notifies economic agents of a statement of probable responsibility for possible collusion in the market of land passenger transportation
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE notifies economic agents of a statement of probable responsibility for a possible collusion in the market for land passenger transportation* With this notification of a statement of probable responsibility, the trial-like procedure initiates, in which the economic agents can present (...)

The French Competition Authority fines the three main manufacturers of industrial sandwiches sold under the retailer’s brand label for an anticompetitive agreement (Roland Monterrat / La Toque Angevine / Daunat)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines the three main French manufacturers of industrial sandwiches sold under retailer’s own brand label for anticompetitive agreement*Background The Autorité de la concurrence fines Roland Monterrat, La Toque Angevine (hereinafter "LTA") and Snacking Services (...)

The Australian Competition Authority concludes that the terms in a warehousing agreement were likely to be unfair in the storage services (GrainCorp)
DG COMP (Brussels)
GrainCorp amends terms in its warehousing agreement* GrainCorp Operations Ltd (GrainCorp) has agreed to amend 19 terms in its Grain Warehousing Agreement with small business grain growers, after an ACCC investigation concluded that these terms were likely to be unfair contract terms under the (...)

The EU Commission publishes a notice on how to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion ground
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 March 2021, the Official Journal of the European Union published a European Commission (Commission) Notice on “tools to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion ground” (see, attached copy; the Notice). The Notice develops the tools which (...)

The UK Competition Authority disqualifies two former directors for participating in a cartel in the construction industry (McCann)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Directors disqualified over illegal construction cartel* The CMA has secured the disqualification of 2 former directors of Northern Ireland-based firm FP McCann Ltd for their parts in an illegal construction cartel. The move follows the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) 2019 decision (...)

The EU Commission publishes its notice providing tools on how to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion ground
University of Bristol - Law School
FIRST THOUGHTS ON THE COMMISSION’S BID RIGGING EXCLUSION GUIDANCE — WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE?* On 18 March 2021, the European Commission officially published its Notice on tools to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion ground (the ‘bid (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority investigates the pharmaceutical wholesaler system (Phoenix / Hungaropharma)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH is investigating the pharmaceutical wholesaler system* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) launched an investigation into the agreements concluded by the largest domestic pharmaceutical wholesalers and the cooperation systems they established with pharmacies, since these may (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority carries out an analysis of the FinTech market which reveals barriers to entry
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC’s sector inquiry on FinTech: 74% of companies operating in Portugal consider that there are barriers to market entry* The AdC – Portuguese Competition Authority recently carried out an analysis of the FinTech market in Portugal to follow up on the recommendations made in 2018. The results (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorises dairy farmer’s organisation to implement a licensing scheme (Queensland Dairyfamer’s)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC authorises Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation to implement ’Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme* The ACCC has authorised the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Limited (QDO) to give effect to its proposed ‘Fair Go Dairy’ licensing scheme for five years. Under the scheme, QDO will grant (...)

The French Competition Authority fines national security provider for issuing cover quotes in the tobacconist security provision sector (Double Tour)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines Double Tour for issuing cover quotes in the tobacconist security provision sector* Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) into the tobacconist security provision sector, (...)

The UK Competition Authority disqualifies three company directors for being in a cartel in the construction industry (Campbell / Hudson / Sherling)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
3 company directors to be disqualified over construction cartel* The CMA has secured the disqualification of 3 company directors, after finding they broke competition law by forming a cartel in the construction industry. This move follows an investigation by the Competition and Markets (...)

The Australian Competition Authority accepts a court-enforceable undertaking from a credit card company after it addressed competition concerns (Visa)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Visa undertakes to address competition concerns over debit card payments* The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Visa AP (Australia) Pty Ltd and Visa Worldwide Pte Limited (together, Visa) in relation to concerns that Visa may have limited competition in relation to debit (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority agrees to a conventional settlement of the disciplinary proceedings for infringement of competition law in the mooring and unmooring sector (Amarres de Algeciras)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC settles the disciplinary proceedings against Amarres de Algeciras* It was investigating a sector agreement that could have restricted the freedom to hire of new mooring companies in the Port of Algeciras. The case is settled without a fine, since the conditions presented by the (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes a €435.000 fine on a construction company for exchanging information (Santerne)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
City of Lille’s call for tenders: Santerne (Vinci group) fined up to €435,000 The Autorité de la concurrence fines Santerne Nord Tertiaire (subsidiary of the Vinci group) €435,000 for exchanging information with another company in a call for tenders organised by the city of Lille (Communauté (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates a Big Tech company over suspected anti-competitive behaviour (Apple)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA investigates Apple over suspected anti-competitive behaviour* The CMA has launched an investigation into Apple following complaints that its terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive. In addition to designing, manufacturing and marketing electronic devices (...)

The Finnish Market Court finds that three manufacturers of expanded polystyrene engaged in a single and continuous national price-fixing cartel (Jackon Finland / UK-Muovi / Styroplast)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 3 March 2021, the Market Court agreed with the submission of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority ("FCCA"), that three manufacturers of expanded polystyrene (“EPS”), a building insulation material, had engaged in a national price fixing cartel lasting one and a half years. One of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority steps up its use of algorithms and big data to identify cartels and anti-competitive behaviour
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC steps up its use of algorithms and big data to identify cartels and anti-competitive behaviour* It has implemented a new system for completely anonymous and confidential informants that works similarly to an encrypted chat. The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) will process the messages (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority carries out an investigation in the medical waste market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council carries out an investigation on medical waste market* The Competition Council carries out an investigation into a possible anti-competitive behavior of some undertakings operating in the market of medical waste treatment and disposal services in Romania. The (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s finding that a pharmaceutical company broke competition law by exchanging information (Lexon)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Tribunal upholds CMA decision on pharma collusion and £1.2m fine The Competition Appeal Tribunal has today upheld the CMA’s finding that Lexon broke competition law, dismissing Lexon’s appeal. Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded its investigation into the supply of (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority concludes its investigation of an online travel agency and fines the company and two directors $5.8 million in total for drip pricing (FlightHub)
Commonwealth Secretariat (London)
INTRODUCTION Canada’s Competition Bureau (‘Bureau’), which assists the Commissioner of Competition (‘Commissioner’) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (‘Act’), announced on 24 February 2021 that the Commissioner had clipped the wings of Montreal-based FlightHub Group Inc. (...)

The US DoJ fines the largest national chicken producer for price fixing (Pilgrim’s)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
One of the Nation’s Largest Chicken Producers Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing and is Sentenced to a $107 Million Criminal Fine First Corporation Pleads Guilty in Ongoing Criminal Antitrust Investigation into the Broiler Chicken Industry Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (Pilgrim’s), a major broiler (...)

The French Competition Authority declines urgent interim measures but continues to investigate the abuse of a dominant position from a company in the electricity sector (Plum / EDF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
After receiving a complaint from an electricity supplier, the Autorité de la concurrence has not issued urgent interim measures against EDF but continues its investigation into the merits of the case* The electricity supplier Plüm Energie, which offers the supply of electricity to local and (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority issues infringement notices to six hotel groups and a tour counter operator for facilitating a price-fixing cartel
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission issues infringement notices to six hotel groups and a tour counter operator for facilitating a price-fixing cartel* The Competition Commission (“Commission”) has issued infringement notices to seven entities, including six hotel groups and a tour counter operator (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority notifies economic agents of a statement of probable responsibility for a possible collusion in hygiene products manufactured with cellulose
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE notified economic agents of a statement of probable responsibility for a possible collusion in hygiene products manufactured with cellulose* With this notification, the trial-like procedure begins, in which the economic agents will be able to defend themselves against the allegations (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority proposes a €22 million penalty to the Market Court on six companies operating in the real estate management sector for fixed prices
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
FCCA proposes that EUR 22 million in penalty payments be imposed for a price cartel on companies in real estate management and the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) proposes that the Market Court impose penalty payments in total of (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a national sports equipment distributor for dictating prices to sellers (Abistore)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The fine imposed on abistore confirmed, the distributor of sports equipment dictated prices to sellers* The Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition Petr Mlsna confirmed the imposition of the fine of CZK 1,851,000 on the undertaking ABISTORE SPORT, s. r. o. (hereafter referred (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority concludes that there is a lack of competition in the maritime passenger transportation market in the islands of Mujeres and Cozumel (Magna)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Lack of competition is preliminarily determined in maritime passenger transportation in the ferry modality in Isla Mujeres and Cozumel* In the Preliminary Investigative Opinion, the Investigative Authority concluded that Naviera Magna has a high market participation and the capacity to fix (...)

The Munich Regional Court issues two preliminary injunctions regarding a cooperation agreement that has the effect of restricting competition on the market for health portals (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the Regional Court of Munich I (the “Court”) issued two preliminary injunctions against Google Ireland Ltd. (“Google”) and the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the German Federal Ministry of Health (“the Ministry”), at the request of health platform NetDoktor.de (...)

The French Supreme Court rules that an undertaking continues to be involved in a cartel if it keeps receiving invitations to participate without clearly distancing itself and makes other participants interpret that it shares their objectives (Goodmills Deutschland / Grands moulins de Paris)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 February 2021, the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) ruled that an undertaking continues to be involved in a cartel if it keeps receiving invitations to participate without clearly distancing itself and when other participants interpret that this undertaking shares their (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a consultation on the future of national competition rules applicable to vertical agreements post Brexit
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 February 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) launched a consultation on the future of the UK competition rules applicable to vertical agreements. Following Brexit, the EU block exemption regulations which were in force at the end of the transition period (i.e., on 31 (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines two national pharmaceutical producers of PET radiopharmaceuticals for €5.76 million (Advanced Accelerator Applications / Novartis)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC fines the two main pharmaceutical producers of PET radiopharmaceuticals in Spain for €5.76 million* Radiopharmaceuticals are used in nuclear medicine tests to detect and monitor diseases such as cancer. The companies formed a cartel that, for at least four years, allocated the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes a €5,76 million fine on colluding suppliers of radio-pharmaceuticals equipment (Novartis Groupe France / Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica / Glo Holdco / Curium Pharma Spain)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Spanish Competition Authority, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (“CNMC”), imposed total fines of € 5,76 million on Novartis Groupe France and its Spanish subsidiary Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica, SLU (“AAA”), Glo Holdco and its Spanish subsidiary Curium Pharma (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines two animal feed manufacturers for collusion (Polmass / Agro-Netzwerk Polska)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Collusion between animal feed manufacturers - decision of the President of UOKiK* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny proclaimed market allocation by animal feed producers - collusion limited the freedom of product choice for farmers and sellers of milk replacers. Polmass company was charged (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority releases two reports on positive and negative effects of Algorithms on competition
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Continuous development of algorithms requires ensuring the functioning of competition and the interests of consumers* Algorithms may have both positive and negative effects on competition and consumers. Two reports by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) show that the current (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a cartel for price fixing in the fuel and lubricants sector (Nova / PNT / Belaya Zvezda)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Cartel will pay more than 400 million fine for maintaining prices for fuel and lubricants* The FAS Russia brought the cartel participants to administrative responsibility By results of consideration of appeals of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, the FAS Russia ruled against (...)

The EU Commission publishes a working paper outlining its preliminary views on the application of article 101 TFEU to distributors that also act as agents for the same supplier
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 February 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published an important working paper outlining its preliminary views on the application of Article 101 TFEU to distributors that also act as agents for the same supplier (the “Working Paper”). As brand owners are showing an increasing (...)

The Australian Federal Court fines a Norwegian global shipping company for participating in a cartel (WWO)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Shipping cartel fines now total $83.5 million after WWO conviction* Norwegian-based global shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO) has been convicted of criminal cartel conduct and ordered by the Federal Court to pay a fine of $24 million, in a case prosecuted by the Commonwealth (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines to three steel forging companies for exchanging information (Bharat Forge Global / Musashi Bockenau / Bad Sobernheim)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines on steel forging companies* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approx. 35 million euros on three steel forging companies and two senior staff members for their involvement in an anti-competitive exchange of information. The companies concerned are (...)

The Australian Federal Court imposes a fine of $24 million on a Norwegian shipping company (WWO)
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 4 February 2021, the Federal Court of Australia imposed a fine of $24 million on Norwegian shipping company, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO), for its involvement in a criminal cartel with a number of other shipping companies between 2009 and 2012. More specifically, the Federal Court (...)

The German Competition Authority fines steel forging companies for illegal exchange of information (CDP Bharat Forge / Bharat Forge CDP / Johann Hay Automobiltechnik)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 4 February 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) fined three steel forging companies and two responsible individuals a total amount of approximately € 35 million for anti-competitive information exchange between October 2002 and December 2018. (...)

The Kenyan Competition Authority publishes draft guidelines as to competitor collaborations during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Primerio (Washington)
Antitrust enforcer to allow self-assessment of competitor collaborations amidst pandemic* Following the (thus far rarely used) “Block Exemption” procedure under Section 30 (2) of the Kenyan Competition Act, the Competition Authority of Kenya (“CAK”) has proposed a new set of draft Guidelines as to (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority concludes after its investigation that sponsored rankings entail risks for both competitors and consumers
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
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Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
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Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets investigates sponsored rankings* On 2 February 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Competition & Markets (the ‘ACM’) published a study on sponsored internet ranking and its effects on competition and consumer welfare. Sponsored ranking means that (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines participants of a bid-rigging cartel in the supply of radiopharmaceuticals to hospitals (Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica / Curium Pharma Spain)
Ashurst (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition Authority ("CNMC") has fined Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica, S.L.U. ("AAA") and Curium Pharma Spain, S.A. ("CURIUM") as well as two directors of those companies for an infringement of the Spanish Competition Act ("SCA"), constituting a bid-rigging cartel for (...)

The Czech Competition Authority confirms the fines imposed on an electronic cigarettes distributor for engaging in prohibited anticompetitive agreements (Ritchy)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The chairman of the office confirmed that Ritchy EU concluded prohibited anticompetitive agreements* Petr Mlsna, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, entirely dismissed the appeal filed by RITCHY EU s. r. o., and upheld the first-instance decision of the Office which (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation on an alleged anticompetitive agreement in the audiovisual market (SIAE)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 2 February 2021, the Italian National Competition Authority (“AGCM”) opened an investigation against the Italian Society for Authors and Publishers (“SIAE”) – organisation responsible for the collective management of copyright in Italy – and various trade associations with a view to ascertain the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a company for abusing its bargaining power in the grain and rapeseed market (PolishAgri)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Superior bargaining power - proceedings of the President of UOKiK against PolishAgri* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny brought charges against PolishAgri, a company that buys and sells grain and rapeseed. The company may be unfairly abusing its superior bargaining power against suppliers. The (...)

The Russian Competition Authority notes the end of a restriction of competition in the water supply and sanitation market in compliance with its previous order (Kirov city Administration)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
KIROV ADMINISTRATION COMPLIED WITH THE ORDER OF THE FAS RUSSIA* The authority’s response act was related to the restriction of competition in the water supply and sanitation market The Kirov city Administration fully complied with the order of the Antimonopoly Service. The authority issued it (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a referral filed by a national karaoke studio for lack of evidence (Singing Studio / Karafun)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the referral filed by Singing Studio in the karaoke sector for lack of evidence* Singing Studio’s complaint Singing Studio, which operates two establishments specialising in karaoke in Lille and Paris, has referred practices implemented by the Karafun (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into an electricity wholesaler’s behaviour in the Greek energy market (PPC)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into PPC’s behaviour in the Greek wholesale electricity market* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess possible abusive behaviour by Public Power Corporation (‘PPC’) in the wholesale Greek electricity sector. (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority closes an investigation against an alcohol manufacturer for an alleged abuse of dominance in respect of the non bis in idem principle (Mey İçki)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
In September 2011, the Turkish Competition Authority (the “Authority”) initiated a preliminary investigation against Mey İçki, a subsidiary of Diageo plc. in order to decide whether it violated Article 6 of Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition (“Law No.4054”) in the Turkish market for rakı (...)

The Indian Competition Authority issues an interim behavioral remedy to relist franchise hotel properties on certain platforms before concluding the abuse of dominant position investigation against them (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
CUTS Institute of Regulation & Competition (New Delhi)
In a first-of-its-kind order, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has used its power to grant interim relief to applicants in a two-sided digital market. On 9 th March 2021, CCI ordered MMT-Go to relist properties of Treebo and FabHotels on its platform. CCI received information against (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief to hotel franchisees in the online travel agents’ market (MMT-GO / Treebo / FabHotels)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
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Khaitan (New Delhi)
Although India’s competition law has contained an interim measure provision since inception, two things stood about the Competition Commission’s (“Commission”) usage of interim measures – (i) the overall frequency (or lack) of its usage; and (ii) its limited usage in a low shelf-life Bollywood (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes its investigation against a national gas distributor for an alleged abuse of dominant position after it addressed competition concerns (Italgas)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: Italgas commitments accepted for the tender concerning the gas distribution service in some municipalities of the province of Venice* According to the Authority, the competitive concerns that had led to the opening of the investigation in May 2020 have been solved L’Autorità Garante della (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority investigates possible monopolistic practices in the market of conformity assessment of mezcal’s alcoholic beverage
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Derived from a complaint, COFECE investigates possible relative monopolistic practices in the market of conformity assessment of mezcal* Mexico City, March 04, 2021.- The Investigative Authority of the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE or Commission) published today, in the (...)

The EU Commission investigates for the first time a case relating to divisional patent filing and litigation strategies in the pharmaceutical sector (Teva)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 4 March 2021 the EU Commission announced it has launched a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by pharmaceutical company Teva in relation to its blockbuster drug Copaxone, which is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The patent for the active ingredient in (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of a global pharmaceutical company in relation to a blockbuster multiple sclerosis medicine (Teva)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of Teva in relation to a blockbuster multiple sclerosis medicine* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether the pharmaceutical company Teva has illegally delayed (...)

The German Competition Authority discontinues its proceedings against a national postal service company following the company’s decision to end its rebate system (Deutsche Post)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Fair competition in the dispatch of newspapers and magazines – Bundeskartellamt effects changes to Deutsche Post’s conditions In reaction to the Bundeskartellamt competition concerns, Deutsche Post AG has amended its system of conditions for the dispatch of newspapers and magazines. Andreas (...)

The German Competition Authority welcomes the decision of a postal service company to end its discount system for the dispatch of newspapers and magazines (Deutsche Post)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
The Deutsche Post AG (“DPAG”) has cancelled its until recently practiced discount system in relation to its dispatch services provided to newspaper and magazine publishers. The DPAG`s decision to stop discounting the dispatch services occurred after the German Federal Cartel Office initiated an (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation into possible abuse of dominance of a national telecommunications company (Telekom Romania Communications)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council opens investigation into possible abuse of dominant position of Telekom Romania communications SA* The Competition Council is carrying out an investigation regarding a possible abuse of a dominant position of Telekom Romania Communications SA on the market of the (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal provides guidance for post-Brexit permission to serve out applications and confirms that damage occasioned by anti-competitive conduct will not be narrowly construed (Epic Games / Apple / Google)
Hausfeld (London)
The Tribunal issued its combined permission to serve out of the jurisdiction judgment in Epic Games v Apple (the Apple Claim) and Epic Games v Google (the Google Claim) on 22 February 2021, declining permission for service on Apple Inc. and granting permission for service for a subset of (...)

The Australian Government decides that the shipping channel service at a bottleneck port infrastructure will remain unregulated (Port of Newcastle)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
In a decision that will be welcomed by many of Australia’s port operators, for the second time in less than two years, the Federal Treasurer has decided that the shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle should not be regulated. The Treasurer’s decision on 16 February 2021 is in response (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments made by a pharmaceutical company to reduce prices for six off-patent cancer medicines by 73% addressing excessive pricing concerns (Aspen)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Aspen to reduce prices for six off-patent cancer medicines by 73% addressing excessive pricing concerns* The European Commission has made commitments offered by Aspen legally binding under EU antitrust rules. Aspen has to reduce its prices in Europe (...)

The EU Commission accepts a commitment to reduce the price of six cancer medicines by 73% in excessive pricing case in the pharmaceutical industry (Aspen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 February 2021, the Commission announced that it had accepted a series of pricing and supply commitments from Aspen, thereby bringing an end to its investigation into whether Aspen had infringed Article 102 TFEU by charging excessive prices for six off-patent cancer medicines. Having (...)

The EU Commission accepts the commitment offered by a pharmaceutical company to reduce drug prices by 73% (Aspen)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
“When the price of a drug suddenly goes up by several hundred percent, this is something the Commission may look at” Commissioner Vestager said when opening a formal investigation into Aspen’s alleged excessive pricing conduct in May 2017. On 10 February 2021, the EU Commission (Commission) (...)

The Paris Commercial Court imposes a €1,2 million fine on a big tech company for abuse of dominant position (Google / Oxone)
Ashurst (Paris)
In the context of a stand-alone action – which falls under the new provisions resulting from the transposition of the Damages Directive – the Paris Commercial Court ruling at first instance orders Google to pay EUR 1,2 million in damages to Oxone, a telephone directory services company. Oxone (...)

The Chinese Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on platform economy
Queen Mary University (London)
,
University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
On 10 November 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), China’s competition authority, released the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines on the Platform Economy (Draft for Public Opinions Solicitation) (the “Draft”). Around three months later, on 7 February 2021, the Anti-Monopoly (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines a Mandarin oranges buyer for unfair trading practices (Jasenska)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Unfair trading practices: CCA imposes HRK 350,000 fine on Mandarin Oranges buyer Jasenka from Opuzen* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) opened ex officio infringement proceeding against the mandarin oranges buyer Jasenska within the meaning of the Act on prohibition of unfair trading (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a national natural gas transporter for abuse of dominant position (NET 4 GAS)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The office imposed fine amounting to CZK 10,000,000 on net4gas for abuse of dominant position* The Office for the Protection of Competition imposed a fine amounting to CZK 10,000,000 on NET4GAS, s. r. o., for abuse of dominant position and prohibited alleged conduct for the future. The (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines a national public capital company for abuse of a dominant position in the railway transports sector (Ldz cargo)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC imposes a fine on the public capital company “LDZ CARGO” for abuse of a dominant position* The Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) detected that since 2007 the public capital company “LDZ CARGO”, abusing a dominant position, made it more difficult for competitors to operate in rail (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority imposes a €5.69 million fine on state-owned rail freight company for abuse of its dominant position (LDZ Cargo)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 February 2021, the Latvian Competition Council (“LCC”) announced that it had fined the state-owed rail freight company, LDZ Cargo, €5.69 million for committing two abuses of its dominant position on the Latvian rail freight market (on which it held a market share of between 70% and 80% (...)

Mergers

The Australian Competition Authority clears the merger between two national financial services organisations (National Australia Bank / 86 400)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
NAB’s acquisition of 86 400 not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of 86 400 Holdings Ltd (86 400) by National Australia Bank Limited (ASX: NAB). 86 400 launched in 2019 and is a digital only bank, delivering its services through a smartphone application. “Innovative (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears a merger between two taxi companies (Uber / Autocab)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA clears Uber and Autocab deal* The CMA announced today that it has cleared Uber’s purchase of Autocab, following a Phase 1 merger investigation. The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) opened its Phase 1 merger investigation into ride-hailing company Uber’s acquisition of GPC Software (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two big tech companies raises competition concerns in relation to digital advertising and the supply of GIFs (Facebook / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Facebook’s purchase of Giphy raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Facebook’s completed acquisition of Giphy raises competition concerns in relation to digital advertising and the supply of GIFs. Giphy is an online database and search engine that allows users to share GIFs and (...)

The Australian Competition Authority re-authorises the cooperation between two airline companies for an additional five years (Qantas / American Airlines)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC re-authorises Qantas-American Airlines alliance* The ACCC has re-authorised the alliance between Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and American Airlines Inc for a further five years. The alliance enables Qantas (and Jetstar) to cooperate with American Airlines on Trans-Pacific routes (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds competition concerns in a merger between the two largest equity crowdfunding platforms (Crowdcube / Seedrs)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds competition concerns in Crowdcube and Seedrs merger* Following an in-depth investigation, the CMA has provisionally found that the proposed merger between Crowdcube and Seedrs will reduce competition and innovation. Crowdcube and Seedrs are the 2 largest equity crowdfunding (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally blocks a merger between equity crowdfunding platforms leading them abandoning the transaction (Crowdcube / Seedrs)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Crowdcube and Seedrs abandon merger during CMA investigation* Crowdcube and Seedrs have abandoned their proposed tie-up after the CMA provisionally blocked the deal. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) therefore intends to cancel its investigation into the potential competition (...)

The Danish Competition Authority approves a merger between two national pharmaceutical companies subject to conditions (Orifarm / Takeda)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council has approved Orifarm’s acquisition of certain assets from Takeda subject to commitments* The Danish Competition Council has approved Orifarm Generics Holding’s (hereinafter “Orifarm”) acquisition of certain assets, including a product portfolio consisting of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears a merger between the third and fourth-largest banks in the country subject to conditions (Bankia / Caixabank)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC clears, subject to conditions, the merger by absorption of BANKIA, S.A. by CAIXABANK, S.A.* In order to address the risks observed in certain retail banking segments, as well as in the ATM market, Caixabank has offered remedies that allowed the CNMC to approve the merger. Madrid, 23 (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two national private clinic operators (Sana / Klinikum Niederlausitz)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt has no objections to Sana’s participation in Klinikum Niederlausitz* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared plans by Sana Kliniken AG, Ismaning, to acquire 51% of the shares in Klinikum Niederlausitz GmbH, Senftenberg, from the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district. Klinikum Niederlausitz (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger between two optical retailers and manufacturers subject to conditions (GrandVision / EssilorLuxottica)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments (...)

The EU Commission clears subject to conditions a merger between two energy providers (Eaton Hydraulics / Danfoss)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Eaton Hydraulics by Danfoss, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Eaton’s hydraulics business (“Eaton Hydraulics”) by Danfoss. The approval is conditional on full (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes an updated version of the Merger Assessment Guidelines
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Updated CMA Merger Assessment Guidelines published* Following a public consultation, the CMA has published updated guidelines about its approach to analysing mergers. The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) previous merger assessment guidelines were published in 2010 and, since then, (...)

The UK Competition Authority updates its Merger Assessment Guidelines
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has updated its guidelines on the way it assesses mergers to take account of the significant economic changes that have taken place since it published its previous guidance in 2010. The CMA is taking an increasingly interventionist approach to (...)

The German Competition Authority partly clears the merger between two national retailers (Edeka / Real stores)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Edeka’s acquisition of Real stores only partly cleared - Edeka can only acquire 45 stores without conditions* The Bundeskartellamt has today only partly cleared Edeka’s plans to acquire up to 72 Real stores from SCP Retail S.à r.l. 21 stores cannot be acquired because of the competition (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority authorises the merger between two national foil packaging manufacturers submitted to conditions (Enoflex / Sparflex)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC authorises Enoflex to acquire exclusive control of Sparflex with conditions* The companies primarily manufacture different types of packaging foil for, among others, cavas and sparkling wines. The purchase is cleared in the phase I, but subject to Enoflex making certain divestments in (...)

The EU Commission forms a multilateral working group with leading competition authorities to exchange best practices on pharmaceutical mergers
DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: The European Commission forms a Multilateral Working Group with leading competition authorities to exchange best practices on pharmaceutical mergers* The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Canadian (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority fines tech giants for failure to notify economic concentrations under the applicable merger control rules
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
China’s antitrust enforcer imposes record fines on tech giants for failure to notify their concentrations* On 12 March 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s competition authority responsible for the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), has announced ten (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority investigates a merger in the market for the sale of spirits (Altia / Arcus)
Norwegian Competition Authority
Objection against the merger between Altia and Arcus* The Norwegian Competition Authority is considering intervening against the merger between Altia Plc. and Arcus ASA. The Authority’s preliminary view is that the merger may weaken competition in several markets for the sale of spirits to (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority investigates the acquisition of three product transport companies by a national cooperative of floriculture growers (Royal FloraHolland / Floriway)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Further investigation needed into acquisition of three floriculture-product transport companies by Dutch cooperative Royal FloraHolland* Royal FloraHolland (RFH), a Dutch cooperative of floriculture growers, wishes to acquire three transport companies specialized in the handling of flowers and (...)

The US DoJ reaches a settlement with two leading central Pennsylvanian health care providers regarding their merger (Geisinger / Evangelical)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Resolves Antitrust Case Against Leading Central Pennsylvania Health Care Providers* Settlement Protects Hospital Competition in this Region The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with Geisinger Health (Geisinger) and Evangelical Community (...)

The US FTC closes its investigation after a proposed merger in the healthcare sector is abandoned (Atrium / Houston Healthcare system)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Following Federal Trade Commission Staff Recommendation to Challenge Transaction, Two Health Care Systems in Central Georgia Abandon Proposed Merger* Federal Trade Commission Votes to Close Investigation of Atrium Health Navicent, Inc. and Houston Healthcare System, Inc. Given the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority approves the merger between two retail companies in the sanitary, heating, plumbing and ventilation products (FACQ / Cordes & Graefe)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of the FACQ group by Cordes & Graefe KG* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved on 26 February 2021 the acquisition of the FACQ group by Cordes & Graefe KG. Through the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes to re-authorise the merger between two airlines companies (Qantas / American airlines)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes to re-authorise Qantas-American Airlines alliance* The ACCC is proposing to re-authorise the alliance between Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and American Airlines Inc. for a further five years. The alliance enables Qantas (and Jetstar) to cooperate with American Airlines on (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates disciplinary proceedings against a national funeral service for gun-jumping (Funespaña)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against Funespaña, S.A., asubsidiary of the Mapfre Group* The company did not inform the CNMC that it was purchasing the Alianza Canaria funeral home prior to doing so. The Anti-Trust Law states that companies must inform the CNMC of any merger before (...)

The Belgian Government releases a draft bill to exclude clinical networking between hospitals from application of merger control
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 February 2021, the federal government submitted to the federal Chamber of Representatives a draft bill modifying the consolidated Law of 10 July 2008 regarding hospitals and other institutions of care (the Law), as regards the application of the merger control rules to clinical networking (...)

The Danish Competition Authority approves the merger between two national building material retailers (STARK / Jens Schultz)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council has approved STARK Danmark’s acquisition of sole control of Jens Schultz A/S* On 3rd September 2020 the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (hereinafter “DCCA”) received a complete notification of STARK Danmark A/S’ (hereinafter “STARK”) acquisition of sole (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority analyses the merger between two national funeral homes (Albia / Jordial)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC analyses, in phase II, Albia’s purchase of the Burgos funeral home, Jordial* The merger consists of the acquisition by Albia Gestión de Servicios, S.L.U. of practically all the funeral assets owned by Jordial, S.L. The Commission will study in depth the risks to competition in the (...)

The EU Commission clears the acquisition of American medical devices provider by leading medical imaging solutions company subject to conditions (Varian / Siemens Healthineers)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Varian by Siemens Healthineers, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Varian Medical Systems by Siemens AG, through its subsidiary Siemens Healthineers. The approval is (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger in the radiotherapy solutions market and subjects it to interoperability commitments (Siemens / Varian Healthineers)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 February 2021, the Commission conditionally cleared the acquisition of Varian by Siemens’ subsidiary Siemens Healthineers. Varian is a leading US supplier of radiotherapy solutions used to plan and deliver radiotherapy treatment, while German-based Siemens Healthineers is a leading (...)

The Australian Competition Authority raises preliminary concerns with the merger between two insurance companies (Aon / Willis Towers Watson)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Preliminary competition concerns over Aon’s proposed merger of Willis Towers Watson* The ACCC has preliminary competition concerns with Aon plc’s (Aon) proposed merger with Willis Towers Watson plc (WTW). Aon and WTW are two of the three largest providers of commercial risk, reinsurance and (...)

The EU Commission adopts final measures to preserve the divestment of a former company plant in Belgium after a merger (Novelis / Aleris)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers : Commission adopts final measures to preserve the divestment of former Aleris plant in Belgium following Novelis’ acquisition of Aleris* The European Commission has adopted final measures to preserve the divestment of the former Aleris plant in Duffel, Belgium, by Novelis under the EU (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholds the first divestiture order in an antitrust suit brought by a private party challenging a merger, years, after the transaction in the door manufacturing sector (Steves & Sons / Jeld-Wen)
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the first divestiture order in an antitrust suit brought by a private plaintiff which challenged its rival’s acquisition four years after the transaction. Post-consummation merger challenges are rare and—until now—have (...)

The EU Commission imposes final measures in a merger after delay in divestiture in the aluminium automotive body sheets market (Novelis / Aleris)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 February 2021, the Commission imposed final measures on aluminium manufacturer Novelis related to the belated divestment of a production plant required as a condition of the Commission’s clearance of the Novelis/ Aleris merger in 2019. Novelis had obtained conditional clearance to acquire (...)

The UK Competition Authority decides that the merger between two online retail companies raises competition concerns (Adevinta / Gumtree)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Adevinta’s purchase of Gumtree raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Adevinta’s anticipated £6.5bn ($9.2 billion) purchase of eCG from eBay could lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers. Adevinta and eBay Classified Group (eCG) both operate online classified advertising (...)

The French Competition Authority clears without conditions the acquisition by a media company of a national horseracing publication (Turf / NJJ)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears without conditions the acquisition of Groupe Paris Turf by NJJ Holding, controlled by Xavier Niel* On 11 June 2020, NJJ Holding (hereinafter ‘NJJ’), controlled by Mr. Xavier Niel and parent company of the NJJ Group, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of (...)

The French Competition Authority approves an acquisition in the luxury perfume and cosmetics sector (Cosmeurop / Superga)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Cosmeurop, subsidiary of L’Oréal, by Superga Invest* On 15 February 2021, the Superga Invest group notified the Autorité of its plan to acquire exclusive control of Cosmeurop. Parties to the transaction The Superga Invest group is active, (...)

The EU Commission clears an acquisition, subject to conditions, of Belgian agricultural products company by a Japanese trading house (Mitchui / Bechim)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Belchim by Mitsui, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Belchim by Mitsui. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by Mitsui. (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority announces a decrease to $93 million of the pre-merger notification thresholds for 2021 Free
Commonwealth Secretariat (London)
In what could be an extraordinary (if not unique?) move, Canada’s Competition Bureau (‘Bureau’) has announced that the pre-merger notification transaction size threshold for acquiring an undertaking in 2021 will decrease by $3 million from the 2020 level of $96 million to $93 million. The Bureau (...)

The Australian Competition Authority outlines competition concerns over a national software company’s proposed acquisition of a South African software provider that could substantially lessen competition in the accounting software market (MYOB / GreatSoft)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Preliminary competition concerns over MYOB’s GreatSoft acquisition* The ACCC has outlined preliminary competition concerns that MYOB’s proposed acquisition of GreatSoft could substantially lessen competition in the accounting software market. MYOB and GreatSoft both supply practice management (...)

The EU Commission refers to the French Competition Authority the review of the merger between two sewage maintenance companies (Suez / Veolia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission refers to the Autorité de la concurrence the review of the acquisition of Suez RV OSIS by SARP, a subsidiary of Veolia* On 5 February 2020, the European Commission referred the review of the takeover of Suez RV OSIS, a subsidiary of Suez, by SARP, a subsidiary of Véolia, (...)

The German Competition Authority expresses concerns over the merger between two food retailers (Edeka / Real stores)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt has concerns about Edeka’s acquisition of Real stores – negotiations on commitments* The Bundeskartellamt is currently examining plans by the Edeka group to acquire up to 72 Real stores from SCP Retail S.àr.l. Based on its preliminary assessment, the authority has competition (...)

The German Competition Authority examines the acquisition of a company in the food retail sector (Edeka / Real stores)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt has concerns about Edeka’s acquisition of Real stores – negotiations on commitments* The Bundeskartellamt is currently examining plans by the Edeka group to acquire up to 72 Real stores from SCP Retail S.àr.l. Based on its preliminary assessment, the authority has competition (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority clears merger between two national airline companies but imposes sanctions for not notifying their concentration in time (Interject / HBC)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions Interjet and HBC for not notifying their concentration in time* The Commission imposed fines for a total amount of 955 thousand 680 Mexican pesos. The concentration was authorized after verifying that the operation does not affect competition and free market access. The Board (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears subject to conditions a joint venture between the national electricity supply board and a forestry company (ESB / Coillte)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC obtains commitments in ESB/Coillte joint venture* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to a number of legally binding commitments, the proposed joint venture between the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Coillte Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears a fuel-cell joint venture aiming to achieve climate-neutral and sustainable transportation (Volvo / Daimler)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
Volvo Group (“Volvo”) and Daimler Truck AG (“Daimler”), notified a joint venture (“JV”) in the relatively novel but rapidly evolving hydrogen fuel-cell sector to the European Commission (“EC”, the “Commission”) . The JV cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG, based in Germany, will be active in the development, (...)

The US FTC and DoJ announce the suspension of the discretionary practice of granting early termination of the waiting period to filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced on February 4, 2021, that it is temporarily suspending the discretionary practice of granting “early termination” of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Act waiting period, with support from the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”). The (...)

The US FTC and the US DoJ announce the temporary suspension of all early terminations of merger reviews for transactions notified under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
Today the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the temporary suspension of all early terminations of merger reviews for transactions notified under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the ”HSR Act”). The agencies cited the transition (...)

The US DoJ and US FTC temporarily suspend grants of early termination of waiting period in merger reviews under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and Department of Justice ("DOJ") announced today that they are temporarily suspending any grants of early termination under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act ("HSR Act"). The HSR Act is the federal premerger notification program, which requires parties to notify (...)

The US FTC and US DoJ temporarily suspend early terminations of the Hart–Scott–Rodino Act waiting period in merger reviews
Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (New York)
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Dechert (Washington)
Key Takeaways Companies should anticipate waiting a full 30 days for the HSR waiting period to expire for all transactions that have recently been notified or are soon-to-be notified under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (“HSR Act”). It is not clear how long this suspension of Early Terminations will (...)

The US FTC and US DoJ temporarily suspend grants of early terminations of the waiting periods for pre-merger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
Hogan Lovells (Northern Virginia)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 4 February 2021 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that the U.S. antitrust agencies will temporarily suspend grants of early terminations of the waiting periods for pre-merger filings made pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 Act (HSR Act). The FTC (...)

The US FTC and the US DoJ announce the suspension of the discretionary practice of granting early termination of the waiting period to filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
On February 4, 2021, the U.S. antitrust agencies announced that they are temporarily suspending the discretionary practice of granting early termination of the waiting period to filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino ("HSR") Act. Since January 16, the agencies granted ET in just one (...)

The US FTC and the US DoJ suspend early termination for filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
Morgan Lewis (New York)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The DOJ and FTC have suspended early termination (i.e., early clearance) for filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on February 4 that the two agencies will temporarily suspend (...)

The US FTC and DoJ announce the suspension of the process by which requests for early termination of Hart-Scott-Rodino Act waiting periods are granted
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
On Thursday, February 4, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with the concurrence of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (DOJ), announced that it had suspended the process by which requests for early termination of Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR Act) waiting periods are granted, (...)

The UK Competition Authority requires national ticket exchange and resale company to sell secondary ticketing platform’s international business to address competition concerns (Viagogo / StubHub)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA requires viagogo to sell StubHub’s international business* The CMA is requiring viagogo to sell all of StubHub’s business outside North America after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that the merger between (...)

The US FTC publishes jurisdictional adjustments for premerger notification filings made pursuant to Section 7A of the Clayton Act and the revisions to the interlocking directorate thresholds pursuant to Section 8
Hogan Lovells (Northern Virginia)
,
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 2 February 2021 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the annual jurisdictional adjustments for premerger notification filings made pursuant to Section 7A of the Clayton Act, known as the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act), in the Federal Register. The new (...)

The US FTC revises thresholds for Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and Corporate Interlock Statute
Baker Botts (Washington)
,
Baker Botts (Washington)
On February 1, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission announced new jurisdictional thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”) and Section 8 of the Clayton Act (“Corporate Interlock Statute”). The FTC is required to adjust the thresholds annually, based on (...)

The US FTC decreases the Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notification thresholds for 2021
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
Takeaways The new minimum HSR threshold is DECREASING from $94 million to $92 million. New thresholds apply to any transaction closing on or after March 4, 2021. Failure to file may result in a fine of up to $43,792 per day of non-compliance. The HSR Act casts a wide net, catching mergers and (...)

The US FTC publishes revised thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino as well as for the Section 8 of the Clayton Act
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
Today, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published revised thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Act, which will take effect on March 4, 2021. Earlier, the FTC also announced new thresholds for Section 8 of the Clayton Act, which governs interlocking directorates. Each of these thresholds (...)

The US FTC requires parties to transactions exceeding certain thresholds to file premerger notification following the reform of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (New York)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
On February 2, 2021, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual changes to the thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”). The new size of transaction threshold is $92 million. The new HSR Act thresholds will go into (...)

The UK Competition Authority orders the divestment of a merging party’s international arm in the secondary ticketing market (Viagogo / StubHub)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 February 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final report following a Phase 2 investigation of the completed acquisition by the ticket reseller viagogo of competitor StubHub (previously part of eBay Inc.). The $4.1 billion (£3.1 billion) transaction was (...)

The US FTC lowers the thresholds for acquisitions meaning that transactions more than $92 million require preclosing filing and approval
Morgan Lewis (New York)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on February 1 that it will lower the Hart­-Scott-­Rodino Act (HSR Act) jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds. Any transaction closing on or after March 4, 2021 will be subject to the revised thresholds. The new rules include a decrease in the “size (...)

The US FTC announces its revised lower thresholds for premerger filings under the HSR Act
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Lower Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced* Lower Thresholds For HSR Filings On February 1st, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, lower thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a transaction in the hydrogen production sector (Storengy / DMSE)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears the stake acquired in Storengy, a subsidiary of Engie, by DMSE, a company created by the Metropolitan Authority of Dijon and the group Rougeot, which is active in the hydrogen production sector* Background When examining the transaction concerning the stake acquired by DMSE (...)

The French Competition Authority delivers its first-ever analysis of the hydrogen sector by clearing a transaction (Storengy / DMSE)
White & Case (Paris)
,
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
At a time when the European Union and many Member States have just unveiled their hydrogen strategy, the French Competition Authority takes the lead in delivering the very first analysis of the emerging hydrogen sector in a merger control case. In addition, contrary to the well-established (...)

State Aid

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves an aid for a third submarine cable connecting Iceland with Europe
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves aid for third submarine cable connecting Iceland with Europe* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a capital increase of an estimated EUR 50 million to Farice, a state-owned provider of international telecommunications services, for the construction of the IRIS (...)

The EU Commission approves €24.7 million Italian aid to compensate a national airline company for further damages suffered due to COVID-19 pandemic (Alitalia) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €24.7 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found €24.7 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 a €270 million Italian measure to support rail freight and commercial passenger operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €270 million Italian measure to support rail freight and commercial passenger operators affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €270 million Italian measure supporting both the rail freight sector and the (...)

The EU Commission approves a €146.5 million Austrian State aid scheme to support companies joining a research and innovation project in microelectronics
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €146.5 million Austrian support in favour of companies joining research and innovation project in microelectronics* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €146.5 million in Austrian support in favour of three companies joining the existing (...)

The EU Commission approves the modification of three existing Spanish State aid schemes in order to support the economy in the COVID-19 crisis Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves modification of Spanish schemes, including €10 billion budget increase for aid of limited amount, to further support economy in context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found the modification of three existing Spanish schemes to support the (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved an aid scheme that will provide financial support to voluntary organisations organising sporting events considered to be of national (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a financial aid to the Norwegian voluntary sector Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves financial aid to Norwegian voluntary sector* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved an aid scheme that will compensate voluntary organisations for lost income and increased costs arising from COVID-19 containment measures. Norway continues to (...)

The EU Commission approves a French State aid scheme to compensate ski lift operators for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French scheme to compensate ski lifts operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a French scheme with a budget between €140 and €700 million to compensate ski lifts operators for the (...)

The EU Commission decides to refer the UK to the Court of Justice for failing to fully recover an illegal State aid
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers United Kingdom to European Court for failure to fully recover illegal tax exemption aid of up to around €100 million in Gibraltar* The European Commission has decided to refer the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian State aid scheme to help the event industry adjust to prolonged restrictions Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves scheme to help the event industry adjust to prolonged restrictions* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a Norwegian scheme to help event companies overcome pandemic-related challenges. The event industry continues to be strongly impacted (...)

The EU Commission approves Finnish State aid measures of €350 million to support a national airport in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €350 million Finnish support to Finavia in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, three Finnish measures, with an overall budget of €350 million, to support airport operator Finavia in the context of (...)

The EU Commission approves around €350 million Finnish support to compensate a national airline for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak (Finnair) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves around €350 million Finnish support to compensate Finnair for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found €351.38 million of Finnish support in favour of Finnair to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure aims at (...)

The EU Commission approves a €1.1 billion Polish State aid scheme to support companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.1 billion Polish scheme to further support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €1.1 billion (PLN 5 billion) Polish scheme to support companies in various sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves increased compensation to Norwegian businesses Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves increased compensation to Norwegian businesses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved amendments to a temporary compensation scheme for companies in Norway. This entails stepping up the aid intensity for January and February 2021, including an (...)

The EU Commission approves €511 million Italian State aid scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €511 million in Italian support to compensate providers of commercial, (...)

The EU Commission approves a €2 billion French State aid scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2 billion French scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a French scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was (...)

The EU Commission approves €39.7 million Latvian measures to recapitalise national airport (Riga International Airport)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €39.7 million Latvian measures to recapitalise Riga International Airport* The European Commission has approved Latvian plans to grant up to €39.7 million for the recapitalisation of the State Joint Stock Company Riga International Airport (Riga International (...)

The EU Commission approves a Latvian State aid recapitalization of up to €39.7 million in the air transport sector (Riga International Airport)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On March 8, 2021, the European Commission (EC) approved the state recapitalization of up to €39.7 million, comprising a capital injection and a waived dividend payment for the 2019 financial year. The measure was notified to the EC under the EU’s Temporary Framework for State aid to support the (...)

The EU Commission approves Slovakian State aid rules to support the production of electricity from high-efficient cogeneration installations
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves over €1 billion support for high-efficient cogeneration of electricity and heat in Slovakia* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Slovak plans to support the production of electricity from high-efficient cogeneration installations (...)

The EU Commission approves a €20 million French State aid scheme with private investors support for companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French guarantee scheme mobilising up to €20 billion support from private investors for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a French State guarantee scheme to support the economy in the (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court which annuls the Commission’s decision and classifies as State aid the Spanish tax scheme in the football clubs sector (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court by which the Commission’s decision classifying as State aid the tax scheme of four Spanish professional football clubs had been annulled* The action which had been brought by Fútbol Club Barcelona against that decision is (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that an exclusive right that provides selective advantages through State resources and distorts competition and trade between Member States is a State aid (Poste Italiane)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Exclusive Rights and State Aid* Exclusive rights may constitute State aid if they mandate payments with resources over which the state can exercise control. Compensation for the cost of public service obligations may be granted only if the obligations are clear and define a service that is (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the measures adopted by a consortium of Italian banks to support one of its members do not constitute State aid (Banca Popolare di Bari)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice dismisses the appeal brought by the Commission against the judgment of the General Court concerning the measures adopted by a consortium of Italian banks to support one of its members* The General Court rightly found that those measures do not constitute State aid because (...)

The EU Commission approves a €40 million State aid measure to support research and development activities related to COVID-19 in Italy Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €40 million Italian aid measure to support coronavirus related research and development activities* The European Commission has approved a €40 million Italian aid measure to support coronavirus related research and development (R&D) by biotechnology company (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects the appeal brought by the Commission against the General Court’s decision concerning the measures adopted by Italian banks to support one of its members (Banca popolare di Bari)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Can the Decision of a Private Entity be Imputed to the State?* Introduction One of the trickiest aspects of determining whether a financial transaction involves State aid is its attribution or imputation to a decision of the state, especially when the entity providing the funding is private. (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess whether German plans to compensate lignite-fired power plants for phasing out earlier than foreseen are in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for early closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether German plans to compensate lignite-fired power plants for phasing out earlier than (...)

The EU Commission approves a €254 million Romanian aid destined to support the upgrade of the district heating system in Bucharest
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €254 million Romanian aid to support rehabilitation of district heating system in Bucharest The European Commission has approved, under EU State Aid rules, Romanian plans to support the upgrade of the district heating system of the municipality of Bucharest. (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves renewing temporary amendments to Norway’s seafarer tax refund scheme in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewing temporary amendments to Norway’s seafarer tax refund scheme* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a renewal of temporary amendments to a Norwegian aid scheme that grants tax and social security contribution refunds. The refunds are (...)

The EU General Court rejects actions against the Commission’s decisions on COVID-19 aid schemes in the aviation sector (Ryanair) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court delivered two important judgments concerning State aid granted by Sweden (T-238/20) and France (T-259/20), respectively, on the basis of the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak (the “Covid-19 (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses two actions brought by an airline company against the Commission’s approval of State aid schemes supporting airlines holding national licences during the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
In May 2020, Ryanair brought two separate actions against the EC approval of a Swedish and a French State aid scheme supporting airlines holding national licences under Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and Article 107(2)(b) TFEU respectively. On 17 February 2021, the General Court dismissed Ryanair’s (...)

The EU Court of Justice states that the French aid schemes adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic do not infringe competition law in the airlines market (Ryanair) Free
College of Europe (Bruges)
State Aid May be Limited to Undertakings with Close Links with the National Economy (Part II)* Introduction The European Commission acted swiftly to adopt a fairly accommodating and wide-ranging “Temporary Framework” to regulate State aid for the purposes of counter-acting the impact of (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the first two challenges to State aid awarded to national airlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court of the European Union (“General Court”) in Cases T-259/20 and T-238/20 dismissed Ryanair’s challenges to pandemic aid packages introduced in France and Sweden in order to support the domestic airline sector. The judgments are the first ones where the General (...)

The EU Court of Justice states that the deferral of the payment of taxes introduced by France to support airlines that hold a national licence amid the COVID-19 pandemic is consistent with EU law (Ryanair) Free
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The deferral of the payment of taxes introduced by France to support airlines which hold a French licence amid the Covid-19 pandemic is consistent with EU law* That aid scheme is appropriate for making good the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and does not constitute (...)

The EU General Court hands down two judgments dismissing an airline company’s challenges against decisions by the Commission approving French and Swedish measures to support airlines in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair) Free
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court handed down two judgments dismissing Ryanair’s challenges against decisions by the European Commission, approving French and Swedish measures to support airlines in the context of the pandemic (Cases T-238/20 and T-259/20). These judgments are the very (...)

The EU Court of Justice states that the loan guarantee scheme put in place by Sweden to support airlines holding a Swedish operating licence amid the COVID-19 pandemic and intended to remedy the serious disturbance to the economy of that Member State is compatible with EU law (Ryanair) Free
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The loan guarantee scheme put in place by Sweden to support airlines holding a Swedish operating licence amid the Covid-19 pandemic and intended to remedy the serious disturbance to the economy of that Member State is compatible with EU law* The scheme at issue is presumed to have been adopted (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves increased support for the tourism sector in Norway in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves increased support for the tourism sector in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a budget increase for the liquidity support grant scheme for businesses in Norway’s tourism sector from NOK 550 million to NOK 850 million. On 6 July (...)

The EU Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved an approximately €1.4 billion (SEK 14 billion) Swedish scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies affected (...)

The EU Commission opens in-depth investigation into Romanian support measures in favour of national lignite-based electricity producer (CE Oltenia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Romanian support measures in favour of CE Oltenia* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Romanian support measures in favour of Complexul Energetic Oltenia SA (‘CE Oltenia’) would be in line with EU (...)

The EU Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme for package travel organisers and facilitators of linked travel services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme for package travel organisers and facilitators of linked travel services in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €300 million Austrian scheme for package travel (...)

The UK Government launches a consultation on a new domestic regime for subsidy control following the conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 February 2021, the UK Government started a consultation process regarding the UK’s future subsidy regime, which will be entirely separate from the existing EU state aid framework. Following the conclusion of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”) and the end of the Brexit (...)

The UK Government publishes a consultation paper outlining proposals for a new subsidy control regime
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 3 February 2021, the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy ("BEIS") published a consultation paper outlining proposals for a new subsidy control regime in the UK ("Consultation Paper"). The need for a new subsidy control regime has been prompted primarily by: the State (...)

Procedures

The UK Court of Appeal dismisses a request for appeal as the Tribunal’s funding judgment does not fall within the ambit of section 49(1A) of the Competition Act (DAF)
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
Following a rolled-up hearing comprising a panel of three judges sitting as both the Court of Appeal and the Divisional Court, a judgment earlier this month has provided helpful clarity on two important aspects relating to the collective proceedings regime: (i) the extent to which litigation (...)

The EU Court of Justice hands down a preliminary ruling on the division of competences between national competition authorities and the EU Commission as well as clarifying the application of the rules on double jeopardy (Slovak Telekom)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 25 February 2021, the European Court of Justice handed down a preliminary ruling on the division of competences between national competition authorities ("NCA"s) and the Commission in the context of concurrent proceedings, also providing guidance on the application of the rules on double (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal accepts jurisdiction regarding a damage claim in a case of abuse of dominance in the Greek beer market (MTB / AB / Heineken)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 16 February 2021, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) reversed a judgment of the Amsterdam District Court (District Court) in which the District Court declined jurisdiction in the damage claims brought by the Macedonian Thrace Brewery S.A. (MTB) against Athenian Brewery S.A. (AB) (...)

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