January 2022 - II

General antitrust

The US DoJ AG Merrick B. Garland issues statement of principles and commitments with the Secretary of Agriculture to protect against unfair and anticompetitive practices in the agriculture sector
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and Agriculture Department Issue Shared Principles and Commitments to Protect Against Unfair and Anticompetitive Practices* Speaking at a White House event focused on competition in agriculture, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (...)

The Japanese FTC and Government release guidelines for business collaboration with and investment in startups New
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
On December 23, 2021, the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ("METI") proposed a draft of Guidelines for Business Collaboration with Startups and Investment in Startups ("Guidelines") for the purpose of promoting open innovation and ensuring fair (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes the report on its sector inquiry into the collection of domestic waste New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Decreasing competition in the collection and transport of domestic waste* The Bundeskartellamt has today published the report on its sector inquiry into the collection of domestic waste. The sector inquiry dealt with the collection and transport (1.) of packaging waste from private households (...)

The UK Government launches a call for views on standard essential patents in order to better understand whether the current SEPs framework is functioning efficiently, supports innovation and strikes the right balance for all entities involved New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 December 2021, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (“IPO”) launched a call for views on Standard Essential Patents (“SEPs”) in order to better understand whether the current SEPs framework: (i) is functioning efficiently; (ii) supports innovation (particularly in light of the UK government’s (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority hands down fines for cartel practices to two joint service offices and several of their members, all court bailiffs (Bureau de signification de Paris / Société civile de moyens des études et groupement des huissiers de justice de Seine-Saint-Denis) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands down fines for cartel practices to two joint service offices and several of their members, all court bailiffs in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis départements* Background Following the complaint from court bailiffs’ offices, today the Autorité issues two (...)

The UK Competition Authority disqualifies a pharmaceutical company director due to his involvement in illegal sharing of commercially sensitive information about the antidepressant nortriptyline (Pritesh Sonpal / Lexon) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA disqualifies pharma director* The CMA has secured the disqualification of a pharmaceutical company director, in connection with his involvement in illegal anti-competitive practices. Pritesh Sonpal – a former director of the pharmaceutical wholesaler Lexon – will be disqualified from taking (...)

The Australian Competition Authority issues a statement declaring that it is closely monitoring the pricing of rapid antigen tests Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Media Statement on pricing of rapid antigen tests* The ACCC is aware of the significant public concern about the pricing of rapid antigen tests and is contacting suppliers and monitoring the situation very closely. The ACCC will be examining claims that the current pricing levels of rapid (...)

The Australian Competition Authority grants an urgent interim authorisation permitting manufacturers of ‘AdBlue’ diesel exhaust fluid to collaborate on the supply of refined urea New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Industry allowed to collaborate on AdBlue supply arrangements* The ACCC has granted an urgent interim authorisation permitting manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to collaborate on arrangements for the supply of the diesel exhaust fluid, known as ‘AdBlue’ that is used in most modern (...)

The US FTC approves a final order requiring a State dental licensing agency to stop unreasonably excluding lower-cost online and teledentistry providers from competing (Alabama Board of Dental Examiners) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Alabama Board of Dental Examiners to Stop Unreasonably Excluding Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competing* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the Alabama Board (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an investigation into alleged practices in the fuel supply, storage and distribution sector in Corsica New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has opened an investigation into alleged practices in the fuel supply, storage and distribution sector in Corsica* In decision 21-SO-17 of 15 December 2021, the Autorité de la concurrence opened an investigation into alleged practices in the fuel products supply, (...)

The EU Commission publishes draft guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements regarding working conditions of solo self-employed persons New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 December 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) approved a draft communication containing guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements regarding the working conditions of solo self-employed persons (“Draft Guidelines”). The Draft Guidelines reflect the (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas rejects motion to dismiss per se Sherman Act violation by former staffing company executives for wage fixing in the market for physical therapists and assistants (Neeraj Jindal / John Rodgers) New
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
District Court Finds Antitrust Division’s First Wage Fixing Indictment Alleges a Per Se Violation* On November 29, 2021 in U.S. v. Neeraj Jindal and John Rodgers, Civil Action No. 4:20-CR-00358A (N.D. Texas), District Court Judge Amos L. Mazzant rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss the (...)

The EU Court of Justice offers guidance on customer priority clauses in software distribution contracts by reaffirming fundamental principles regarding vertical restraints and intrabrand restrictions (Visma) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 November 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ” or “Court”) issued a preliminary ruling in a case referred by a Latvian court concerning the interpretation of Article 101(1) and (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) in relation to a clause in a software (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €203M on two Big Tech companies for discriminatorily selecting re-sellers of one company’s products on the other company’s e-commerce platform (Amazon / Apple) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 November 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of € 68.7 million on Amazon and € 134.5 million on Apple for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) with regard to the distribution of Apple products over Amazon Marketplace (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its recommendation and indicates the nature of the separate guidance that it plans to issue with respect to the assessment of vertical agreements New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
At the start of November, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a Recommendation to the Secretary of State with respect to the terms of a new UK-specific Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order (“VABEO”) that would apply as of 1 June 2022. The VABEO would replace the retained (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s decision to fine a multinational telecommunications company €124.5M for gun jumping (Altice / PT Portugal) New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On September 22, 2021, the General Court upheld the European Commission’s decision to fine Altice Europe NV, a multinational telecommunications company, for prematurely implementing its acquisition of PT Portugal. Altice had engaged in conduct that contributed to the change in control of PT (...)

The Australian Competition Authority reports that a bathroomware company admitted to likely resale price maintenance by withholding supply of its products to a small retailer that failed to increase its advertised prices of the company’s products (Nero Bathrooms) New
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
Bathroom brand, Nero Tapware, admits to likely RPM Nero Bathrooms International Pty Ltd (trading as Nero Tapware) ("Nero") admitted it likely engaged in resale price maintenance ("RPM") by withholding supply of its products to a small retailer that failed to increase its advertised prices of (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU General Court annuls in part the Commission’s decision imposing a fine of € 1.06 billion on the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer (Intel) New
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court annuls in part the Commission decision imposing a fine of € 1.06 billion on Intel* The Commission’s analysis is incomplete and does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, (...)

The German Competition Authority announces that the online search Big Tech company and its holding company are subject to an extended abuse control by the Authority (Google / Alphabet)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Alphabet/Google subject to new abuse control applicable to large digital companies – Bundeskartellamt determines “paramount significance across markets”* The Bundeskartellamt has delivered its decision that Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, USA, and therefore also its subsidiary Google, is subject to (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes record-breaking fine of € 1.1 billion on an e-commerce company for “self-preferencing” its own logistical services (Amazon) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 December 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) adopted a decision finding that the Amazon group (“Amazon”) had violated Article 102 TFEU and harmed competing providers of e-commerce logistics services by tying the right of retailers on the Amazon marketplace to participate in (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Rantos sets out the criteria for classifying an exclusionary practice as an abuse of a dominant position (Enel) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Advocate General Rantos sets out the criteria for classifying an exclusionary practice as an abuse of a dominant position* An incumbent operator may adopt practices aimed at retaining its customers, even in the context of a liberalisation process, but must not resort to practices which, by (...)

The US FTC orders multiple pharmaceutical companies to provide up to $40 million in damages for monopolizing the drug "Daraprim" and bans their executives from working in the sector (Vyera Pharmaceuticals / Martin Shkreli / Kevin Mulleady)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC, States to Recoup Millions in Relief for Victims Fleeced by ‘Pharma Bro’ Scheme to Illegally Monopolize Life-Saving Drug Daraprim* ’Pharma Bro’ Associate Mulleady banned from pharma industry and corporate defendants to pay up to $40 million; Trial set to begin next week for ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin (...)

The EU General Court confirms that “self-preferencing” by a Big Tech company can infringe Article 102 TFEU (Google Shopping) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 November 2021, the European General Court (“EGC” or “Court”) delivered its landmark Google Shopping judgment, the first judicial pronouncement on “self-preferencing” as a viable theory of harm under Article 102 TFEU. The EGC fully endorsed the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision that (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority accepts for the first time in the preliminary investigation stage the commitments proposed by a glass manufacturing company to remedy the competition concerns relating to abuse of dominance in the glass production market (Şişecam) New
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) decided that Şişecam, through its subsidiary Çevre Sistemleri, has abused its dominant position in the market for glass manufacturing, by way of excluding its competitors in the upstream market for recycled glass, utilized its buyer power to narrow the margin (...)

The UK Competition Authority along with EU Member States cracks down on excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector (Pfizer / Flynn / Actavis) New
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
Competition authorities have been traditionally reluctant to pursue excessive pricing cases since many of them had failed on the facts. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of the topic in pharma-related cases. In particular, the national competition authorities have led the (...)

Mergers

The US FTC announces annual changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act notification thresholds New
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
On January 21, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the annual changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act notification thresholds. The FTC is required by law to revise the jurisdictional thresholds annually, based on the change in gross national product. Accordingly, the 2022 (...)

The US DoJ and FTC announce a joint effort to modernize the horizontal and vertical federal merger guidelines in order to detect and prevent illegal, anticompetitive deals in today’s modern markets New
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 18 January 2022 the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a press conference to announce a joint effort to modernize the horizontal and vertical federal merger guidelines “to better detect and prevent illegal, anticompetitive deals in today’s modern markets.” FTC (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the surface drainage sector (ACO / BIRCO) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits merger in the surface drainage sector: ACO and BIRCO cannot merge* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited the planned takeover of BIRCO GmbH based in Baden-Baden (“BIRCO“) by ACO Ahlmann SE & Co. KG based in Büdelsdorf (“ACO“). Both companies are particularly active in (...)

The EU Commission prohibits a merger between two South Korean shipbuilders as it would have created a dominant position for the newly merged company and reduced competition in the worldwide market for the construction of large liquefied gas carriers (DSME / HHIH) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission prohibits proposed acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering by Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings* The European Commission has prohibited, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering CO., Ltd (DSME) by (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves, subject to conditions, the creation of a joint venture in the wholesale distribution and transport of periodical publications sector (Boyacá / SGEL)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC approves the conditions for creating a joint venture between Boyacá and SGEL* The transaction affects the wholesale distribution and transport in Spain of periodical publications. The venturers must comply with certain conditions imposed by the CNMC, most of which they had offered (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears the merger of an online tyre retailer and a tyre manufacturer (Allopneus / Michelin / Hevea) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité clears the takeover of Allopneus by Michelin* Following the European Commission’s referral decision of 21 October 2021 (see the press release of 22 October 2021), the Michelin group notified the Autorité of its plan to acquire sole control of Allopneus and its subsidiaries, over (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two national medical analysis laboratories subject to commitments (Labexa / Cerba) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Chemical pathology laboratories: the Autorité clears the acquisition of the Labexa Group by the Cerba Group, subject to conditions* Parties to the transaction The Cerba Group is mainly active in the chemical pathology sector and operates a network of 495 laboratories in France. It also has an (...)

The US DoJ fines the founder of a transportation and logistics company for gun-jumping (Werner Enterprises) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Founder of Werner Enterprises to Pay Civil Penalty for Violating Antitrust Pre-Transaction Notification Requirements* The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the (...)

The US FTC imposes a fine totalling $ 487K on the founder of a transportation and logistics company for repeatedly violating the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (Clarence L. Werner) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Fines Clarence L. Werner, Founder of the Truckload Carrier Werner Enterprises, Inc. for Repeatedly Violating Antitrust Laws* Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Clarence L. Werner, founder of the Omaha, Nebraska-based truckload carrier Werner Enterprises, Inc. will pay a (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between two waste management companies, subject to divestitures (Veolia / Suez) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Veolia’s proposed acquisition of Suez not opposed, subject to divestitures* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Suez by Veolia after accepting three court-enforceable divestiture undertakings from Veolia. With these divestitures, and the sale of certain assets to Cleanaway, the (...)

The US FTC issues an order aimed at protecting retail fuel customers following a merger between 2 companies in the energy sector (Global Partners / Wheels) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Order Protects Retail Fuel Customers Following Global Partners LP’s Acquisition of Wheels* Proposed order preserves competition by requiring divestiture of 7 retail gasoline and diesel stations in Connecticut Global Partners LP and Richard Wiehl have agreed to divest to Petroleum Marketing (...)

The Australian Competition Authority receives withdrawal from a proposed merger in the IVF services sector due to competition concerns (Virtus / Adora) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Virtus abandons proposed acquisition of Adora* The ACCC is likely to seek to discontinue its proceedings in the Federal Court in relation to Virtus Health’s (Virtus) proposed acquisition of Adora Fertility (Adora) from Healius, after Virtus announced today that it has decided not to proceed (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger between 2 waste management companies, subject to conditions (Derichebourg / Ecore) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears Derichebourg’s acquisition of Groupe Ecore, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Groupe Ecore by Derichebourg. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears the acquisition of a food transportation company by 2 trucking companies (TMF Group / Prim@ever / Olano Group) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence unconditionally clears the acquisition of the TMF Group by Prim@ever and the Olano Group* On 15 November 2021, Prim@ever, which is jointly controlled by the STEF Group and the Olano Group, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire joint control (...)

The EU Commission announces the withdrawal of several airline companies from their proposed merger (IAG / Globalia / Air Europa) New
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
On 16 December 2021, the European Commission commented on IAG and Globalia’s decision to abandon their proposed agreement for IAG to acquire Air Europa (see here). In Spain, IAG is the largest airline (including ownership of Iberia and Vueling), and Air Europa is the third largest airline. The (...)

The US DoJ launches 3 antitrust enforcement actions against companies in the airline, publishing and sugar industries (American Airlines / JetBlue / Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster / U.S. Sugar / Imperial Sugar) New
Bona Law (Detroit)
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Bona Law (San Diego)
Meanwhile, the DOJ Antitrust Division Launches Merger Challenges in the Airline, Publishing, and Sugar Industries* As we have reported numerous times (most recently here), the Federal Trade Commission has been making headlines with some controversial changes to U.S. merger review procedures, (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its final remittal report deciding to block a completed acquisition by sports-inspired casual footwear and apparel retailer of its rival (JD Sports / Footasylum) New Free
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 5 November 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final remittal report into the completed acquisition by sports-inspired casual footwear and apparel retailer JD Sports (“JD”) of rival Footasylum, deciding (once again) to block the transaction. This is the latest (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces its decision to impose a record-breaking fine of £50.5M on a Big Tech company for multiple and serious breaches of an Interim Enforcement Order imposed as part of the Authority’s investigation into the company’s complete acquisition of an online provider of GIFs (Facebook / Giphy) New
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 20 October 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced its decision to impose a record-breaking fine of £ 50.5 million on Facebook, for multiple (and serious) breaches of an Interim Enforcement Order (“IEO”) imposed as part of the CMA’s investigation into the tech company’s (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice finds that the General Court erred in law when finding the Commission incompetent to examine, in the light of the law on State aid, the compensation paid to Swedish investors by Romania in implementation of an arbitral award (Micula) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The General Court erred in law in finding that the Commission lacked competence to examine, in the light of the law on State aid, the compensation paid to Swedish investors by Romania in implementation of an arbitral award* While that award had upheld the argument of those investors that that (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for France New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for France* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules the map of France for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027 within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (‘RAG’). The (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the renewal of an Icelandic support scheme for businesses New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of Icelandic support scheme for businesses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of and amendments to an Icelandic aid scheme offering resilience grants to eligible companies and self-employed individuals. The resilience (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Austria New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Austria* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Austria’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027 within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (’RAG’). The revised (...)

The EU Commission approves a €20 million Spanish scheme under a recovery and resilience facility to support deployment of intelligent transportation systems New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €20 million Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support deployment of intelligent transportation systems* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €20 million Spanish scheme made available through the Recovery and (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on proposed revision of EU State aid rules for agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites comments on proposed revision of EU State aid rules for agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors* The European Commission is inviting all interested parties to comment on proposed revised State aid rules for the agricultural, forestry and fishery sectors. The (...)

The EU Commission Commission approves a €24 million Hungarian investment aid to a manufacturing company’s extension of its battery copper foil plant (Volta Energy Solutions) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €24 million Hungarian investment aid to Volta Energy Solutions’ battery copper foil plant* The European Commission has found Hungary’s €24 million investment aid to Volta Energy Solutions for the extension of a battery copper foil plant in the Hungarian region of (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Greece New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Greece* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Greece’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027 within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (‘RAG’). The revised RAG, (...)

The EU Commission approves a €2.55 billion Portuguese restructuring aid in favour of a national airline company and a €107 million compensation for damages suffered due to COVID-19 pandemic (TAP Air Portugal) New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.55 billion Portuguese restructuring aid in favour of TAP Group and €107 million compensation for damages suffered due to coronavirus pandemic* Today, the European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules: (i) €2.55 billion of restructuring aid to enable (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Romania New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Romania* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Romania’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027, within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (’RAG’). The revised (...)

The EU Commission approves an Austrian scheme to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Austrian scheme to support production of electricity from renewable energy sources* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Austrian aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable sources. The measure will help Austria (...)

The EU Commission adopts its revised communication on the criteria for the analysis of the compatibility with the internal market of State aid to promote the execution of important projects of common European interest “IPCEI” New
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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DalDeWolf (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 25 November 2021, the Commission adopted its revised Communication on the Criteria for the analysis of the compatibility with the internal market of State aid to promote the execution of important projects of common European interest (“IPCEI”). This is particularly relevant for companies who (...)

The EU Commission approves an investment aid for an energy infrastructure project in northern Greece that amounts to €364 million (LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis) New
Maastricht University
Public Funding of an Energy Infrastructure Project* State aid up to 100% of the funding gap of a project can be compatible with the internal market. Introduction The European Commission approved investment aid for a Liquefied Natural Gas [LNG] terminal in Alexandroupolis in northern Greece (...)

The EU Court of Justice applies the market economy investor principle when assessing whether commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings are free of State aid (Autostrada Wielkopolska) New
Maastricht University
First Case of a “Private Debtor” Test?* A public authority acting as a “private debtor” tries to minimise the amount that it has to pay. Introduction In assessing whether commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings are free of State aid, the European Commission and EU (...)

Procedures

The US State of Delaware Chancery Court authorizes class-action claims of breach of fiduciary duty to proceed against a SPAC’s controlling shareholder and directors (Churchill Capital Corp. III / MultiPlan)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
In one of the first opinions addressing fiduciary duty claims in the context of a transaction involving a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), the Delaware Court of Chancery determined that the SPAC shareholders’ right to redeem can be undermined by insufficient disclosures regarding the (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Authority updates its guidance as the National Security and Investment Act enters into force
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The UK’s new National Security and Investment Act (“NSIA”) entered into force on January 4, 2022. The NSIA marks a considerable change in the UK’s investment screening powers and adds to an increasingly complex European and global landscape of investment regulation (or FDI) filings necessary for (...)

The Italian Government extends its COVID-19 emergency FDI review regime through 2022 New Free
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Milano)
On December 30, 2021, the Italian Government extended until the end of 2022 Italy’s emergency foreign direct investments (“FDI”) regime, which enables it to review also acquisitions of controlling stakes by European Economic Area (“EEA”) investors, as well as certain minority investments by non-EEA (...)

The Luxembourg Parliament transposes into national law EU Directive 2018/1972 establishing the European electronic communications code New
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
The law of 17 December 2021, which implements Directive (EU) 2018/1972 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (the “EECC”) into Luxembourg law, has just been published and, as a Christmas present, will enter into force next week-end on 26 December 2021. Ultimately, this new (...)

The Spanish Government transposes into national law and increases the scope of the EU Directive 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
The amendment of Law 12/2013, of 2 August, on measures to improve the functioning of the food chain (Law 12/2013) was approved by Spanish Congress on 2 December and entered into effect on 16 December 2021. The primary purpose of the amendment is to transpose into Spanish law Directive (EU) (...)

The EU Parliament and Council adopt amendments to the Commission’s proposal for negotiating the final text of the Digital Markets Act New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2021, the European Parliament (“Parliament”) adopted its position for negotiating the final text of the so-called Digital Markets Act (Regulation on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector)(“DMA”), shortly after the Council of the European Union (“Council”) had adopted its (...)

The EU Commission releases its first annual FDI Screening Report on the screening of foreign direct investment in the Union New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 November 2021, the European Commission published its first Annual Report on the screening of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) into the Union. Key messages of the report are: (i) a growing number of Member States are introducing new, or broadening the scope of existing, FDI screening (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on a competition policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, digital, and resilient European economy New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges (“Communication”). There has been a significant push toward a more European Union-centred industrial policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, (...)

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