January 2020

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission reiterates its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA, the licensor can no longer control the sale of the product (NBCUniversal Media / Comcast)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
The European Commission has reiterated its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA, such licensor can no longer control where, to whom, and in what manner (online/off-line) the products can be sold within the EEA. On 30 January 2020, the (...)

The EU Commission imposes €14.3 million fine on companies for territorial, customer and online sales restrictions of merchandising products (NBCUniversal)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to fine several companies belonging to Comcast Corporation, including NBCUniversal, € 14,327,000 for limiting the ability of licensees to sell licensed merchandising products to other EEA countries and non-allocated (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €1.1 million on members of the same economic interest group in a cartel investigation in Mexico’s public health sector (Productos Galeno / Holiday de Mexico)
Ritch Mueller (Mexico City)
On January 30th, 2020, in the context of case file DE-020-2014, the plenary session of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission (’Cofece’) has imposed fines totaling MXN$28,790,000 (approximately, €1.1 million) to Productos Galeno and Holiday de Mexico, as well as to two individuals who acted on (...)

The EU Commission fines €14,3 million several companies for restricting sales of licensed film merchandise (NBCUniversal)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 30 January 2020, the Commission imposed a fine on NBCUniversal for the restriction of sales of film merchandise relating to Minions and Shrek, among others. In June 2017, the Commission opened investigations into the licensing deals entered into by Nike, Sanrio (Hello Kitty), and (...)

The EU Commission fines several companies for restricting sales of film merchandise products (NBCUniversal)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines NBCUniversal €14.3 million for restricting sales of film merchandise products* The European Commission has fined several companies belonging to Comcast Corporation, including NBCUniversal LLC, (“NBCUniversal”) €14 327 000 for restricting traders from selling licensed (...)

The EU Commission fines several film companies for implementing territorial, consumer and online sales restrictions through merchandising licence agreements (NBC Universal)
University of Liège
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Liège University
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission (‘the Commission’) announced its decision to fine several film companies belonging to Comcast Corporation, including NBCUniversal LLC (‘Universal’), €14,327,000 for the implementation of territorial, consumer and online sales restrictions through their (...)

The UK CMA welcomes the EU Court of Justice ruling in a pay-for-delay case (Paroxetine Case)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA welcomes EU Court ruling in pay-for-delay drug case* The CMA welcomes a ruling from the EU Court of Justice in relation to its case that drug companies supplying an antidepressant called paroxetine broke the law. The ruling, released today, follows appeals from GlaxoSmithKline and other (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the conditions under which ‘pay-for-delay’ agreements preventing generic versions of a patented medicine from entering the market or delaying such entry may constitute a restriction of competition ‘by object’ or ‘by effect” as well as an abuse of dominant position (Generics - UK)
University of Liège
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University of Liège
On 30 January 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU (‘CJEU’) ruled on the applicability of competition law to settlement agreements between a holder of a pharmaceutical patent and manufacturers of generic medicines. In a judgment issued only a week after Advocate General Kokott delivered her (...)

The French Supreme Court overturns a Paris Court of Appeal judgment on the concept of restriction of competition by object in a bank fee cartel case (Banque de France / BPCE / Banque Postale / BNP-Paribas / CIC / HSBC / SG)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 January 2019, the French Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) annulled a judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”) in the bank interchange fee cartel case on the grounds that the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of the concept of “restriction of competition by object” was (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines a Dutch company for obstructing parallel trade to Turkish energy solution market (Arti Marin / Mastervolt)
Bilkent University - Law School (Ankara)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction On 29.01.2020, Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) announced its final decision (“Final Decision”) concerning the investigation conducted against Artı Marin Mobil Enerji Sistemleri Inc. (“Artı Marin”) and Mastervolt International Holding BV (“Mastervolt”), a Netherlands based energy (...)

The French Supreme Court annuls the fines previously imposed by the Competition Authority on ten banks for agreeing on the introduction of unjustified interbank fees (BPCE / Crédit agricole / BNP Paribas / Société générale...)
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
A new development in the judicial saga around the 2010 decision by which the FCA imposed a EUR 384.9 million fine on 11 French banks for agreeing on the introduction of unjustified interbank fees during the transition towards a new digital system for processing checks. On 29 January 2020, the (...)

The French Competition Authority creates a guide for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence creates a guide for SMEs* The Autorité wishes to develop, as part of a preventive approach, the knowledge of competition law held by all companies, in order for them to avoid breaching the law and for them to be able to use the tools of competition law to fight (...)

The Italian Competition Authority sanctions telecommunication operators for their participation in a cartel (Assotelecomunicazioni / Fastweb / Telecom Italia / Vodafone...)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 7 February 2018, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) initiated an investigation against the major fixed and mobile operators (TIM S.p.A, Vodafone Italia S.p.A, Fastweb S.p.A and Wind Tre S.p.A). The investigation was aimed at verifying whether the companies had coordinated their (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice provides guidance on the requirements for establishing liability and the assessment of evidence in cartel damages cases (Schienenkartell II)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
In its judgment of 28 January 2020, the Cartel Senate of the German Federal Court of Justice provided new guidance on the requirements for establishing liability and the assessment of evidence in cartel damages cases. In the initial proceedings, the plaintiff, a local transport company, sought (...)

The US FTC files a complaint against an undertaking seeking permanent injunctive relief and equitable relief, including monetary relief, for an anticompetitive scheme to preserve a monopoly for a drug (Vyera Pharmaceuticals / Pharma Bro)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
WILL THE SUPREME COURT LIMIT THE FTC’S USE OF SECTION 13(B) COURT ACTIONS?* The FTC’s authority to seek permanent injunctive relief and monetary relief under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act is being called into question. While more commonly used in consumer protection cases, Section 13(b) has been (...)

The Madrid Commercial Court requests a preliminary ruling to the EU Court of Justice concerning the international competence of the court which was contested by the defendants (RH / AB Volvo)
CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
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CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
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3C Compliance (Madrid)
Choice of forum delicti in EU-wide cartel damages cases (C-30/20, RH vs Volvo) Does Art. 7(2) Brussels I bis determine territorial jurisdiction within the EU Member States, Madrid Commercial Court asks EU Court of Justice. The request for a preliminary ruling from the Madrid Commercial Court (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines guitar maker a record-breaking £4.5M for engaging into online retail price maintenance (Fender)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 January 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) fined guitar maker Fender Musical Instruments Europe Limited and its US parent company, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, (“Fender”) £ 4.5 million (approximately € 5.4 million) for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the (...)

The German Competition Authority discontinues the proceedings against the "alliance of publishing houses" in the press wholesale sector as they end minimum sales requirement (Verlagsallianz / BPVG)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt brings an end to minimum sales requirement in the press wholesale sector* The “alliance of publishing houses” (Verlagsallianz) consisting of seven major German publishing houses and the Association of German Book, Newspaper and Magazine Wholesalers (BPVG) have refrained from (...)

The Italian Council of State confirms the annulment of a €140 million fine imposed by the Competition Authority to steel companies, as they did not form a cartel in the reinforcing steel bar and electro-welded mesh markets (Reinforcing Steel Bars / Tondini per Cemento Armato)
Chiomenti (Milano)
On 21 January 2020, the Italian Council of State confirmed the annulment of a 140 million EUR fine imposed in 2017 by the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) to some of the main Italian steel companies. Indeed, the ICA – by Decision of 19 July 2017 (the “Decision”) issued in the proceedings I742 (...)

The UK Court of Appeal rejects an appeal against a judgment of the CAT which upheld the CMA’s decision finding a company online sales ban of its custom-fitted golf clubs to be an unjustified restriction (Ping)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 January 2020, the UK Court of Appeal rejected an appeal brought by the golf club manufacturer Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) against the 2018 judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”), which upheld the Competition and Markets Authority’s (“CMA”) 2017 decision finding Ping’s online sales (...)

The UK Competition Authority conducts an inspection and fines £4.5 million a company for engaging in resale price maintenance in the music sector (Fender Europe)
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
After conducting a full investigation in April 2018, the CMA on 22 January 2020, fined Fender Musical Instruments Europe Limited (Fender Europe), an international seller of guitar instruments, £4,521,185 (the largest fine imposed in the UK for resale price maintenance) for its infringement of (...)

The Paris Commercial Court grants interim measures to a large food retailer imposing on one of its suppliers of non-alcoholic beverages to resume its deliveries (Intermarché / Coca-Cola)
BCTG Avocats (Paris)
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BCTG Avocats (Paris)
Following the Coca Cola European Partners’ decision (hereinafter ’Coca-Cola’) to stop delivering its products to ITM Alimentaire International (hereinafter ’ITM’), ITM applied for interim measures before the Paris Commercial Court (hereinafter the “Court”) in early 2020. On January 16th, 2020, the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines €28,5 million a cars importer for misleading customers on the level of exhaust gas emissions and affecting how consumers’ legitimate complaints were considered by car dealers (Volkswagen)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Following four years of proceedings, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (’’UOKiK’’) fined Volkswagen Group Poland (a Polish importer of Volkswagen Group cars) for misleading customers about the level of exhaust gas emissions and affecting how consumers’ legitimate complaints were (...)

The Italian Council of State reverses a banking cartel decision on account of the negligible competition impact (Raiffeisen)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Determining the appeal claims lodged in the Raiffeisen case, the highest administrative court or Council of State (hereinafter the Court) has reversed a previous infringement decision made by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA). The Court found that the contested restrictive business (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation against several shipping companies to assess an alleged agreement restricting competition in the market for the transport of flammable material and waste to and from the islands in the Gulf of Naples (Mediterranea Marittima / Servizi Marittimi Liberi Giuffré & Lauro / Medmar Navi / Tra.Spe.Mar / GML Trasporti Marittimi and Consorzio COTRASIR)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: investigation opened into an alleged anticompetitive agreement in the transport of fuel and waste to and from the Campanian Archipelago* On 14 January 2020, the Authority opened an investigation against the companies Mediterranea Marittima S.p.a., Servizi Marittimi Liberi Giuffré & (...)

The German Competition Authority fines seven wholesalers of plant protection products and their responsible employees for agreeing on price lists, discounts and some individual sales prices (AGRAVIS Raiffeisen / AGRO Agrargroßhandel / BayWa / Betriebsmittel Service Logistik / Getreide / Raiffeisen Waren / Kassel / ZG Raiffeisen)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Wholesalers of plant protection products fined for anti-competitive agreements on price lists, discounts and individual prices* Bonn, 13 January 2020: The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling 154.6 million euros on seven wholesalers of plant protection products and their responsible (...)

The Indian Competition Authority directs an investigation into allegations of anti-competitive agreements between e-commerce marketplaces (Amazon & Flipkart)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed an investigation into allegations of anti-competitive agreements between e-commerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart, on the one hand, and sellers on these marketplaces, on the other. A Delhi based traders’ body alleged that Amazon and (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €154.6 million on plant protection product suppliers for agreeing on price lists, rebates and retail prices (Agravis / Agro Agrargroßhandel / BayWa / BSL Betriebsmittel Service Logistik / Getreide / Raiffeisen Waren / ZG Raiffeisen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 January 2020, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) imposed fines totalling € 154.6 million on seven undertakings for agreeing on price lists, rebates and retail prices for plant protection products between 1998 and 2015. Fines were also imposed on employees implicated in the infringing (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its priorities for 2020 which includes the competition issues in the digital sector and a focus on the environment and sustainable development
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
The French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published in mid-January its priorities for 2020 which include in particular the competition issues in the digital sector, a focus on the environment and sustainable development, competition advocacy with a strong focus on trade associations and unions and (...)

The Belgian Court of Appeal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision for imposing a fine over the exclusion of a company from the pharmaceutical sector (Order of Pharmacists)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
In a judgment dated 8 January 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") in which it imposed a fine on the Order of Pharmacists for excluding Medi-Market from the market for pharmacy services (see July edition of Competitive Edge). The Court, (...)

The Danish High Court fines two companies for bid rigging in the construction sector (Jorton / H. Skjøde Knudsen)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
THE HIGHT COURT FINES TWO CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES FOR BID RIGGING * The High Court has fined the construction companies Jorton A/S and H. Skjøde Knudsen A/S respectively DKK 3,000,000 (€ 401,442) and DKK 267,628 (€ XXX) for bid rigging. Two members of the managements were fined respectively DKK (...)

The Danish High Court finds two companies guilty of exchanging prices and coordinating tenders on several construction contracts (Jorton / Skjøde Knudsen)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 7 January 2020, the Danish High Court (“High Court”) found the two construction groups, Jorton A/S and H. Skjøde Knudsen A/S, guilty of having infringed the Danish Competition Act by exchanging prices and coordinating tenders on several construction contracts. The High Court found that the two (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines €4.8 million undertakings for sharing EU-funded public procurement tenders for diagnostic imaging equipment (GE Hungary / Premier G / Euromedic Technology)
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
The Hungarian Competition Authority (’’GVH’’) fined several undertakings which were found to have shared amongst themselves the EU-funded public procurement tenders for diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT and X-ray) equipment in Hungary in 2015. The total fine amounts to EUR 4.8 million, with GE Hungary (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority publishes amendments to competition law which prohibit public administrative bodies to hinder, restrict or deform the competition
Konkurences padome (Riga)
New framework of the competition law in Latvia against competition distortions created by public administrative bodies comes into force* On 1 January 2020, amendments to the Competition Law of the Republic of Latvia entered into force prohibiting public administrative bodies – the state, local (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Court of Justice clarifies for the first time when patent settlement agreements that restrict a generic pharmaceutical company’s ability to enter the market infringe the EU antitrust rules (Generics - UK)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
In a major judgment handed down on 30 January 2020 in Generics (UK) and Others, the EU Court of Justice (the Court) – the EU’s highest court – clarified for the first time the analytical framework for assessing when patent settlement agreements that restrict a generic pharmaceutical company’s (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes a case of alleged abuse of dominance by the Indian state broadcaster and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Next Radio / Prasar Bharti / Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI closed a case of alleged abuse of dominance by Indian state broadcaster Prasar Bharti and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Opposite Parties). [1] Two private broadcasters complained that the Opposite Parties had abused their dominance in the market for the provision of (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the criteria for the "pay-for-delay" agreements in the pharmaceutical sector (Generics - UK)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 30 January 2020 the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) clarified for the first time the criteria governing whether so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements entered into between originator and generic pharmaceutical companies fall foul of EU competition law rules. Such agreements are a form of patent (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that pay-for-delay patent settlements may restrict competition ‘by object’ (Generics - UK)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 January 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) handed down its judgment in Case C-307/18, Generics (UK) and Others. This case marks the first time the ECJ has ruled on patent settlement agree- ments between originator pharmaceutical companies and generic producers. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint by a fintech company for becoming dominant in the market after purchasing a technology provider in the financial services industry (Satyen Narendra Bajaj / PayU)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
It is trite law that, while the Competition Act prohibits an abuse of a dominant position, the mere existence of a dominant position with no evidence of abuse is not prohibited. This was made clear by the CCI in dismissing a complaint that PayU, a fintech company that provides payment (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures against a sport’s association because of its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association concerning the bumper pool balls that may be played with in competitions and matches* At the request of HCSB BVBA (manufacturer of bumper pool balls), the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has imposed (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a request for interim measures against a dominant telecom company accused of denying access to its fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure (AOTA / Orange)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Orange activated fibre offer: the Autorité rejects the complaint of AOTA* The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the AOTA’s complaint regarding Orange’s practices for lack of evidence. The Autorité also announces the launching of an exploratory investigation into the business telecoms market. The (...)

The French Competition Authority finds that a non-notifiable acquisition does not amount to an abuse of dominant position in the broadcasting market (Towercast / Itas / TDF)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 January 2020, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) handed down a decision in which it found that mergers and acquisitions did not amount to an abuse of a dominant position. In the case at hand, Towercast (a company active on the market of terrestrial broadcasting in France) (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into allegations that a paint sector undertaking threatened anticompetitive actions against dealers who sought to partner with the complainant (JSW Paints / Asian Paints)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI directed the DG to investigate allegations that Asian Paints had abused its dominant position in decorative paints by threatening dealers who sought to partner with the complainant, JSW Paints. [1] The CCI found prima facie that Asian Paints was dominant given its above 50% market (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines the collective rights management organisation for abuse of a dominant position (OSA)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition ("Office") imposed a fine amounting to CZK 10,676,000 on the collective rights management organisation, Ochranný svaz autorský pro práva k dílům hudebním ("OSA"), for an abuse of a dominant position. The decision has been (...)

Mergers

The Polish Competition Authority conditionally approves a merger in the cable television and internet access market (Multimedia / Vectra)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
In August 2018, Vectra notified UOKiK about its planned acquisition of Multimedia Polska (Multimedia), a competing provider of cable television and Internet access. Following its initial assessment of the planned transaction, UOKiK initiated the second stage of its proceedings in September (...)

The Pakistan Competition Authority approves an acquisition between two application-based ride-sharing service companies despite extremely high market concentration levels and efficiencies failing to outweigh the adverse effects of lessening of competition (Careem / Uber Technologies)
McGill University - Department of Law (Montreal)
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (hereinafter “CCP” or “the Commission”) through its order dated 31 January 2020 (“the Order”) approved the acquisition of Careem by Uber Technologies, Inc., transforming the duopolistic market of application-based ridesharing services into a monopolistic market. (...)

The Singapore Competition Authority opens a phase-II review of a proposed merger between two shipbuilding companies due to concerns that the removal of competition would be detrimental to customers (Korea Shipbuilding / Daewoo Shipbuilding)
Bird & Bird (Singapore)
The estimated US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) transaction raised concerns that the removal of competition would be detrimental to customers in Singapore. Following an application for decision on 12 September 2019, The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (the ’’CCCS’’) concluded the (...)

The US FTC announces the revised merger notification thresholds
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On January 28, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the revised thresholds for determining whether companies are required to notify federal antitrust authorities about a transaction under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (HSR Act). If a proposed (...)

The US FTC announces that it will raise the HSR Act jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (New York)
Transactions closing on February 27 or later will be subject to increased HSR Act jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 28 that it will raise the Hart­-Scott­-Rodino Act (HSR Act) jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds. Any (...)

The US FTC announces the revised merger notification thresholds
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (New York)
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Shearman & Sterling (New York)
On January 28, 2020, 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 $94 million. The new HSR Act thresholds will go into (...)

The US FTC announces that the dollar-based thresholds applicable to the HSR pre-merger notification program will be raised from the 2019 levels
Dechert (New York)
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Dechert (Washington)
On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") announced in the Federal Register that the dollar-based thresholds applicable to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) premerger notification program will be raised about 4.4 percent from the 2019 levels. As a result, the HSR minimum (...)

The US FTC revises the thresholds for the HSR pre-merger notification
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
NOTIFICATION THRESHOLD UNDER THE HART-SCOTT-RODINO ACT INCREASED TO $94 MILION* The US Federal Trade Commission today announced increased thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and for determining whether parties trigger the prohibition against interlocking (...)

The US FTC announces its annual update on the HRS for premerger notification filings and interlocking directorates
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Charlotte)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (New York)
FTC ANNOUNCES 2020 THRESHOLDS FOR MERGER CONTROL FILINGS UNDER HSR ACT AND INTERLOCKING DIRECTORATES UNDER THE CLAYTON ACT* The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has announced its annual revisions to the dollar jurisdictional thresholds in the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, (...)

The US FTC announces annual revisions to the HSR Act filing thresholds, civil penalty maximum, and interlocking directorate thresholds
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
HSR Act Filing Thresholds, Civil Penalty Maximum, and Interlocking Directorate Thresholds Revisions* On January 28, 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual revisions to the jurisdictional thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR (...)

The US FTC increases thresholds for Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and Corporate Interlock Statute
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
On January 28, 2020, 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 announces its adjustments to the HSR Act threshold and determines which mergers and acquisitions must be reported to the federal government before consummation
Jones Day (Chicago)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
This week, the Federal Trade Commission announced its 2020 adjustments to the Hart-Scott-Rodino ("HSR") Act thresholds. These thresholds determine which mergers and acquisitions must be reported to the federal government before consummation. The new thresholds take effect on February 27, and (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s €947,700 gun-jumping fine imposed on one of Lithuania’s largest agricultural processing companies (Kauno Grūdai)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 January 2020, the Lithuanian Competition Council, Konkurencijos taryba, published a decision of the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholding a € 947,700 gun-jumping fine imposed on Kauno Grūdai, one of Lithuania’s largest agricultural processing companies. Kauno Grūdai acquired 51% (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the newspaper market (Groupe Nice Matin / NJJ)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Groupe Nice Matin by NJJ, controlled by Xavier Niel* The Autorité de la concurrence examined the acquisition of sole control of the Nice Matin newspaper group (GNM), which publishes the Nice-Matin, Var-Matin and Monaco-Matin newspapers, by (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority informs that concentration notifications may only be filed electronically
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
As of January, concentration notifications may only be filed through electronic means* As of January 24, notification of concentrations that COFECE must review by law, will only be received through the Electronic Procedure System at the Commission’s website. This measure simplifies the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority starts a phase II investigation into the acquisition of two companies active in the sector of production and sales of soft wheat flour (Ceres / Dossche Mills)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
At the beginning of the year, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") started a second phase investigation into the acquisition of Ceres NV by Dossche Mills, two companies active in the sector of production and sales of soft wheat flour for human consumption. The main issue concerned the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the distribution of frozen food products market (Picard Group / Zouari family/ Lion Capital)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution of frozen food products* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the joint takeover of Picard Group by the Zouari family and Lion Capital. The Zouari family, together with Lion Capital investment fund, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire joint control of (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates a procedure to determine if the parties provided false data during a pre-merger review in the poultry products market (SáGa Foods)
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
In December 2019, the Hungarian Competition Office (“GVH”) acknowledged the notification of the acquisition of SáGa Foods Zrt. by Master Good Kft. without raising doubts (ÖB-0052/2019/6). After the implementation of the merger, the merging parties issued a press release, which was also sent to the (...)

The US FTC and DOJ Issue Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
Update: On February 3, 2020, the DOJ and FTC announced that the deadline for submitting public comments on the draft vertical merger guidelines has been extended to February 26, 2020. The agencies also announced two public workshops – on March 11 and March 18 – to solicit dialogue on the draft (...)

The US FTC and the US DoJ release a joint draft on vertical merger guidelines for public comment
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
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Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released joint draft Vertical Merger Guidelines (“Guidelines”) for public comment. This much anticipated revision to the Guidelines, which had not been updated in more than 35 years, (...)

The UK CAT confirms a deferential standard for the Competition Authority in its merger prohibitions (Tobii)
Baker McKenzie (Singapore)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
A recent decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), Tobii AB (publ) v. Competition and Markets Authority, confirms a deferential standard for the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in its merger prohibitions. The CMA is widely regarded as a thought leader among merger control (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the pharmaceutical sector (AbbVie / Allergan)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Allergan by AbbVie. The approval is conditional on the divestment of a product under development by Allergan to (...)

The US Doj and FTC issue draft vertical merger guidelines
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
,
Jones Day (Sillicon Valley)
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") and Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") issued draft Vertical Merger Guidelines. Vertical mergers combine two or more companies operating at different levels of a supply chain for a related product, e.g., windshields and cars. This is the first (...)

The UK Competition Appeals Tribunal quashes the Competition Authority’s decision for failing to provide sufficient evidence in order to prove that the acquisitions would result in vertical input foreclosure effects in the communication technology market (Tobii / Smartbox)
Bird & Bird (London)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
In September 2019, the Competition Markets Authority ("CMA") found that Tobii’s acquisition of Smartbox resulted in or may result in a substantial lessening of competition in the UK assistive communication technology market and ordered Tobii to divest Smartbox. Tobii consequently appealed the (...)

The US FTC and DoJ release a draft of an update to the 1984 vertical merger guidelines
Bona Law (Detroit)
,
Bona Law (San Diego)
US ANTITRUST AGENCIES RELEASE UPDATED VERTICAL MERGER GUIDELINES* In big antitrust news, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division released a draft of an update to the 1984 Vertical Merger Guidelines (VMG) on January 10, 2020. Only three of the five FTC (...)

The US DOJ and FTC announce new draft vertical merger guidelines
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
,
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
DOJ and FTC Announce New Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines* On January 10, 2020, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) (together, the “Agencies”) released Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines (the “Draft Guidelines”) that are intended to outline the (...)

The US FTC and DoJ update the vertical merger guidelines
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
FTC AND DOJ DRAFT VERTICAL MERGER GUIDELINES PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TRANSPARENCY TO AGENCY PRACTICE* For the first time since the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) published non-horizontal merger guidelines in 1984, the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued updated Vertical (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measure suspending the implementation of the shareholders agreement and the radio access network sharing agreement in the telecommunications market (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on Orange and Proximus in respect of the joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has at the request of Telenet Group NV and Telenet BVBA (Telenet) imposed on 8 January 2020 an (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures suspending a joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 22 November 2019, the Belgian companies Orange Belgium, SA/NV and Proximus, SA/NV concluded an agreement to create a joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks. However, the Telenet Group, SA/NV and Telenet, SPRL/BVBA ( jointly, ‘Telenet’) requested a deeper inquiry (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority extends the application of simplified procedure for concentrations
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority (‘BCA’) has extended the application of the simplified procedure on concentrations, which is contained in the Article IV.70 of the Belgian Code of Economic Law. These additional rules were approved on 8 January 2020 and they entered into force on 20 January 2020. (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture between two of the three main telecom companies in the Belgian market (Orange / Proximus)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 8 January, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture ("JV") between Orange and Proximus, two of the three main telecom players in the Belgian market. The cooperation between Orange and Proximus relates to the sharing of (...)

The UK Competition Authority cancels its phase II investigation following an abandon merger in the DNA sequencing systems market (Illumina / PacBio)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Illumina/PacBio abandon merger* Illumina has abandoned its anticipated $1.2 billion takeover of PacBio after an in-depth CMA merger probe highlighted serious competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has therefore today confirmed that it will be cancelling its Phase 2 (...)

The US FTC files an administrative complaint challenging consummated acquisition and non-reportable transactions in the body-worn camera market (Axon / Safariland)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
FTC CHALLENGES AXON’S CONSUMMATED ACQUISITION OF BODY-WORN CAMERA COMPETITOR* The US antitrust regulators continue to challenge consummated transactions. On January 3, 2020, the FTC filed an administrative complaint against Axon Enterprise, Inc., challenging its consummated acquisition of (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority introduces simplified and more extensive merger filing process in its merger guidelines
Druzhestvo Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schoenherr (Sofia)
Introduction On 1 January 2020 the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) introduced new merger filing guidelines. The former guidelines – which applied for over 10 years – did not differentiate between transactions (eg, simple and complex), despite potential competition concerns. (...)

State Aid

The UK Government’s withdrawal agreement with the EU Commission enters into force, including its State aid provisions
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court dismisses in its entirety the action made by a company in the potash mines sector and confirms the existence of aid measures (Iberpotash / EU Commission)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission launches public consultation on the revised State aid Guidelines in the context of the amended EU emissions trading scheme
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Commission has launched a public consultation seeking interested parties’ views on the draft new ETS Guidelines before their adoption in the course of 2020, which will apply as of 2021. The objective of these guidelines is the reduction of exposure to the risk of carbon leakage, which (...)

Procedures

The German Federal Court of Justice defines, in line with EU case-law, the substantive and procedural requirements for establishing causality in cartel-related damages actions (Rail Cartel)
University of Vienna
By its ruling in Rail Cartel II (Schienenkartell II), delivered on 28 January 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) has clarified the respective prerequisites to establish, on the one hand, causality which gives rise to liability (haftungsbegründende Kausalität), and on (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the right of access to documents contained in the file of a marketing authorisation application for a medicinal product (PTC Therapeutics, MSD Animal Health)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court confirms the right of access to documents contained in the file of a marketing authorisation application for a medicinal product* An objection to such access must explain the nature, purpose and scope of the data whose disclosure would undermine commercial interests In the judgments (...)

The US DoJ convicts a foreign executive following extradition proceedings for price fixing (Ullings)
Morgan Lewis (Silicon Valley)
Dutch national Maria Christina “Meta” Ullings was extradited from Italy to the United States on January 10. Ullings previously served as the senior vice president of cargo sales and marketing for Martinair N.V. (Martinair Cargo). On September 21, 2010, Ullings was originally charged in a public, (...)

The US District Court of Arizona receives a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the FTC’s administrative process in merger review (Axon / FTC)
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
,
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
AXON SUES FTC OVER USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION IN MERGER INVESTIGATIONS * On January 3, 2020, Axon Enterprises Inc. filed a complaint against the Federal Trade Commission in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the constitutionality of the FTC’s (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Authority publishes a guidance document explaining how Brexit will affect its powers and processes for competition enforcement both during and after the transitioning period
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Brussels)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
The UK will no longer be a Member State of the European Union (the “EU”) as of 11 p.m. on 31 January 2020 (“Exit Day”). A ‘transition period’ will run from Exit Day until 11 p.m. on 31 December 2020 (the “Transition Period”). The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has published a guidance (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its guidance on its functions under the withdrawal agreement setting out the regulator’s approach during the Brexit transition period
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published “Guidance on the Functions of the CMA Under the Withdrawal Agreement” (Guidance), which sets out the regulator’s approach to merger and competition cases during the Brexit transition period that will run until at least through December (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its guidance on its role during the Brexit transition period
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 January 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) published guidance to explain how it will conduct its work during the transition period as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU (the “Guidance”). The Withdrawal Agreement ratified between the UK and the EU details the terms (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on how Brexit will affect its powers and processes for antitrust enforcement and merger control during the transition period
Baker McKenzie (London)
THE PRACTICAL ANTITRUST IMPLICATIONS OF TOMORROW: BREXIT DAY* As you are aware, the UK will be leaving the EU this Friday 31 January (Exit Day). The CMA has published guidance on how Brexit affects the CMA’s powers and processes for antitrust enforcement and merger control during the Transition (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on its functions to explain the effects of Brexit on the application of competition law in the UK during and after the transition period
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (London)
The EU and the UK have now both set out their negotiating mandates for the forthcoming trade negotiations. On 25 February 2020, the Council of the EU adopted a formal decision authorising the commencement of trade negotiations with the UK, together with a revised version of the European (...)

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy issues an update on the reform of German competition law Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published an update of its draft 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (the “ARC”), officially called the “ARC Digitization Act”. Compared to the initial draft (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume (...)

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy publishes the draft bill on the 10th amendment to the German Act against restraints of competition Free
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
,
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has published the draft bill on the 10th amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition, which includes a proposal for the revision of abuse control in Germany. Such revision would be of high relevance for undertakings in the (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a study on behavioural remedies in competition law
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence publishes a new study on Behavioural remedies in competition law* In 2018, together with La Documentation française, the Autorité created a new collection, Les Essentiels, to further understanding of competition. After an initial study on loyalty rebates (2018), it (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a new study on behavioural remedies in competition law
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 January 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published a new study on behavioural remedies in competition law. The study is available on the FCA’s web- site in both French and English. The assessment was carried out by comparing behavioural commitments to structural commitments (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a study on algorithms and competition Free
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publication on “Algorithms and Competition“* Bonn, 16 January 2020: As a follow up to its joint study with the French Autorité de la concurrence on Algorithms and Competition the Bundeskartellamt has published a new paper on this theme. The paper appears in the Bundeskartellamt’s (...)

The UK CMA publishes a report on the UK’s current regulatory environment and its effect on competition
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 January 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) published a report on the UK’s current regulatory environment and its effect on competition (the “Report”). The Report indicates that existing regulation poses potentially large risks to competition and may well be skewed towards (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes a market study on e-commerce platforms
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Bengalore)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The growth of e-commerce and online marketplaces has had a significant impact on businesses and consumer behaviour. Competition authorities worldwide are increasingly focused on assessing competition concerns on online platforms, including United Kingdom (UK), Australia, the European Commission (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes a report on its market study on e-Commerce in India and focuses on the three broad categories of e-commerce in consumer goods, accommodation services, and food services
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI published a report on its Market Study on E-Commerce in India. The Study focused on the three broad categories of e-commerce in consumer goods, accommodation services and food services. After giving an overview of trends in and features of e-commerce, the CCI identified and discussed (...)

The Indian Competition Authority releases a market study on e-commerce
National Law University (Punjab)
Introduction In April 2019, the Competition Commission of India (“Commission”) had announced a market study into the functioning of ‘E-Commerce’ in India. The focus area of the study was to gather information relating to “trends, practices and issues” which are relevant to the fair and competitive (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority publishes a draft amended Anti-Monopoly Law for public comments
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Shangai)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Hong Kong)
For the first time since China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) came into force in 2008, the government is proposing major changes to its centerpiece antitrust legislation. On January 2, 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) published a draft amended Anti-Monopoly Law for public (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation releases a draft with proposed amendments to the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law
Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Hong Kong)
CHINA TABLES FIRST SET OF AMENDMENTS TO THE ANTI-MONOPOLY LAW* On 2 January 2020, China’s antitrust authority – the State Administration for Market Regulation (’SAMR’) – released a draft proposing amendments to the main antitrust statute in China, the Anti-Monopoly Law (’AML’), for public (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation releases its draft proposing amendments to the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law
Dacheng - Dentons (Beijing)
,
Dacheng - Dentons (Shanghai)
On 2 January 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China (“SAMR”) released a draft of the proposed amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law of China (“Draft Amendment”) to solicit public comments from different sectors of society. It indicates that after twelve years, at the beginning (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority launches a public consultation on proposed amendments to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Beijing)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Beijing)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Hong Kong)
On 2 January 2020, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (the “SAMR”) launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (the “AML”). This signals the dawn of “Version 2.0” of China’s competition law, which has been on China’s legislative agenda since 2015. (...)

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