January 2021

General antitrust

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes an update to its guide to procurement and competition focused on planning
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC publishes the first update to its Guide to Procurement and Competition, focused on planning* The Guide to Public Procurement and Competition provides guidelines for improving the design of public tenders and identifying collusion between companies. The CNMC has decided to update and (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on environmental sustainability agreements and competition law
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 27 January 2021 the CMA published high level Guidance on environmental sustainability agreements and competition law (Guidance). Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is one of the CMA’s strategic objectives (set out in its annual plan for 2021/22) and the CMA is keen to ensure (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes an energy monitoring report for 2020
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Energy Monitoring Report 2020 published by the Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt* The Bundeskartellamt and the Bundesnetzagentur have today published the Monitoring Report 2020 on developments in the German electricity and gas markets. "There has been more progress in the switch from (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority confirms more leeway for environmental sustainability initiatives following its revised guidelines
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
,
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 26 January 2021 the Dutch competition authority (ACM) published its revised draft sustainability guidelines (revised draft guidelines) which set out its approach to assessing the compatibility of sustainability initiatives with competition law. In addition, the ACM also published, in (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes the key findings of its market study on the telecom sector
Khaitan (Mumbai)
,
Khaitan (Mumbai)
Tring Tring! CCI calls in the market study on Indian telecom sector* On 22 January 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) published its market study on the Indian telecom sector (Market Study). Initiated by the CCI in January 2020 as part of its advocacy measures, the Market Study (...)

The EU Commission publishes a toolbox for regulating 5G networks
Morgan Lewis (Brussels)
,
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The rollout of 5G networks is taking countries around the world to the next generation of technology. This new generation of networks will offer untapped opportunities for business and services for citizens in a vast variety of sectors, such as transport, energy, manufacturing, media, and (...)

The German Parliament passes the digital competition act bringing significant changes to the competition law landscape
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
Today, the German parliament passed the “Digital Competition Act” which is the 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC). The amended law – which will very likely enter into force January 2021 – will bring about significant changes to the German competition law landscape. (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes new research on algorithms showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA lifts the lid on impact of algorithms* The CMA has published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now seeking evidence from academics and industry (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a paper on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper on 19 January on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare. The CMA followed up its paper with a call for evidence from market participants, academics, and industry experts, and with a (...)

The German Parliament announces the publication of the Act against restraints of competition containing several significant adjustments of the draft that was initially put to vote
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Hamburg)
Yesterday, the 10th amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen – "GWB") entered into force, and with it the most substantial overhaul of German competition law in a long time. The new law contains a number of significant adjustments of (...)

The German Parliament enters into force antitrust rules under the 10th amendment to the act against restraints of competition introducing several significant changes
McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
New German Antitrust Rules: A Positive Move for Compliance Programs* What has changed? On January 19, 2021, new German antitrust rules entered into force under the 10th amendment Act to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) and introduced a number of significant changes. The Act, (...)

The German Parliament publishes its act against restraints of competition’s 10th amendment introducing a new regulatory framework for access to commercial data under antitrust law
Hogan Lovells (Hamburg)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
"The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data" (The Economist, 6.5.2017). This catchy (albeit not quite accurate) comparison is likely to take the leading position among modern digital markets truisms. It is therefore hardly surprising that the German legislator has been (...)

The EU General Court registers a complaint by a major digital platform against the Commission for allowing a parallel investigation by the Italian Competition Authority to continue while there is already an ongoing European Economic Area investigation (Amazon)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
1. The revolution of digital platforms Digital platforms have burst onto the market in recent years. There is no doubt that their ability to offer a large variety of products and services, the ease of use by retailers and consumers, and the reduction of investment and search costs involved, (...)

The German Parliament enters into force its 10th amendment to the act against restraints of competition bringing significant adjustments regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control, as well as data access claims
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
On January 19, 2021, the amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition ("ARC") has entered into force. In addition to the significant adjustments to the ARC regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control as well as data access claims, to pick out just a few of the (...)

The German Parliament releases amendments to its Act against restraints of competition
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
,
Ashurst (Munich)
On 19 January 2021, a major amendment to the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, "GWB") – the so-called "GWB Digitisation Act – entered into force. The amendment pursues two major objectives: to create a regulatory framework for competition in the (...)

The German Parliament enters into force its 10th amendment of the act against restraints of competition bringing powers for intervention in digital markets and changing the merger control regime
Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
,
Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 19 January 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”), the so-called ARC Digitisation Act (the “ARC-DA”) entered into force. The ARC-DA brings far-reaching amendments to German competition law, containing inter alia the introduction of a new framework to (...)

The German Parliament adopts antitrust rules to tackle digital markets
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
Earlier this year, on 19 January 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC, Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, GWB) was adopted. The law now contains a new regime complementing the competition rules governing the abuse of a market dominant position (...)

The German Parliament adopts competition rules for tech platforms
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
,
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
In Short The Development: The Bundestag, the German legislature, amended Germany’s antitrust laws to include special competition rules for digital platform "companies with overwhelming importance for competition across multiple markets." The amendments, known as the GWB Digitization Act or ARC (...)

The German Parliament passes the 10th amendment of the German Act against restraints of competition
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 January 2021, the 10th Amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”) entered into force. The 10th Amendment, also referred to as the “Digitalisation Act”, introduces significant changes to German Competition Law. A previous issue of this newsletter (VBB on Competition (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the application of optional exclusion grounds and the right to self-cleaning (RTS Infra / Aannemingsbedrijf Norré-Behaegel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that tenderers who find themselves in one of the optional grounds for exclusion referred to in Article 57(4) of Directive 2014/24/EU of 26 February 2014 on public procurement (the Directive) are only obliged to (...)

The Danish Competition Authority publishes a report on competition in the legal profession
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) presented its analysis of competition in the legal profession (“Analysis”), which is based on a thorough study of the market for legal services in Denmark. The Analysis contains a wide range of proposals that have the potential to improve (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority announces its decision to launch a fully-fledged investigation against Big Tech companies (Facebook / WhatsApp)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Introduction The Competition Board recently announced its decision to launch a fully fledged investigation, ex officio, against Facebook Inc, Facebook Ireland Ltd, WhatsApp Inc and WhatsApp LLC (together, ’Facebook’) in order to assess whether they had violated Article 6 of Law 4054 on the (...)

The Court of Milan decides that damages cannot be given to a company’s director based on simul stabunt simul cadent clauses
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
Simul stabunt simul cadent clauses are clauses generally included in the by-laws of Italian companies whereby the termination of the office of one or more directors triggers termination of all the other directors’ offices. Such clauses are usually aimed at maintaining the same management (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Hong Kong Competition Authority issues infringement notices to six hotel groups and a tour operator for facilitating cartel conduct
Ashurst (Singapore)
On 26 January 2021, Hong Kong’s Competition Commission (HKCC) issued infringement notices to six hotel groups and a tour operator for facilitating a cartel arrangement between two competing travel service providers, which fixed the prices of tourist attractions and transportation tickets in Hong (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against retail chains suspected of applying unfair retrospective discounts (Kaufland Polska Markety / Eurocash / Intermarche)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
The President of UOKiK has initiated proceedings against other retail chains suspected of applying unfair retrospective discounts* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny initiated investigation procedures towards Kaufland Polska Markety, Eurocash and SCA PR Polska (Intermarche). The objections (...)

The UK Competition Authority warns firms over price-fixing of supplies to disabled students
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA warns firms over price-fixing of supplies to disabled students* The CMA has cautioned companies supplying goods and services to disabled university students, following concerns that there may have been price-fixing. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has sent advisory letters to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases an interim report addressing the lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology market
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Lack of competition in ad tech affecting publishers, advertisers and consumers* A lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology supply chain is impacting publishers, advertisers and consumers and needs to be addressed, according to the interim report for the ACCC’s (...)

The Czech Competition Authority upholds the decision on a prohibited agreement in the rail freight transport sector (AWT / Interfracht / Argo Logistics / Spedica)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE OFFICE UPHELD THE DECISION IN CARPATHIA CARTEL CASE, ONE OF THE FINES SUBJECT TO REASSESSMENT* The Chairman of the Office, Petr Mlsna, upheld the decision on a prohibited agreement in the field of rail freight transport, the so-called Carpathia Cartel. The Chairman of the (...)

The EU Commission opens investigation into possible trade restrictions by one of the largest producers of chocolate, biscuits, and coffee in the European Union (Mondelēz)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible trade restrictions by Mondelēz* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Mondelēz has restricted competition in a range of national markets for chocolate, biscuits and coffee by hindering (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the scope of liability for investors in companies involved in cartels (Goldman Sachs)
Ashurst (Brussels)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("the Court") upheld the €37.3 million fine imposed on Goldman Sachs as a result of the involvement of portfolio company Prysmian in the power cables cartel. The ruling has held that in the circumstances of this case, Goldman Sachs, (...)

The Czech Competition Authority sanctions a bid-rigging agreement on projecting high-speed rails (Sudop / VUZ)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
,
Bird & Bird (Prague)
Leniency programmes and settlement procedures are commonly used by the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition (“Office”). The leniency programme was used as a “soft law” by the Office since 2001 to promote discovery of unlawful horizontal agreements. As for the settlement procedure, it (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a parent company is jointly liable for the conduct of a former subsidiary involved in a cartel in the high-voltage power cable sector (Goldman Sachs)
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (London)
The European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") has confirmed the EU General Court’s (and the European Commission’s) finding that Goldman Sachs was jointly liable for the conduct of a former subsidiary, Prysmian, which the Commission fined for its involvement in the high voltage power cables cartel (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the liability of a parent company for the conduct of its subsidiaries involved in a cartel (Goldman Sachs)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) dismissed in its entirety an appeal brought by the Goldman Sachs Group (Goldman Sachs) against a General Court ruling which confirmed Goldman Sachs’ joint and several liability in the 2014 power cables cartel (judgment here). The CJEU (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts a price discount system for commitments intended to protect pure players (Lego)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted the commitments offered by Lego France (“Lego”) after an investigation into the alleged bias towards brick-and-mortar stores resulting from Lego’s functional discount scheme. In order to resolve the case, the toy manufacturer (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts a building games company’s commitments to correct price discrimination against online retailers (Lego)
University Paris Saclay
While the rules on price discrimination lack clarity, the French competition Authority has missed the opportunity to do its part. In order to compensate for the price increase of its products, the Lego France company created a discount scheme for the benefit of its resellers. The discount (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a national transport company for participating in a cartel revealed by the leniency programme (Sudop / VUZ)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
Railway design cartel revealed thanks to leniency programme, the office imposed fine on sudop praha* By its first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition punished bid rigging agreement on projecting high-speed rails concluded by SUDOP PRAHA a. s. (hereinafter referred (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a study on how competition rules apply to professional bodies
Bird & Bird (Paris)
,
Bird & Bird (Paris)
While the ECN+ Directive is about to be transposed into French law, which will result in exposing professional bodies to potentially much heavier sanctions than under the current legal framework, the French Competition Authority (FCA) recently published a study on how competition rules apply to (...)

The EU Court of Justice declares that financial investors are liable for anti-competitive conduct of portfolio companies (Goldman Sachs)
Dechert (Paris)
,
Dechert (Paris)
,
Dechert (Paris)
The European Court of Justice has confirmed that financial investors can incur parental liability for the anticompetitive practices of portfolio companies, even after an IPO that left the investor holding only a minority stake in the company, provided that they still have sufficient (...)

The French Competition Authority approves a building games company’s price discount system subject to conditions (Lego)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Lego makes commitments to the Autorité de la concurrence to amend its price discount system* Following an open procedure before the Autorité de la concurrence, the building games company Lego France, a subsidiary of Lego Group, enters into commitments designed to facilitate access for all of its (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance for businesses on how to participate in sustainability agreements without breaching competition law
Ashurst (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance for businesses to help them understand how to avoid participation in sustainability agreements raising competition law issues that can have serious consequences for those businesses. Recognising that many sustainability (...)

The US FTC charges two pharmaceutical companies for preventing competition in the national market for oxymorphone (Endo / Impax)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Again Charges Endo and Impax with Illegally Preventing Competition in U.S. Market for Oxymorphone ER* The FTC is suing Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Endo International plc, Impax Laboratories, LLC, and Impax’s owner, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc., alleging that a 2017 agreement between Endo and (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines two national constructions companies for tender collusion (Janusz Kurek Firma Budowlana J & S / Brimat)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Tender collusion - decision of the President of UOKiK* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny imposed a penalty in the amount of over PLN 375 thousand on two participants in a tender collusion. The entrepreneurs agreed that the more expensive bid from one of them would be awarded. The aggrieved (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines national association and 16 financial companies EUR 8.47 million for exchanging information (ALB / BCR Leasing / BRD Sogelease)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has fined the Romanian Association of Financial Companies and 16 financial companies euro 8.47 million* The Competition Council has fined the Association of Romanian Financial Companies (hereinafter ALB) and 16 member companies lei 41,251,774 (approx. Euro 8.47 million) (...)

The EU Commission fines the owner of an online PC gaming platform and five publishers for entering into “geo-blocking” practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Valve and five publishers of PC video games € 7.8 million for “geo-blocking” practices* The European Commission has fined Valve, owner of the online PC gaming platform “Steam”, and the five publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax € 7.8 million (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform operator and five video game publishers €7.8 million for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had fined the US company Valve, owner of the popular online PC gaming platform “Steam” (“Steam”), and five publishers of video games (Capcom, Bandai Namco, Koch Media, Focus Home Interactive and ZeniMax Media) a total of (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform and its publishers for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 20, 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined Valve and PC video games publishers €7.8 million for restricting cross-border sales of PC video games within the EEA. Video games publishers requested Valve, owner of the PC video gaming platform Steam, to provide geo-blocked (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the General Court’s ruling on the EU Commission’s duty to pay default interest on reimbursed fines (Printeos)
Ashurst (Brussels)
,
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021 the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") upheld the General Court’s ruling on the European Commission’s duty to pay default interest on reimbursed fines as a form of restitutio in integrum, clarifying the rate to be applied and that late payment of interest will itself incur (...)

The EU Commission imposes fines in the video games sector for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
One of the final cases resulting from the European Commission’s e-commerce sector enquiry has come to a conclusion. On 20 January 2021, the Directorate-General for Competition fined Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five personal computer (PC) video game (...)

The US DoJ announces that foreign-language training companies admitted to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States (CLCI / Berlitz)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Foreign-Language Training Companies Admit to Participating in Conspiracy to Defraud the United States* Two providers of foreign-language services, Comprehensive Language Center Inc. (CLCI), based in the Washington, D.C., area, and Berlitz Languages Inc. (Berlitz), based in New Jersey, were (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes report into algorithms and their harm on consumers and competition law
Bird & Bird (London)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
The impact algorithms continue to have on market dynamics has been under scrutiny by competition authorities around the world in recent years. On 19 January 2021, the CMA published a report, following its investigation into algorithms and their potential harms on competition law. The paper (...)

The German Competition Authority includes third national telecommunications company in the companies’ cooperation agreements on eliminating grey zones to safeguard competition (Telefónica / Deutsche Telekom / Vodafone)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Safeguarding competition in mobile communication cooperations - Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone plan to jointly eliminate “grey spots”* Telefónica (o2), Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone plan to enter into mutual cooperations to close gaps in their mobile communication networks, so-called (...)

The German Competition Authority monitors cooperation in the telecommunication sector (Telefónica / Deutsche Telekom / Vodafone)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) will monitor a future broadband development cooperation between Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone and Telefonica aimed at closing gaps (so called “grey spots”) in their mobile telecommunication networks. The telecommunications companies are planning a tri-party (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court confirms the fines imposed by the Competition Authority on German solid waste services and recycling company for being part of a cartel (Sypra)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Cartelist of radioactive scrap metal auction will have to pay imposed fine* The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) rejected the appeal by the German company Sypra which participated in the radioactive scrap metal auction conducted by Ignalina nuclear power plant and concluded a (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a bid-rigging infringement ends when the essential characteristics of the contract are concluded with the contracting authority (Eltel)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a preliminary ruling relating to a Finnish bid-rigging case stating that a bid-rigging infringement ends on the day the essential characteristics of the contract, in particular the price, are concluded with the (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides guidance on end date of bid-rigging cartels (Eltel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down a judgment on a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court (“FSAC”), in which it provides guidance on the duration of a company’s participation in a bid-rigging infringement. According to the (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that participation in a bid-rigging cartel ends when the basic characteristics of the contract between the parties are determined (Eltel)
Taylor Wessing (Prague)
When Is Participation In A Bid-Rigging Cartel Deemed To Have Ceased To Exist?* On 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) confirmed that participation in a bid-rigging cartel ends when the basic characteristics of the contract between the “successful” tenderer and the (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that cartel infringements end when competition is no longer restricted (Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto)
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
In previous decisions the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") had ruled that cartel infringements continue as long as they have economic effects. This was partly interpreted to mean that a bid-rigging cartel only ends with the final payment of the cartelized price or the competition of the (...)

The French Competition Authority dismisses the thermal insulation case (Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment / Saint-Gobain Isover / Syndicat National des Fabricants d’Isolants en Laines Minérales Manufacturées)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence dismisses the thermal insulation case* Background In response to a referral by the French Minister of the Economy and the company Actis regarding practices in the sector of thermal insulation for buildings by the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (...)

The German Competition Authority fines manufacturers of manhole covers €6 million for price-fixing (MeierGuss Sales & Logistics / KG)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had fined two manufacturers of manhole covers approximately € 6 million for price-fixing and coordinating their respective offers for two large contracts. The companies manufacture products such as manhole covers and (...)

The German Competition Authority fines gully tops and manhole covers manifacturers for agreements on prices and rebates (MeierGuss Sales & Logistics / KG)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Manufacturers of manhole covers and gully tops fined for price-fixing* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 6 million euros on two manufacturers of manhole covers and gully tops and their representatives for agreements on prices and rebates and an agreement to carve up two (...)

The EU Court of Justice delivers a preliminary ruling setting out guidance on when an anticompetitive agreement on submitting prices in the context of a call for tenders is considered to come to an end (Eltel)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the European Court of Justice delivered a preliminary ruling (case C-450/19) setting out guidance on when an anticompetitive agreement on submitting prices in the context of a call for tenders is considered to come to an end. This ruling has important implications for the (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies that infringements end when it is no longer possible to restrict competition regarding bid-rigging (Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto)
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
On 14 January 2021 the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) delivered its ruling on national reference in Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto , a key judgment on the legal end-point of single and continuous infringements in general and bid-rigging cartels in particular. In previous (...)

The EU Court of Justice makes a clear distinction between cartel’s restrictive effects on competition and its damaging effects (Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto)
CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
,
CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
By judgement on the 14th of January 2021 in Case C-450/19, Kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto (‘Judgment’), the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) stated that an infringement of Art. 101 TFEU in bid-rigging cases ends with the conclusion of the works, goods or services contract. To reach (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that the duration of an infringement in the case of bid-rigging ends once the essential characteristics of the public tender are determined (Eltel)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
Introduction In its preliminary ruling of 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) clarified that the duration of an infringement in the case of bid rigging ends once the essential characteristics of the public tender are determined – which in practice likely means at (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines six companies for altering the solid fuels trading market (FISL / Grafitos / Toro)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC fines six companies for altering the solid fuels trading market* The sanctioned companies exchanged sensitive commercial information, allocated customers and fixed prices through various agreements.These practices, which are highly detrimental to competition and prohibited by law, took (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines three solid fuel cartels and five directors €3.7 million (FISL / Grafitos / Toro)
Ashurst (Madrid)
,
Ashurst (Madrid)
The Spanish competition authority ("CNMC") has fined six companies and five directors participating in three cartels, breaching EU and Spanish antitrust rules by fixing prices and other commercial conditions, sharing customers and exchanging commercially sensitive information for almost 20 (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines several fitness chains for collusion (Benefit Systems / Bartosz Gibała / Platinium Wellness)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Collusion on the fitness market - decision by the President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK, has imposed over PLN 32 million in financial penalties on the largest fitness chains, including Benefit Systems (operator of MultiSport cards) for a competition-restricting collusion (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of Texas indicts health care company for labor market collusion (Surgical Care Affiliate)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Health Care Company Indicted for Labor Market Collusion* A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Surgical Care Affiliates LLC and its related entity (collectively SCA), which own and operate outpatient medical care centers across the country, for agreeing with competitors (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority closes its investigation into an alleged conspiracy by large media companies (Postmedia / Torstar)
Conway Baxter Wilson (Ottawa)
,
Commonwealth Secretariat (London)
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (‘the Bureau’), which assists the Commissioner of Competition (‘the Commissioner’) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (‘the Act’), announced on 7 January 2021 that the Commissioner closed the investigation into Postmedia Network (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal finds a significant imbalance in the long-term contractual relationship of the French incumbent parcel delivery operator and one of its clients (La Poste / Central Optics)
University Paris Saclay
,
University Paris Saclay
,
University Paris Saclay
Introduction In its ruling of the 7th January 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal applied the concept of "significant imbalance" in its anterior version now contained in Article L442-1 of the french commercial code. The notion of significant imbalance originates in consumer law and was extended to (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority closes investigation of two daily newspapers for concluding agreements (Postmedia / Torstar)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau closes investigation of Postmedia and Torstar* The Competition Bureau announced today that it has closed its investigation into allegations that Postmedia and Torstar reached an agreement contrary to the conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act. The Bureau began (...)

The Latvian Supreme Court confirms the conclusion of the Competition Authority’s restrictions on the cremation market (Rīgas satiksme)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
A judgment of the Supreme Court confirms the conclusion of the Competition Council on competition restriction on the cremation market of Riga* Already in 2015 the Competition Council of The Republic of Latvia (the CC), after conducted sector inquiry, raised alarm concerning the disorganised (...)

The EU Commission publishes an assessment that seeks feedback on its initiative to define the application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed workers
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
On 6 January 2021, the European Commission published an "Inception Impact Assessment" seeking feedback on an initiative aimed at defining EU competition law’s scope of application to "self-employed" workers (in advance of an open public consultation anticipated for spring 2021). This is part of (...)

The Danish Competition Authority fines a German dog accessories company for resale price maintenance (Cloud7)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Fine of DKK 225,000 to the German undertaking Cloud7* On January 4, 2021, the German undertaking Cloud7 GmbH accepted to pay a fine of DKK 225,000 (€ 30,243) for resale price maintenance. Cloud7 demanded that a Danish dealer followed the recommended retail prices when selling dog (...)

Unilateral Practices

The German Competition Authority assesses December 2020’s section 19a GWB regulation in its investigation into a big tech company (Facebook / Oculus)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
First proceeding based on new rules for digital companies – Bundeskartellamt also assesses new Section 19a GWB in its Facebook/Oculus case* In December 2020, the Bundeskartellamt initiated abuse proceedings against Facebook due to the linkage between Oculus and the Facebook network (see press (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the General Court’s ruling finding that an information request issued by the EU Commission as part of its investigation into a big tech company’s predatory pricing practices is valid (Qualcomm)
Ashurst (Brussels)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 28 January 2021, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") upheld a ruling of the General Court finding that an information request issued by the EU Commission, as part of its investigation into Qualcomm’s predatory pricing practices, did not breach the principles of necessity and (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the Commission’s power to issue a request for additional information after statement of objections (Qualcomm)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 January 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down a judgment in Case C-466/19 P (Qualcomm Inc. and Qualcomm Europe v. European Commission). Following a complaint submitted in 2010 by Icera Inc., a producer and distributor of soft chipsets which deliver high-performance (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a notice of a standalone competition damages claim against a trade association for abusing its dominant position and engaging in anti-competitive agreements (International Tin Association)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 26 January 2021 the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) published a notice of a standalone competition damages claim (brought under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998) by Kerilee Investments, a metal trader, against the International Tin Association, a UK based trade association. The (...)

The Luxembourg Administrative Tribunal rules on the competence of the Competition Authority in matters of post control of concentrations in the energy sector (Fédération des Artisans / Encevo / Enovos Luxembourg / Paul Wagner / Fils)
Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
,
Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
I. Introduction On January 25, 2021 the Administrative Tribunal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (hereinafter the “Administrative Tribunal”) rendered a judgment ruling for the first time on the competence of the Competition Council of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (hereinafter the “Competition (...)

The German Parliament passes the 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition which provides modifications and changes regarding abuse control
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
On 14 January 2021, the German parliament passed the long-awaited 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC). This came after the governing parties, CDU/CSU and SPD, had submitted a final amendment "at the eleventh hour" which provided for some additional modifications (...)

The German Parliament passes its 10th amendment of the Act against Restraints of Competition which creates an enforcement tool for the Competition Authority to control the abusive behavior of companies with a paramount cross-market significance for competition
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Dusseldorf)
,
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Dusseldorf)
New enforcement tool for the German Federal Cartel Office in the control of abusive behavior of companies with a paramount cross-market significance for competition In a nutshell: What’s new? Introduction of the Concept of Intermediation Power: A dominant position can as of now also result from (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision finding an abuse of dominance and an anti-competitive agreement between a German internal combustion engine manufacturer and its national distributor in the railway sector (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
,
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
The case centred around a consortium that was handling the renovation of the engines of the IC3 trains of the Danish State Railways. A member of the consortium, Fleco ApS (Fleco), was in several ways restricted from buying spare parts to be used in the renovation of the train engines. The (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court confirms a decision of the Competition Authority finding that a German internal combustion engine manufacturer had both abused its dominant position and entered into an anti-competitive agreement with its Danish dealer (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 January 2021, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court (“MCC”) confirmed a decision of the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) finding that the German internal combustion engine manufacturer Deutz had both abused its dominant position and entered into an anti-competitive agreement with (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court confirms the Competition Authority’s decision stating that a Swedish engine manufacturer abused its dominant position (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court: Deutz and Diesel Motor Nordic infringed competition legislation by preventing the supply of spare parts for the IC3-trains* On 11 January 2021, the Maritime and Commercial High Court has confirmed that Deutz abused its dominant position by refusing to (...)

The Indonesian Competition Authority imposes its first predatory pricing fine against a multinational cement manufacturer (CKSC)
Dewi Negara Fachri & Partners (Jakarta)
,
Dewi Negara Fachri & Partners (Jakarta)
In a release, Komisi Pengawas Persaingan Usaha (KPPU) – the Indonesian Competition Authority, published its first Article 20 (Predatory Pricing) decision. The KPPU Decision No. 03/KPPU-L/2020 was issued on a virtual hearing on 15 January 2021, whereby KPPU found that PT Conch South Kalimantan (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority puts an end to the infringement proceedings brought against a Big tech company for alleged dominance conduct related to a search engine and online restaurant reservation system prohibited by national antitrust law (Google / El Tenedor)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition authority (“CNMC”) has agreed to put an end to the infringement proceedings brought against Google and El Tenedor in November 2018 for an alleged conduct related to Google’s search engine and Google Maps’ online restaurant reservation system prohibited by Articles 1 and 2 of (...)

The Russian Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court upholds the decision of the Competition Authority in respect of national railways abusing their dominant position (Russian Railways JSC)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
The appeal upheld the decision of the FAS Russia in respect of Russian railways* Earlier, the Authority recognized the company as violating antimonopoly legislation The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court supported the position of the Antimonopoly Service in the case against Russian Railways JSC. (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an investigation into big tech company’s ‘Privacy Sandbox’ browser changes (Google)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to investigate Google’s ‘Privacy Sandbox’ browser changes* The CMA has opened an investigation into Google’s proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. The investigation will assess whether the proposals could cause advertising spend to become (...)

The Croatian Administrative Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision sanctioning retail trading chain for imposition of unfair trading practices (NTL)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
UTPS: Administrative Court upholds CCA decision sanctioning NTL 450,000 kuna for imposition of unfair trading practices* The Administrative Court in Zagreb completely rejected the statement of claim of Narodni trgovački lanac d.o.o. (NTL) in the administrative dispute against the decision of (...)

The Czech Competition Authority confirms fine for resale price maintenance agreements imposed on baby products retail company (Baby Direkt)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
The chairman of the Office confirmed fine for resale price maintenance agreements imposed on Baby Direkt* Petr Mlsna, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, upheld imposition of a fine amounting to CZK 40,793,000 on BABY DIREKT s.r.o. which entered into prohibited (...)

The Czech Competition Authority upholds a fine of €1.6 million for resale price maintenance levied against childcare products supplier (Baby Direkt)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 January 2021, on appeal against a decision by the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition (“Czech NCA”), the Chairman of the Czech NCA (the “Chairman”) upheld a fine of € 1.6 million levied by his organisation in November 2019 against childcare products supplier Baby Direkt. Baby Direkt (...)

The US DoJ announces that a ready-mix concrete company admitted to fixing prices and rigging bids (Argos USA)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Ready-Mix Concrete Company Admits to Fixing Prices and Rigging Bids in Violation of Antitrust Laws* Argos USA LLC, a producer and seller of ready-mix concrete headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, was charged with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes investigations against two football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts(Brescia / Lecce)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: investigations closed against the Brescia and Lecce football teams for unfair clauses in season ticket contracts* The football clubs have modified their contractual conditions, however Lecce’s clauses excluding reimbursement in the event of supervening impossibility of providing the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a national ticket sale company €10 million for abuse of dominant position (TicketOne)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
TicketOne fined for €10 million for abuse of dominant position* The group has implemented a complex strategy aimed at precluding competing operators from selling a high number of tickets for live pop music events. Consumers, unable to benefit from better services and lower prices charged by (...)

Mergers

The US FTC challenges titanium dioxyde manufacturer’s acquisition of chloride slag producer leading to its withdrawal from the transaction (TTI / Tronox)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Following Federal Trade Commission Staff Recommendation to Challenge Transaction, Tronox Holding plc. Abandons Proposed Acquisition of TiZir Titanium and Iron* Given Tronox Holdings plc.’s announcement that it has abandoned its acquisition of TiZir Titanium and Iron, the Federal Trade (...)

The Australian Competition Authority grants interim authorisation for three national gas exploration company to enter into joint marketing arrangements (Vintage Energy / Metgasco / Bridgeport)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Vali joint venture granted interim authorisation for gas marketing arrangements* The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for Vintage Energy Ltd (ASX: VEN), Metgasco Ltd (ASX: MEL) and Bridgeport (Cooper Basin) Pty Ltd to enter into joint marketing arrangements. Vintage, Metgasco and (...)

The US FTC approves merger between two national pharmaceutical companies subject to conditions (Pfizer / Mylan)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Imposing Conditions on Combination of Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn and Mylan N.V.* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the combination of the Upjohn division of pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Mylan (...)

The German Government introduces a draft bill on foreign direct investment
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Foreign investment control has become a key factor in M&A deals and 2020 was a particularly eventful year. A large number of countries have recently introduced foreign investment control regimes (or tightened their existing rules) and made use of them with, for example, prohibitions (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the takeover of cleaning product manufacturer by global investment firm (Altaïr / Eurazeo)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Altaïr group by Eurazeo company* Eurazeo notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to take over Altaïr group by acquiring 100% of its shares. Parties to the transaction Eurazeo is a subsidiary of Eurazeo S.E., the parent company of (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves of the merger between two real estate companies (OK Blue Red / Total Rent)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
Competition Council approved the taking over of Total Rent S.R.L by Ok Albastru Roşu s.r.l.* The Competition Council approved the transaction through which OK Albastru Roşu S.R.L. takes over the entire share capital of Total Rent S.R.L. OK Blue Red S.R.L. is part of the Fortuna Entertainment (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority further investigates an acquisition of a national gas company by its competitor (Primagaz / Benegas)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Further investigation needed into acquisition of gas company Primagaz by rival company Benegas* Gas company Benegas wishes to acquire rival company Primagaz Nederland. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has come to the conclusion that a further investigation is needed (...)

The German Parliament passes amendments of antitrust law affecting the merger control regime
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
On 14 January, the German Parliament passed far-reaching amendments of German antitrust law, the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC), which also affect merger control. The amendment, also known as the "German Competition Digitalization Act", focuses especially on the reform of (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the takeover of a ready-to-wear brand by clothing company (JOTT / BA&SH)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité clears the takeover of ready-to-wear brand JOTT by L Catterton Europe (BA&SH) company* On 22 December 2020, L Catterton Europe company notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire sole control of JOTT. Parties to the transaction L Catterton Europe is active (...)

The German Parliament increases turnover thresholds for merger control with the 10th amendment of the Act against Restraints of Competition
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Dusseldorf)
,
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Dusseldorf)
In a Nutshell What’s new? Significantly increased turnover thresholds for German merger control. The good Many transactions will no longer be subject to German merger control. This will lead to a much smoother process for lots of transactions, specifically for clients in the tech sector and (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates merger between two metallurgy firms leading to their withdrawal from the merger(TTI / Tronox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Metallurgy firms abandon merger during CMA investigation* The CMA no longer intends to refer the merger of TTI and Tronox to an in-depth investigation, after Tronox’s announcement to abandon the deal. Tronox and TiZir Titanium and Iron (TTI) are involved in the supply of materials used in the (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority reviews the proposed acquisition of American consumer electronics and fitness retailer by big tech company (Fitbit / Google)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC Reviewed the Proposed Acquisition of Fitbit, Inc. by Google LLC* This case concerns a proposed transaction in which Google LLC (JCN3700150072195) (hereinafter referred to as “Google”) headquartered in the U.S. planned to acquire Fitbit, Inc. headquartered in the U.S. Google Group (a (...)

The US FTC retrospectively studies the impact of physician group and healthcare facility mergers (Aetna / Anthem / Florida Blue)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC to Study the Impact of Physician Group and Healthcare Facility Mergers* The Federal Trade Commission has issued orders to six health insurance companies to provide information that will allow the agency to study the effects of physician group and healthcare facility consolidation that (...)

The EU Commission clears acquisition of American financial markets data and infrastructure provider by a financial infrastructure company subject to conditions (Refinitiv / London Stock Exchange)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Refinitiv by London Stock Exchange Group, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group (‘LSEG’). The approval is conditional on full (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears the acquisition of a financial data products provider by a leading financial infrastructure company (Refinitiv / London Stock Exchange)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 January 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) conditionally cleared the London Stock Exchange Group’s (“LSEG”) acquisition of financial data products provider Refinitiv following an in-depth (Phase 2) investigation. LSEG is a leading financial infrastructure company, which operates the (...)

The UK Competition Authority breaks up vehicle and trailer parts merger (TVS Europe Distribution / 3G)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 January 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) ordered the commercial vehicle and trailer supplier Universal Components UK (which is owned by TVS Europe Distribution) to sell 3G Truck & Trailer Parts, following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation into the completed merger (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the acquisition of software designer by national database company (Beck / RA-MICRO)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
C.H. Beck can acquire share in RA-MICRO* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of a minority share in the provider of practice management software for law firms, RA MICRO Software GmbH, Berlin, by the publishing house C.H. Beck, Munich, which publishes expert legal information. The (...)

The UK Competition Authority requires companies to sell GPS tracking device in order to protect competition in the commercial vehicle and trailer parts sector (TVS Europe Distribution / 3G)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA breaks up motor parts merger* The CMA will require TVS Europe Distribution to sell 3G in order to protect competition in the commercial vehicle and trailer parts sector. Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that TVS Europe (...)

The US DoJ announces that two financial services companies have abandoned their planned merger (Visa / Plaid)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Visa and Plaid Abandon Merger After Antitrust Division’s Suit to Block* Decision to Terminate Deal Preserves Competition The Department of Justice announced today that Visa Inc. and Plaid Inc. have abandoned their planned $5.3 billion merger. The department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit on (...)

The UK Competition Authority prohibits a transaction following an in-depth phase 2 investigation ruling that only full divestiture would address competition concerns in the commercial vehicle and trailer parts sector (TVS Europe Distribution / 3G)
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 12 January 2021, the CMA ordered TVS Europe Distribution Limited ("TVS") to divest its ownership of 3G Truck and Trailer Parts Limited ("3G"). After conducting a Phase 2 merger inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") ruled that only full divestiture would address its (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority initiates further proceedings regarding the merger between two alcoholic beverages companies (Altia / Arcus)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
FCCA opens in-depth investigation into proposed merger between Altia and Arcus* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has initiated further proceedings regarding the merger between Altia Oyj and Arcus ASA. The parties to the transaction are alcoholic beverage companies that (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority authorises global concession catering brand’s acquisition of multinational catering company subject to conditions (Areas / Autogrill)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC authorises Areas’s acquisition of Autogrill subject to conditions* Areas agrees to release a total of five establishments by the end of 2021, through the early termination of the contracts on some premises or by not submitting an offer for those premises that are about to expire. It (...)

The Polish Competition Authority blocks an acquisition between two media groups (Eurozet / Agora)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
,
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Following more than a one-year phase II investigation, in January 2021, the Polish Competition Authority (“UOKiK”) announced that it blocked the acquisition of Eurozet by Agora. Parties to the blocked acquisition Both Eurozet and Agora are present in the radio broadcasting and related markets (...)

The Polish Competition Authority prohibits the acquisition of a radio broadcaster by a national media company (Eurozet / Agora)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Agora/Eurozet - prohibition of concentration* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny has prohibited the acquisition of Eurozet by Agora. The concentration would have resulted in the development of a powerful radio group that would be able to limit competition on the market for radio advertising and (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates American chip producer’s takeover of national intellectual property company (NVIDIA / Arm)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to investigate NVIDIA’s takeover of Arm* The CMA is inviting interested third parties to provide initial views on the anticipated acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA. This is an early opportunity for interested third parties to comment on the impact that the takeover could have on competition in (...)

The French Polynesian Competition Authority clears the joint acquisition of airline by its parent company and maritime transporter (Dubreuil Aéro / CMA CGM / Dubreuil group)
Polynesian Competition Authority (Papeete)
By decision n°2020-CC-02 of December 10, 2020, the Polynesian Competition Authority authorized the joint acquisition of the Dubreuil Aéro group by CMA CGM and the Dubreuil group. The Dubreuil group is a family group whose activity is concentrated in seven businesses: automotive, aviation, (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that titanium dioxide pigment producer’s anticipated purchase of chloride slag supplier raises competition concerns (Tronox / TTI)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Metallurgy buyout raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Tronox’s anticipated purchase of TTI raises competition concerns in the supply of chloride slag and titanium dioxide pigment. Both companies are involved in the supply of materials used in the production of titanium dioxide, (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission publishes its new Temporary Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic Free
College of Europe (Bruges)
Liquidity Assistance to Banks to Counter the Effects of Covid-19* Any direct public support of financial institutions affected by covid-19 has to comply with both State aid rules and the rules of the banking union. Introduction The Temporary Framework for State aid to combat covid-19 (...)

The EU Commission adopts 5th amendment to the temporary framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 January 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) amended the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak (the “Temporary FrameworK”). Below we outline the most relevant amendments: The application of the Temporary Framework is (...)

The EU Commission amends the Temporary Framework for State aid measures in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
,
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
On 28 January 2021, the Commission amended the Temporary Framework for COVID-19 ("Framework") again. This 5th Amendment prolongs its application until 31 December 2021. Other changes include increasing aid amounts that the Commission will approve under the Framework and allowing for limited (...)

The EU Commission expands for the fifth time the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 28, the Commission extended and expanded for the fifth time the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (the “TF”). Based on the January 28 amendment (the “Amendment”), all TF provisions, including recapitalization (...)

The EU Commission publishes an extension of the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
The Commission’s Temporary Framework for State aid measures supporting the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic (the “Temporary Framework”) is proving to be a success. More than 200 Member State schemes and individual measures have been cleared under the Temporary Framework since its adoption in (...)

The EU Commission decides that an incompatible aid was granted by the Estonian ministry of rural affairs to a private company that produced milk, meat and cereals (AS Tartu Agro)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Lease Contracts and Competitive Selection* Introduction After receiving a complaint, the Commission opened a formal investigation into alleged State aid granted by the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs to AS Tartu Agro, a private limited company, which produced milk, meat and cereals. (...)

The EU Commission approves €12 billion German umbrella scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €12 billion German umbrella scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found a €12 billion German umbrella scheme (final part of the Novemberhilfe package) to compensate companies for damages (...)

The EU Commission approves €325 million public support to provide schools in Italy with very high internet speed
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €325 million public support to provide schools in Italy with very high internet speed* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €325 million of public support to connect 12,000 schools in Italy to very high-speed internet. The schools that (...)

The EU Commission approves €1.9 billion Polish scheme to support companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.9 billion Polish scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €1.9 billion (PLN 8.6 billion) Polish scheme to support companies operating in certain sectors affected by the coronavirus-outbreak. The scheme (...)

The EU Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme to support organisers of events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme to support organisers of events affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €300 million Austrian scheme to support organisers of events affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The (...)

The EU Commission approves Greek public funding for construction and operation of North section of E65 motorway
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Greek public funding for construction and operation of North section of E65 motorway* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Greek public funding of €442 million for the construction of the North section of the Central Greece Motorway (...)

The EU General Court provides guidance on the standing to challenge Commission decisions rejecting State aid complaints and the concepts of ’State resources’ and ’imputability’ with regard to decisions adopted by industry associations (Bezouaoui / HB Consultant)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 January 2021, the European General Court (“GC”) delivered a judgment providing guidance on the standing to challenge European Commission (“Commission”) decisions rejecting State aid complaints, and on the concepts of “State resources” and “imputability” within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. (...)

The EU Commission approves investment aid for Czech orchards and irrigations and opens investigations into national measures in favour of large agricultural companies
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves investment aid for Czech orchards and irrigations; opens in-depth investigations into Czech measures in favour of large agricultural companies* The European Commission has approved two Czech investment aid support schemes for the restructuring of orchards and (...)

The EU Commission approves €202 million Croatian scheme to support companies in the tourism and sports sectors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €202 million Croatian scheme to support companies in the tourism and sports sectors in the context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved an approximately €202 million (HRK 1.525 billion) Croatian State aid scheme to support companies of all (...)

The EU Commission approves €1.25 billion German measure to recapitalize national leisure tourism group (TUI)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.25 billion German measure to recapitalise TUI* The European Commission has approved German plans to contribute up to €1.25 billion to the recapitalisation of TUI AG (TUI), the parent company of the TUI Group, as part of a wider support package. The measure was (...)

Procedures

The Rotterdam District Court rules on legal privilege for in-house lawyers (Royal Dutch Shell)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 28, 2021, the Rotterdam District Court handed down a judgment in an appeal brought by Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) against an October 2019 magistrate ruling regarding the scope of legal professional privilege (LPP) over legal advice given by Shell’s in- house lawyers . The judgment is a (...)

The EU Court of Justice broadens the scope of the presumption of decisive influence for parent companies over wrongdoing subsidiaries for a case dealing with a cartel in the submarine power cables industry (Goldman Sachs)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
Under EU competition law, a parent company is liable for the anti-competitive conducts put in place by its subsidiaries on which it has a decisive influence. To establish this factor the European Commission (EC) can rely on a rebuttable legal presumption whereby a parent company that wholly (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the rebuttable presumption of decisive influence for parent companies controlling 100% of voting rights in subsidiary (Goldman Sachs)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice dismissed in its entirety an appeal by the Goldman Sachs Group (“Goldman Sachs”) against a General Court judgment upholding a European Commission’s decision finding Goldman Sachs jointly and severally liable for the conduct of its subsidiary, Prysmian SpA (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that financial investors can be liable where they hold 100% voting rights over an indirect entity that participated in a cartel (Goldman Sachs)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) confirmed in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. v European Commission that financial investors can be liable where they hold 100% voting rights over an indirect entity that participated in a cartel, even though the investor does not (...)

The Kenyan Competition Authority releases a reward scheme meant to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement activities
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) is a Statutory Agency established by section 7 of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010. The Authority is mandated to promote and safeguard competition in the Kenyan economy, control abuse of buyer power, and protect consumers from unfair and misleading (...)

The French Supreme Court extends legal privilege to all attorney-client correspondence relating to rights of defence (EDF / Dalkia)
Bird & Bird (Paris)
,
Bird & Bird (Paris)
On 20 January 2021, the criminal chamber of the French Supreme Court held that in the context of a dawn raid carried out by a competition authority, all attorney-client correspondence relating to the right of defence is protected and therefore exempt from seizure. Contrary to what previous (...)

The Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal establishes that public contracting authorities are obliged to exclude tender constellations which are considered to be in breach of competition law (Peak Consulting Group)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
,
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
The Danish Complaints Board for Public Procurement (“Board of Appeal”) has in a recent decision established that a consortium agreement which is in breach of Article 101 TFEU or Article 6 in the Danish Competition Act will be invalid, thus also making the bid and any contracts engaged in by the (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines the manager of an electricity company for not fulfilling the obligation to cooperate during dawn raids (Egem)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
Manager of egem did not fulfil the obligation to cooperate during the dawn raid, the office imposed a fine amounting to czk 2,362,000* Petr Mlsna, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, by the decision of 6 January 2021 rejected the appeal of EGEM s.r.o. and upheld (...)

Regulatory

The EFTA Surveillance Authority takes action against Iceland for restrictions in the taxi-services market
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA takes action against Iceland for restrictions in the taxi-services market* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today launched infringement proceedings against Iceland for not respecting EEA rules on freedom of establishment in the taxi sector. Current practice in Iceland limits the (...)

The US Congress passes the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act limiting the antitrust exemption available to companies under the McCarran-Ferguson Act
Jones Day (Washington DC)
,
Jones Day (Irvine)
,
Jones Day (Washington DC)
In Short The Development: Congress unanimously passed and before leaving office, President Trump signed into law, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act ("CHIRA"). CHIRA limits application of the McCarran-Ferguson Act, an exemption from the federal antitrust laws, as it relates to the (...)

The US Congress passes into law the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act and repeals the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s antitrust exemption for health and dental insurers
Hausfeld (New York)
After many years of debate and previous failed attempts, on January 13, 2021, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (“CHIRA”) was passed into law, having obtained unanimous consent in both the House of Representatives and Senate last fall. The new Act repeals the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues