July 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The US FTC reaches a settlement with health staffing agencies for colluding on their staffs wages (Your Therapist Source / N.Jindal / S.Yarbray)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
THE LATEST: FTC Settles Civil Complaint for Wage-Fixing* A recent settlement shows that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will use its enforcement authority to target employer collusion in the labor market. WHAT HAPPENED The FTC brought a complaint against a medical staffing agency, Your (...)

The Italian Administrative Court of First Instance rejects the appeals against the Competition Authority’s decision fining a cartel in the cement sector
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati (Rome)
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Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati (Rome)
With a series of decisions published between 12/06/2018 and 30/07/2018, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, which is the first instance court for the appeal against the decisions of the Italian Competition Authority, rejected all the appeals against the decision ascertaining a cartel in (...)

The Indian Competition finds no cartelization or abuse of dominance but does find refusals to deal in the market for broadcasting of TV channels (Noida Software Technology Park / Star India / Sony Pictures Network India)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
Background The given case involved an information filed by Noida Software Technology Park Ltd (“Noida/Informant”) alleging (i) Cartelization (ii) Refusal to deal (constructive and outright) and (iii) Abuse of dominant position by Star India Pvt Ltd (“Star India”) and Sony Pictures Network India (...)

The French Competition Authority fines wholesale distributors of veterinary medicinal products and their professional association for anticompetitive practices (Alcyon / Coveto / Centravet)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution of veterinary medicinal products* The Autorité de la concurrence fines wholesale distributors of veterinary medicinal products and their professional association nearly 16 million euros for anticompetitive practices The Autorité de la concurrence, which began proceedings ex officio (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) upholds the Indian Competition Authority’s record fine imposed in the cement cartel case (Builders’ Association of India / Cement Manufacturers’ Association)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
NCLAT upholds the highest penalty imposed by CCI on cement cartel* The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) by way of a judgement dated 25 July 2018 has upheld the penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on 11 cement companies for cartelization. The CCI in its (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics manufacturers €111 Million for online pricing restrictions (Asus / Denon / Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Cooley (London)
European Commission Fines Consumer Electronics Manufacturers €111 Million for Online Pricing Restrictions* On 24 July 2018, the European Commission announced that it had fined four consumer electronics manufacturers – Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer – a total of €111 million (...)

The EU Commission fines four electronics manufacturers for fixing minimum resale prices for online retailers (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
K&L Gates (Houston)
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K&L Gates (Sidney)
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K&L Gates (Boston)
On 24 July 2018, in four separate decisions, the European Commission (“Commission”) levied fines totalling EUR 111 million on four well-known manufacturers of consumer electronic products for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers between 2011 and 2015. These decisions (...)

The EU Commission fines four consumer electronics groups for restricting their online retailers’ ability to set their own retail prices for widely-used electronics products (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
The Commission Decisions In February 2017, the Commission initiated proceedings against Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer following information obtained during the e-commerce sector inquiry. The Commission’s report had identified resale price maintenance as an area of concern, and (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics manufacturers for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers (Asus / Denon / Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Dechert (Brussels)
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Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Brussels)
Recent EU Fines for Resale Price Maintenance Are Symptoms of Broader Challenges Faced by Today’s Consumer-Goods Manufacturers The European Commission (the “Commission”) issued four separate decisions on 24 July 2018, fining consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics’ manufacturers a total of €111 million for resale price maintenance, granting substantial reductions in the fines through the cooperation procedure (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release and statement issued on 24 July 2018, the European Commission has, in four separate decisions, fined consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer a total of €111 million for engaging in resale price maintenance during periods (...)

The EU Commission fines four leader consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
EU COMMISSION FINES MAJOR CONSUMER ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURERS FOR FIXING ONLINE RESALE PRICES* On 24th July 2018 the EU Commission passed a decision to enforce the competition rules in yet another case involving the e-commerce sector. This time it fined a number of leading consumer electronics (...)

The EU Commission fines four consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines four consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices* The European Commission today fined, in four separate decisions, consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on (...)

The EU Commission fines manufacturers for over €111 million for restricting the ability of online retailers to set their own retail prices for a variety of widely-used consumer electronics products (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Antitrust News: The European Commission imposes fines for the first time in 15 years as a result of online retail price restrictions (RPM)* On July 24, 2018, the European Commission fined manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for over €111 million for restricting the (...)

The EU Commission fines electronic goods manufacturers for resale price maintenance (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
Vertical restrictions, including resale price maintenance (RPM), have not generally been an EC enforcement priority over the last 10 years, but a series of rulings in July 2018 signalled a potential change in that trend. Although the EC considers RPM to be a “hardcore restriction” of (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms the decision of the Competition Authority concerning a cartel on the market of civilian filtering gas masks
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Appeal Court supported FAS in a case against a 20-member cartel* The total fines imposed upon manufacturers and suppliers of civilian gas masks exceeded 75 million RUB The 9th Arbitration Appeal Court in Moscow reversed the ruling of the Court of First Instance and agreed with FAS arguments. (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the decision of the Competition Authority but reduces fines in the parcel delivery services cartel case (Traditional and express delivery service)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 July 2018, the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court”) delivered a judgment in connection with the parcel delivery services cartel case (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2016, No. 1). The Court confirmed most of the findings of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”), including that the (...)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirms a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an old case alleging an unlawful conspiracy in the single-copy magazine industry (Anderson News)
Dechert (Philadelphia)
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Dechert (Philadelphia)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment on July 19, 2018, in favor of defendants in a nearly decade-old case alleging an unlawful conspiracy in the single-copy magazine industry. The decision clarifies the application of the Supreme Court’s (...)

The Russian Competition Authority exposes the first cartel in Dagestan in the medicine sector (Medpharmasnab / RegionPharma / Dagmedtechnika / Globalmedtech)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS exposed the first cartel in Dagestan* A group of FAS specialists arrived to Dagestan on invitation of Acting Head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasiliev To pursue the National Competition Development Plan approved by No. 618 Order of the President of Russia on 21.12.2017, FAS jointly with (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects the request for interim measures filed by a law firm relating to practices implemented by the Toulouse Bar Association (AGN Avocats)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Law firms* The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the request for interim measures filed by the company AGN Avocats relating to practices implemented by the Toulouse Bar Association, but pursues the investigation into the merits of the case. The company AGN Avocats Développement, hereinafter (...)

The EU General Court annuls a fine imposed by the Commission on cartellists in the sea shrimp sector due to lack of reasoning (Stührk Delikatessen)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
In this difficult case, the EC had to reduce the fines calculated for each of the cartel participants so as to remain within the unalterable limit of 10 per cent of total worldwide group turnover. The EC claimed that it had sought to treat the various cartel participants equally in making the (...)

The EU General Court affirms the Commission’s finding that financial investors have parental liability for the acts of an indirect subsidiary involved in the power cables cartel (Goldman Sachs)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 12 July 2018, by its judgment in Case T-419/14 The Goldman Sachs Group v Commission, the GCEU entirely dismissed the appeal brought by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., against an EC decision in Case AT. 39610 Power Cables, fining Goldman Sachs EUR 37.303 million for its parental liability (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses cartel allegations against 37 suppliers of signaling cables to national railways (North Western Railway / Rajasthan Transformers and Switchgears)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of cartel against 37 suppliers of signaling cables to Indian Railways* The Competition Commission of India (CCI/Commission ) by way of an order dated 12 July 2018 rejected the findings of the Director General (DG) and closed the case against 37 signaling cable (...)

The EU General Court holds that institutional investors can face parental liability for infringement of the EU competition law (Power Cables cartel)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 12 July 2018, the EU’s General Court handed down 12 judgments relating to the power cables case. Among these was a judgment which confirmed that a parent company able to exercise all the voting rights in a subsidiary is presumed liable for any infringement of the EU competition rules by that (...)

The German Competition Authority fines several steel companies for price-fixing and exchanging information (ArcelorMittal Commercial Long, Cologne, Dörrenberg Edelstahl, Engelskirchen, Kind & Co. Edelstahlwerke, Wiehl, Saarstahl, Völklingen, Schmidt + Clemens, Lindlar and Zapp Precision Metals, Schwerte)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes first fines totalling approx. 205 million euros on special steel companies* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approx. 205 million euros on six special steel companies, a trade association and ten individuals for concluding price-fixing agreements and (...)

The EU General Court finds financial investors liable for anticompetitive conduct of portfolio companies (Goldman Sachs)
Dechert (Brussels)
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Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
The General Court of the European Union recently held, in Goldman Sachs v. Commission, that purely financial investors such as investment funds may be held jointly and severally liable for competition law violations implemented by their portfolio companies when they can exercise “decisive (...)

The EU General Court dismisses appeals against a decision of the Commission brought by producers of underground and submarine high voltage power cables (Power Cables cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Cartel, judicial review, evidence, conterfactuel, parent On 12 July 2018, the General Court (“GC”) delivered fourteen judgments dismissing all of the appeals brought by the companies involved in the Power Cables cartel case. By way of background, in 2014, the European Commission adopted a (...)

The UK Competition Authority extends its timetable of investigations on anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
UK COMPETITION & MARKETS AUTHORITY PROVIDES UPDATES ON ITS PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR INVESTIGATIONS* On 12th July 2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it was extending its timetable in relation to a number of its ongoing investigations involving anti-competitive practices in (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt/Main, applying the preliminary ruling of the EU Court of Justice, finds that a luxury perfume provider can prohibit unauthorised distribution over third-party websites (Coty Germany)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
This judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt/Main of 12 July 2018 applying the preliminary ruling of the CJEU of 6 December 2017 in the case Coty Germany GmbH v Parfümerie Akzente GmbH will reassure manufacturers of luxury products that they can protect such products from unauthorised (...)

The EU General Court hands down a judgment confirming a growing trend towards a broad application of parental liability (Goldman Sachs)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Infringement On 12 July 2018, the General Court (the GC) upheld an infringement decision of the European Commission (the Commission) made on 02 April 2014, in which the Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) was found jointly and severally liable with its indirect subsidiary Prysmian for violating (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines state chemists’ association and 3 pharma companies for anticompetitive practice of "No Objection Certificates" prior to appointment of stockists (Alis Medical Agency / Federation of Gujarat State Chemists & Druggists Associations)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalties on the Chemists’ Associations in State of Gujarat and three pharma companies for indulging in practice of “No Objection Certificate” before appointment of stockists* The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) by way of an order dated 12 July 2018 has imposed penalty on the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority decides its fourth leniency and fines broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by sports broadcasters (Essel Shyam Communication / Globecast India / Globecast Asia)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI decides its fourth leniency, imposes penalty on broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by Sports Broadcasters* By way of an order dated 11 July 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of INR 22.36 Crore on Essel Shyam Communication (...)

The EU Commission invites stakeholders to comment on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the economic harm caused by cartels
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the economic harm caused by cartels* The European Commission is inviting comments on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the share of price increases caused by a cartel that are (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority grants immunity from fine to a leniency applicant in a bid rigging case (Litarcom / Capillati / Ecosem Grup)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 5 July 2018, the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) found the signs of bid rigging in the public procurement, organized by local administration in the Glodeni county. The CC initiated its investigation on the basis of the leniency application filed by Ecosem Grup SRL, (...)

The Danish Competition Authority adopts new guidelines on joint bidding under competition law
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
New guidelines on joint bidding under competition law* The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority published new guidelines on how to assess joint bidding under competition law on 25 April 2018. These guidelines are now available in English. The guidelines address the assessments (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspection in the immunoglobulin sector
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority confirms the inspection in the immunoglobulin sector* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) confirms the inspection conducted in Belgium, at the request of the Romanian Competition Council, at the premises of (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation in the immunoglobulin market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
Competition Council opens investigation in the immunoglobulin market* • Simultaneous inspections in Romania, Belgium and Italy The Competition Council has opened an investigation regarding an alleged agreement amongst the following producers of normal human immunoglobulins, owning marketing (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Court of Justice holds that the actual effects of an infringement do not have to be taken into account as part of fine calculation in abuse of dominance cases (Orange Polska)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 25 July 2018 the CJEU dismissed an appeal by Orange Polska SA against a GCEU judgment upholding an EC decision that imposed a fine of more than EUR 127 million on Orange for abusing its dominant position. The CJEU confirmed that, as in the case of a cartel, the EC does not have to take (...)

The French Competition Authority renders legally binding a set of remedies proposed by a media company, leaving its subscribers free to choose their TV decoder to watch its programmes (Canal Plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Satellite Pay TV* The Autorité de la concurrence makes the commitments of Groupe Canal Plus binding, leaving its subscribers free to choose their TV decoder to watch its programmes. The complaint A satellite decoder manufacturer lodged a complaint with the Autorité de la concurrence relating (...)

The EU Commission sends supplementary statement of objection to a manufacturer of LTE baseband chipsets for predatory pricing practices (Qualcomm)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
QUALCOMM RECEIVES SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS FROM THE EU COMMISSION IN PREDATORY PRICING INVESTIGATION* Hot on the heels of the announcement of a record antitrust fine imposed by the European antitrust regulator upon another US technology company , the European Commission announced (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational company prompting it to announce new licensing options and structure its business model to comply with the Commission’s decision (Google Android)
Bruegel (Brussels)
Google has announced new licensing options and structure in its business model to comply with the Commission’s Android decision. These options came into effect on October 29, 2018. While full details over the announced chances are not yet known, in this piece we attempt to analyze the (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance by imposing illegal restrictions on device manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google Android)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine* The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions (...)

The EU Commission fines a Big Tech company €4.34 billion for illegal practices (Google)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
The EU’s Google Android antitrust decision falls prey to the nirvana fallacy* Today the European Commission launched its latest salvo against Google, issuing a decision in its three-year antitrust investigation into the company’s agreements for distribution of the Android mobile operating (...)

The EU Commission imposes a record fine to a Big Tech company for restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google)
Wolters Kluwer (Chicago)
Record Google fine over restrictions on Android devices draws strong reactions* A record €4.34 billion (approximately $5 billion) fine was imposed on Google last week by the European Commission (EC) in response to the company’s imposition of restrictions on Android device manufacturers and (...)

The EU Commission fines a technology company for abuse of dominance through its smartphone operating system and platform (Google Android)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 July 2018, the European Commission adopted a decision fining Google €4.34 billion for abusing its dominant position by allegedly engaging in various illegal practices regarding the Android mobile platform. According to its press release, the Commission found that Google holds a dominant (...)

The EU Commission fines a tech company for illegal tying in the market for third-party mobile device manufacturing (Google Android)
Economists Incorporated (Washington)
European Commission Fines Google for Illegal Tying* The European Commission (“EC”) recently fined Google €4.34 billion, stating that “Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.” (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominant position in the smartphone operating system sector (Google Android)
Baker McKenzie (London)
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Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
On 18 July 2018 the European Commission imposed a record fine of €4.34 billion on Google. In such an innovative and competitive industry, a decision and fine on this scale arguably sends the wrong message. This update questions whether intervention risks reducing innovation, raising prices and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for abuse of dominance in the market of migraine medicines (Glaxosmithline)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Decision concerning GLAXOSMITHKLINE SA and GLAXOSMITHKLINE plc’s supply policy of medicinal products LAMICTAL, IMIGRAN and SEREVENT in the Greek market, following the partial referral of the case back to the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) by the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for reducing supplies of medicines to wholesalers (Glaxosmithline)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2018, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) adopted a decision (the “Decision”) fining Glaxosmithkline (“GSK”) a total of €4.1 million for abusing its dominant position in relation to two pharmaceutical products: Imigran (an anti-migraine product) and Lamictal (an anticonvulsant). (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines joint venture for denying access to essential facility in the market for upstream terminalling services (East India Petroleum / South Asia LPG)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalty on South Asia LPG Company Ltd for abuse of dominant position- a classic case of denial of essential facility* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) by an order dated 11 July 2018, has imposed penalty of INR 19.2 Crore on South Asia LPG Company Ltd (‘SALPG’), a joint (...)

The Portuguese Competition Auhtority renders legally binding a set of remedies that expand the scope of postal network access offer of a postal operator to competing operators (CTT)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC’s intervention expands the scope of CTT postal network access offer to competing operators and broadens consumer choice* The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) adopted a decision which renders legally binding a set of commitments that expand the scope of CTT’s Postal Network Access Offer (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the fresh produce distribution market (Total Produce / Dole)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Total Produce’s acquisition of Dole, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Total Produce of joint control over Dole. Both companies supply bagged salads, bananas and other fresh fruit and (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a retailer and distributor of electronic products for failing to comply with its merger remedies (Fnac / Darty)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Fnac’s acquisition of Darty* The Autorité de la concurrence fines Fnac Darty Group €20 million for failing to divest itself of three stores, which was the pre-condition for clearance of the transaction. The Autorité also orders Fnac Darty to divest itself of two stores in lieu of those that it (...)

The German government opposes foreign investment in electrical infrastructure due to security concerns (State Grid Corp / 50Hertz)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
Non-EU inward investors in Germany should be aware of recent developments in German Government policy towards foreign investment in strategic infrastructure and security sensitive areas. Electricity infrastructure is an area that is particularly sensitive for strategic and security (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a retailer for failing to comply with its divestment commitments (Fnac / Darty)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 27 July 2018 the French Competition Authority (FCA) imposed a EUR 20 million fine on Fnac Darty for failing to comply with its divestment commitments following Fnac’s acquisition of the Darty group. This is the first time the FCA has imposed a fine on a company for failing to comply with a (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Kokott issues an opinion supporting the rights of defence of merging parties (UPS / TNT)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 July 2018, Advocate General (“AG”) Kokott issued an Opinion in which she concludes that the General Court (“GC”) was correct to annul the Commission’s 2013 decision to prohibit UPS’s acquisition of its package delivery rival, TNT Express. In the decision, the Commission relied upon a “price (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a merger in the market of the supply of rolled copper products and sanitary copper tubes (MKM /KME)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into KME’s proposed acquisition of competing copper products supplier MKM* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of MKM by KME, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a merger in the hardware security modules market (Gemalto / Thales)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger (...)

The French Economic and Finance minister authorises a merger in the food sector, after using his power of re-examination for the first time (Cofigéo / Agripole)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
Article L. 430-7-1, II of the French Commercial Code provides that the French Minister of Economy and Finance has the power to re-examine a merger within 25 working days after receiving the French Competition Authority (FCA) decision, for reasons of public interest other than safeguarding (...)

The French Ministry of Economy clears “Phase III” review and imposes commitment to maintain employment (Cofigeo / Agripole)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 July 2018, the French Ministry of Economy (“Ministry”) announced a revised clearance of Cofigeo’s acquisition of the ready meals business of Agripole. This is the first time in the history of French merger control that the Ministry has reviewed a transaction on public interest grounds under (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a proposed merger in the rail sector (Siemens / Alstom)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Siemens proposed acquisition of Alstom* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger may (...)

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore announces a proposed infringement decision for substantial lessening of competition in the market of ride-hailing platform services (Grab / Uber)
BHP Billiton (Melbourne)
1 STAR RATING: SINGAPORE REGULATOR FLAGS UNWINDING OF GRAB/UBER MERGER* On 5 July 2018, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) announced that it had issued a proposed infringement decision against Grab Inc (Grab) and Uber Technologies, Inc (Uber) in relation to the sale of (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the titanium dioxide pigment market (Tronox / Cristal)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Tronox’s acquisition of Cristal, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Cristal by Tronox, both major suppliers of titanium dioxide pigment. The approval is conditional on full compliance with (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves most of a French aid granted to electricity-intensive companies but asks France to recover part of the aid
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves most of the electricity contribution reductions granted to electricity-intensive companies in France in 2003-15 and asks France to recover part of the reductions* The European Commission has approved most of the electricity contribution reductions granted to (...)

The EU General Court denies video-on-demand distributors’ standing to appeal a Commission decision authorising a German cinema aid scheme (Netflix / Apple)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
All State Aid decisions taken by the EC can be subject to an action for annulment. In practice, however, it has been very difficult for complainants to successfully bring admissible actions for annulment of EC decisions approving aid because of EU courts’ strict interpretation of the locus (...)

The EU Commission approves French aid granted to a tidal energy demonstration plant (Raz Blanchard)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
State aid: Commission approves French support for tidal energy demonstration plant Raz Blanchard* The European Commission has found a French project promoting electricity generation from tidal energy to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute further the EU’s energy and (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that State aid selectivity can exist for final and intermediary beneficiary (Spanish tax lease system)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission DG Competition publishes a Code of best practices for the conduct of State aid control procedures in the official Journal of European Union
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court confirms the authorization of a State aid for a new nuclear power plant in UK (Hinkley Point C)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission estimates public funding for five ferry connections between Croatian islands and mainland is in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves public funding for five ferry connections between Croatian islands and mainland* The European Commission has found Croatian plans to grant HRK 250 million (€34 million) to ensure regular ferry connections on five routes between Croatian islands and the mainland to (...)

The EU General Court holds that the compatibility of a State aid depends on the rules that are applicable when aid measures produce effects (Buonotourist)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission finds overcompensation in the State aid for the incumbent postal operator in Spain (Correos)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission imposes to Spain to recover around €167 million corresponding to illegal tax benefits granted to a postal operator (Correos)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Spain needs to recover around €167 million of incompatible aid from postal operator Correos* The European Commission has found that Correos, the publicly-owned Spanish postal operator, was overcompensated for the delivery of its universal postal service obligation between 2004 and (...)

The EU Commission finds reductions of nuclear levy for electro-intensive users in Slovakia to be in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves reductions of nuclear levy for electro-intensive users in Slovakia* The European Commission has found Slovakia’s plan to grant reductions on a nuclear levy to certain electro-intensive users to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the (...)

Procedures

The High Court of Spain annuls a decision of the Competition Authority that had validated an investigation order to carry out inspections in a company in the automotive industry (Spanish Competition Authority / Faurencia Automotive)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
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CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
THE SPANISH HIGH COURT REINFORCES THE REQUIREMENTS TO ISSUE INSPECTION ORDERS BY THE SPANISH COMPETITION AUTHORITY On 25 July 2018, the High Court (Audiencia Nacional) adopted a ruling by which it annulled a decision of the Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la (...)

The Supreme Court of Spain rules that the ‘fortuitous discovery’ doctrine holds special cassation relevance and admits several appeals to clarify and develop this doctrine (IRMASOL)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
Between June and July 2018, the Spanish Supreme Court has granted leave to proceed to several appeals in competition law cases by means of Orders that recognised the special cassation relevance of the ‘fortuitous discovery’ doctrine. In these appeals, the Supreme Court will analyse the substance (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies territorial jurisdiction criteria for damages proceedings resulting from competition infringements (FlyLAL)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) rendered a preliminary ruling on territorial jurisdiction in a long-running dispute brought by Lithuanian Airlines (“flyLAL”) against Air Baltic and Riga Airport. The case was referred to the ECJ by a Lithuanian court in order to (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies jurisdiction in tortious claims and claims relating to acts of branches, which arise from competition infringements (Flylal-Lithuanian Airlines)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 5 July 2018, the CJEU handed down a judgment in response to a request for a preliminary ruling from the Lithuanian Court of Appeal in which it provided welcome clarifications of the interpretation of Articles 5(3) and 5(5) of Regulation No 44/2001 (Brussels I Regulation). These articles (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority makes new recommendations to encourage the establishment of new notary offices
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of establishment for notaries: proposed map for 2018-2020* The process of gradually opening up the notarial profession is producing encouraging results and must continue. Pursuant to the “Macron Law”, the Autorité is making new recommendations to encourage the gradual establishment of (...)

The UK Payment Systems Regulator announces a market review into the supply of card-acquiring services
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (London)
The UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) announced on 24 July 2018 its intention to carry out a market review into the supply of card-acquiring services. The PSR has released its draft Terms of Reference (“ToR”) and is seeking feedback on consultation questions. Card payments are now more common (...)

International

Spain: The Spanish Supreme Court confirms the annulment of a decision amending a Statement of Objections and establishes that broadening the time scope of the alleged infringement is not a correction of a material error but a modification of the facts of the accusation, which is not permitted by law (Nestlé España)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
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Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
By Judgement of 24 July 2018, issued in appeal n° 2665/2016, the Supreme Court has confirmed the Judgement of 11 July 2016 of the Audiencia Nacional (appeal n° 343/14) deciding on the appeal by Nestlé España S.A. against the decision of the Council of the Spanish Competition Authority (the “CNMC”) (...)

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