July 2021 - II

General antitrust

The Polish Competition Authority publishes its annual antitrust activity report for 2020 New
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
,
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
At the end of June, the Polish Competition Authority (UOKiK) published its annual activity report for 2020 (the Report). The Report shows that last year was particularly notable for UOKiK’s enforcement. Highest fine in UOKiK’s history UOKiK imposed the highest fine in its history on Gazprom. (...)

The European Competition Network publishes a joint position paper on how national competition authorities can strengthen the Digital Markets Act New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 June 2021, the heads of the national competition authorities (“NCAs”) published a joint position paper entitled How national competition authorities can strengthen the DMA (“NCA Paper”). The NCA Paper argues that NCAs are well placed to assist the European Commission (“Commission”) – and (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority announces updates to the national competition act based on the ECN+ Directive will soon enter into force, including changes to monitoring competition restraints and sanctions imposed for infringements New
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Changes to monitoring competition restraints and sanctions imposed for infringements – amendments to the Competition Act will enter into force on 24 June 2021* Amendments that apply to the assessment of the penalty payments imposed for infringements have been made to the Competition Act. At the (...)

The German, French, and Dutch Competition Authorities publish a "non-paper" containing several proposals to improve the Digital Market Act New
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
The interest of National Competition Authorities (“NCAs”) in playing a prominent role in the enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) is not new. Back in May 2021, the German, French and Dutch competition authorities published a “non-paper” entitled “Friends of an effective Digital Markets Act” (...)

The French Competition Authority finishes the transposition into French law of the ECN+ Directive which aims to strengthen the powers of national competition authorities and increase their effectiveness after receiving a presidential ordinance New
Bird & Bird (Paris)
,
Bird & Bird (Paris)
On 26 May this year, a presidential ordinance (the Ordinance) perfected the transposition into French law of the ECN+ European Directive of 11 December 2018, which aims to strengthen the powers of national competition authorities and increase their effectiveness. Several provisions of the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its views on the competition issues arising from Fintech New
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
Back in 2020, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) had announced, in its annual priorities, its interest in the competition implications of the digital revolution in the financial sector, notably in the context of the growth of FinTech, the introduction of blockchain technology and the (...)

The German Parliament sees its 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints on Competition enter into force bringing about substantial changes to national cartel enforcement regime New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
At the end of January 2021, the revised Act against Restraints on Competition ("ARC") entered into force. Most attention has focused on the new powers bestowed upon the Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") to investigate the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook. However, the revised ARC also contains (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority calls on the national football federation to amend their proposal for commercializing the audiovisual rights of the new "Primera RFEF" category (RFEF) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC calls on the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to amend their proposal for commercialising the audiovisual rights of the new "Primera RFEF" category The document breaches several requirements set out in Royal Decree-Act 5/2015. It affects the commercialisation of the rights in (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines two drug companies for overcharging the National Health Service (Auden Mckenzie / Actavis / AMCo / Waymade) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds drug companies overcharged NHS* The CMA has imposed fines totalling over £260 million for competition law breaches in relation to the supply of hydrocortisone tablets. Prices of life-saving hydrocortisone tablets rose by over 10,000%. Pharma firms bought off potential rivals to avoid (...)

The Danish Competition Authority fines an accounting services platform for fixing prices (Ageras) New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Digital platform pays a fine of DKK 1.275.000 for violating the Danish Competition Act* Ageras A/S has entered into a settlement and accepted to pay a fine of DKK 1.275.000 for infringing the Danish Competition Act by using a price standardization mechanism and setting minimum prices on the (...)

The French Competition Authority indicates dawn raids have been carried out in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Dawn raids in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector. Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against two pay-TV providers for possible anti-competitive practices through the rights agreement for the Liga A football series (Tim / Dazn) New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: proceeding opened against Tim and Dazn for possible anti-competitive practice through the TV rights agreement for the Liga A football series* The Authority will evaluate the adoption of precautionary measures only if it finds that considerable and irreparable damage to competition results (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority fines multiple undertakings involved in a cartel in the market of rendering industry in Rio Grande do Sul New
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE signs agreements related to a cartel in the market of rendering industry in Rio Grande do Sul* In total, more than BRL 18.7 million are to be paid as financial contributions In the hearing held last Wednesday (30 June), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) ratified four (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates two Big Tech companies for an alleged anticompetitive agreement affecting markets for the online sale of electronic products, and for the provision of marketing services to third party retailers through online platforms (Amazon / Apple) New
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
This month, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) has opened formal proceedings against Amazon and Apple for their alleged participation in a conduct prohibited by Articles 1 of the Spanish Competition Act and 101 of the TFEU related to the sale of Apple products in Amazon’s marketplace. (...)

The Irish Competition Authority launches a public campaign to alert retailers against resale price maintenance New
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC puts spotlight on anti-competitive pricing practice* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has launched a campaign to alert Irish retailers of a harmful anticompetitive pricing practice, called resale price maintenance. Along with publishing guidance to help businesses (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority convicts members of a cartel in procurements for PVC pipes and fittings (BR Plásticos Indústria / BRP Indústria Plástica / Nicoll Indústria Plástica Tigre / Amanco) New
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE convicts a cartel in procurements for PVC pipes and fittings* In the hearing of this Wednesday (30 June), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense convicted five firms and six individuals for a cartel in public procurements for PVC pipes and fittings. Such procurements were aimed (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by a Big Tech company in the online advertising technology sector (Google) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google in the online advertising technology sector* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favouring its own online (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the manufacturing and distribution of garments sector New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the manufacturing and distribution of garments sector* On 22 June 2021, the European Commission has carried out unannounced inspections in Germany at the premises of a company active in the sector of manufacturing and distribution of (...)

The Spanish and Portuguese Competition Authorities carry out simultaneous investigations into possible market-sharing arrangements in the market for business information subscriptions New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
CNMC and the Autoridad da Concorrência (AdC) carry out simultaneous investigations into possible anti-competitive practices in Spain and Portugal* The inspections concern companies that market subscriptions to databases with business information. Both authorities analyse possible market-sharing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues a landmark judgment in a proceeding for unfair commercial practices in the distribution and selling of patented seedless grapes in Italy (Puglia Association of Growers / Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori Puglia / Comitato Liberi Agricoltori e Commercianti Pugliesi e Lucani) New
Bird & Bird (Rome)
,
Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 25 May 2021, the Italian Antitrust Authority (“AGCM”) issued a landmark judgment in a proceeding for unfair commercial practices in the distribution and selling of patented seedless grapes in Italy. The proceeding represents one of the few of its kind, not only for the close interlink between (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of €371 million on banks implicated in bond trading (Bank of America / Natixis / RBS / UBS / UniCredit / WestLB) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In April and May 2021 the European Commission ("EC") announced the imposition of fines totalling almost €400 million on banks implicated in two separate cartels relating to bond trading. In a separate development, the EC took unprecedented action to exclude a number of international banks from (...)

The Latvian Supreme Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to fine three amelioration system builders for participating in a cartel in construction project procurements (Limbazu Melio / Bauskas / Meliorācijas) New
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The court upholds the Competition Council’s decision regarding the established cartel in the land amelioration sector* By its 14 May decision not to initiate cassation proceedings, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Competition Council (CC) by which in 2018 the institution established (...)

The Czech Competition Authority applies an alternative solution to the potential competition issue related to vertical resale price agreements and customer restriction agreements New
Bird & Bird (Prague)
,
Bird & Bird (Prague)
The Office for the Protection of Competition (Office) recently applied an alternative solution to a potential competition issue related to vertical resale price agreements and customer restriction agreements. Although the Office discovered the existence of the agreements, it did not initiate (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of €28.5 million on banks implicated in bond trading (Bank of America Merrill Lynch / Crédit Agricole / Crédit Suisse) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In April and May 2021 the European Commission ("EC") announced the imposition of fines totalling almost €400 million on banks implicated in two separate cartels relating to bond trading. In a separate development, the EC took unprecedented action to exclude a number of international banks from (...)

The French Competition Authority fines the three main national manufacturers of industrial sandwiches sold under a private label for having defined a common strategy when responding to calls for a tender launched by large and medium-sized retailers (Roland Monterrat / La Toque Angevine / Daunat) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 24 March 2021, the FCA fined the three main French manufacturers of industrial sandwiches sold under private label for having defined a common strategy when responding to calls for tender launched by large and medium-sized retailers. The FCA launched dawn raids at the premises of the (...)

The Munich Regional Court grants an injunction regarding an internet search cooperation between the Government and a Big Tech company as it constitutes a restriction on competition (Google / German Ministry of Health) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
The Munich Regional Court has granted an injunction based on Article 101 TFEU against an arrangement between Google and the German Ministry of Health . The Ministry operates a national online platform (“Gesund.bund.de”) providing information on health, including a short description of common (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Authority consults on its market investigation into emergency services’ mobile radio network (Motorola’s Airwave) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA consults on market investigation into emergency services’ mobile radio network* The CMA is consulting on whether to launch a market investigation into Motorola’s Airwave network – the mobile radio network used by all emergency services in Great Britain. The move follows concerns expressed (...)

The US FTC charges a semiconductor supplier with illegal monopolization through exclusive dealing in the market for components used to deliver TV and broadband internet services (Broadcom) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Charges Broadcom with Illegal Monopolization and Orders the Semiconductor Supplier to Cease its Anticompetitive Conduct* The Federal Trade Commission has issued a complaint charging Broadcom with illegally monopolizing markets for semiconductor components used to deliver television and (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia grants motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the FTC and a group of state enforcers against a social media company for monopolization, with the FTC being allowed to file an amended complaint in 30 days (Facebook) New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On June 28, 2021, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Facebook’s motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of state enforcers. The complaints accused Facebook of illegally (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a TV broadcaster’s complaint against the national football league’s rewarding of broadcasting rights due to insufficient evidence (Canal Plus / Ligue de Football Professionnel) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Reawarding of the football Ligue 1’s TV rights: The Autorité de la concurrence rejects Canal + Group’s complaint against the LFP, for lack of sufficient evidence* Background On 29 January 2021, Canal Plus Group ("GCP") referred practices allegedly implemented by the Ligue de Football (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for favoring its own services in the online advertising services supply chain (Google) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a decision of 7 June 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted a proposed settlement by Google LLC and Google Ireland Ltd (“Google”) with respect to certain online advertising practices. The decision also imposed a € 220 million fine on Google as it concluded that Google’s (...)

The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal upholds the annulment of the nearly € 41 million abuse of dominance fine imposed by the Competition Authority against a railway company (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) New
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
,
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 1 June 2021 the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (“CBb”), which is the highest administrative court in the Netherlands, upheld the annulment of the nearly € 41 million abuse of dominance fine imposed by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”, the Dutch competition authority) on (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority finds that the proposed purchase of a multinational conglomerate’s UK passive telecoms infrastructure assets by the largest national independent telecommunications infrastructure supplier raises competition concerns (Cellnex / CK Hutchison) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Cellnex and CK Hutchison deal raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Cellnex’s proposed purchase of CK Hutchison’s UK passive telecoms infrastructure assets raises competition concerns. Cellnex is an independent supplier of telecommunications infrastructure, currently active across (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two insurance operators active in the non-life and personal insurance, savings, and asset management markets (Aéma / Aviva) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Aviva France by the Aéma Group (Macif)* On 24 June 2021, the Aéma Group notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire sole control of the insurance company Aviva France. Parties to the transaction The Aéma Group and Aviva (...)

The EU Commission clears the merger between two insurance companies subject to conditions (Aon / Willis Towers Watson) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Willis Towers Watson by Aon, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Willis Towers Watson (‘WTW’) by Aon. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a substantial set of (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears a merger between two nursing homes companies subject to conditions (Orpea / Firstcare) New
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC requires commitment from Orpea to acquire six Firstcare nursing homes* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to a binding commitment, the proposed acquisition by Orpea S.A.* (Orpea) of six Firstcare nursing homes. Orpea provides residential and (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority investigates a merger between two companies engaged in the wholesale of electrical products affecting the construction sector (Sonepar Magyarország Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató / Újfa-Vill Kereskedelmi) New
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH is investigating a foreign acquisition in the construction industry* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has initiated a proceeding to investigate a merger of undertakings engaged in the wholesale of electrical products, which affects construction industry development projects as (...)

The UK Takeover Panel updates the Takeover Code provisions with special focus on regulatory and merger conditions applicable to takeover offers
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
Changes to the Takeover Code provisions on conditions to an offer, particularly those relating to regulatory / merger control clearance, and the offer timetable take effect today, Monday 5 July 2021. The revised rules apply to all firm offers which are announced (Rule 2.7 announcement) on or (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into proposed merger between two cargo handling services companies (Cargotec / Konecranes)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed merger of Cargotec and Konecranes* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed merger of Cargotec Corporation (‘Cargotec’) and Konecranes Plc (‘Konecranes’) under the EU Merger Regulation. The (...)

The US DoJ announces that two automotive-parts suppliers will restructure their merger following competition concerns (Tupy / Teksid)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Major International Automotive-Parts Suppliers Restructure Deal to Resolve Antitrust Concerns* Auto parts supplier Tupy agreed to restructure its acquisition of Teksid after the Department of Justice raised concerns that the merger would result in higher prices and reduced quality and (...)

The French Competition Authority opens public consultation on a merger in the real estate sector (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations / Nexity) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens a public consultation on a merger in the real estate sector* The Autorité de la concurrence is examining a proposed merger under which the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (French Deposit and Consignment Office), together with Nexity, plans to acquire joint (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into proposed merger between two airline companies (Air Europa / IAG) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Air Europa by IAG* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Air Europa by IAG, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the proposed (...)

The German Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two family-owned food retailers on the market for preserved fruit in glass jars and cartons (Andros / Spreewaldhof) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Spreewaldhof by Andros* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the acquisition of Obst- und Gemüseverarbeitung “Spreewaldkonserve” Golßen GmbH (“Spreewaldhof”) by Andros & Cie SAS (“Andros”) in second-phase proceedings. Andreas Mundt, President of the (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority calls for lowering turnover thresholds for merger notification and discretionary power to order below-threshold notifications New
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
,
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
According to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (“FCCA”), the current national turnover thresholds allow harmful merges to escape scrutiny by the authority. The FCCA suggests that Finnish turnover thresholds be lowered and that the authority be granted the right to require a (...)

The French Competition Authority receives notice that a cooperative hypermarket chain is withdrawing from the intended joint takeover of a food store chain in Martinique (La Batelière / E. Leclerc) New
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Takeover of the La Batelière hypermaket at La Martinique: Leclerc withdraws from the transaction* On 10 April 2020, the Autorité de la concurrence received a notification regarding the acquisition of a business operating a predominantly food store located in Schoelcher (Martinique) by a (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger between a telecom provider and a mobile virtual network operator (Proximus / Mobile Vikings) New
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
In February 2021, Proximus, Belgium’s incumbent telecom provider, started prenotification talks with the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) with a view to taking over Mobile Vikings, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which previously formed part of the DPG group. As part of its (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court confirms that the aid granted by Austria to its national airline in order to compensate it for the damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of its flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic is compatible with the internal market (Austrian Airlines / Laudamotion) New Free
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court confirms that the aid granted by Austria to Austrian Airlines in order to compensate it for the damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of its flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic is compatible with the internal market* That aid, having been deducted from the (...)

The EU Commission approves a €750 million German State guarantee scheme for the travel insolvency fund in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €750 million German State guarantee scheme for the Travel Insolvency Fund in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €750 million German scheme in the form of a State guarantee for loans that may be (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority finds no State aid in Iceland’s additional funding of summer courses in 2020 New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA finds no state aid in Iceland’s additional funding of summer courses in 2020* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has finalised looking into grants provided by Iceland to higher education institutions offering summer courses. It concludes that the measure, which was part of Iceland’s (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves renewing support to large public events that are cancelled or downscaled due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewing support to large public events that are cancelled or downscaled due to the pandemic* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a scheme offering compensation to organisers of large public events downscaled or cancelled as a (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway until the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway until the end of 2021* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a support scheme to compensate losses incurred by operators of long-distance bus and (...)

The EU Commission opens in-depth investigation into €190 million Romanian support measures in favour of a national airline (TAROM)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into €190 million Romanian support measures in favour of TAROM* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Romanian support measures in favour of the airline TAROM would be in line with EU rules on State aid (...)

The EU Commission approves €39.7 million of Italian aid measure to compensate national airline company for further damages suffered due to COVID-19 outbreak (Alitalia) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €39.7 million of Italian aid measure to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found that an Italian aid measure of €39.7 million to support Alitalia is in line with EU State aid rules. This measure (...)

The UK Government publishes its long-awaited Subsidy Control Bill New
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 30 June 2021, the UK Government published its much-awaited Subsidy Control Bill. In this update, we explore the key aspects of the proposed UK subsidy control regime. We conclude with five key takeaways. Overview of the UK regime The Subsidy Control Bill establishes a UK subsidy control (...)

The EU Commission clears public support for several ferry services in Italy but finds other measures to be incompatible aid (Siremar / Società Navigazione Siciliana) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission clears public support for several ferry services in Italy; finds other measures to Siremar and SNS to be incompatible aid* The European Commission has concluded that the public service compensation granted since 2009 to Sicilia Regionale Marittima S.p.A. (‘Siremar’) and (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice AG Szpunar considers that the General Court erred in law in concluding that the Commission was not competent to examine, in light of law on State aid, compensation paid by Romania following an arbitral award (Micula)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
According to Advocate General Szpunar, the General Court erred in law in concluding that the Commission was not competent to examine, in the light of the law on State aid, compensation paid by Romania following an arbitral award* Arbitration proceedings initiated on the basis of a bilateral (...)

The US FTC holds its first Commission meeting since the appointment of a new Chair and signals aggressive antitrust policy as part of government pro-enforcement agenda New
Jones Day (Washington DC)
,
Jones Day (San Francisco)
,
Jones Day (Houston)
In Short The Situation: The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), which now has a 3-2 Democrat majority, held its first Commission meeting since President Biden appointed a new Chair, Lina M. Khan. The Commissioners voted on a number of measures that signal important changes from prior agency (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies conditions for the granting of partial immunity under the 2006 Leniency Notice (Recylex) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment delivered on 3 June 2021, the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) dismissed the appeal brought by Recylex against the judgment of the General Court which had upheld the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision finding it and three other companies to have infringed Article 101 (...)

The French Constitutional Council declares article L.462-2 of the French Commercial Code on fines for obstruction of an antitrust investigation to be unconstitutional (Akka Technologies) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 26 March 2021, the French Constitutional Council declared unconstitutional Article L.462-2 of the French Commercial Code ("FCC") on obstruction to an investigation of the FCA. Pursuant to this provision, the FCA can set a fine for obstruction, the amount of which cannot exceed 1% of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice partially annuls a judgment of the General Court reducing to €2.6 million the fine imposed on a company for its participation in the steel abrasives cartel (Pometon) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In March 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU ("CJEU") partially annulled a judgment of the General Court ("GC"), reducing from €3.8 million to €2.6 million the fine imposed on Pometon S.p.A ("Pometon") for its participation in the steel abrasives cartel. The CJEU granted the fine reduction (...)

The Italian Highest Administrative Court refers to the EU Court of Justice an antitrust appeal questioning the Court’s jurisdiction and the validity of its revocation rules (Avastin / Lucentis) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Milan)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 18 March 2021, the Italian Administrative Highest Court (Consiglio di Stato) referred a case to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling regarding a request for revocation of its judgment with regard an antitrust infringement by Novartis-Roche. The CJEU has been asked to rule on whether the (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority develops a new method of determining fines New
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
,
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
The revision of the method for determining the size of fines has inter alia happened as a result of the recent implementation of the ECN+ Directive, which has increased the decision-making powers of the SCA, including providing the SCA with the power to impose fines on companies on its own. (...)

The French Supreme Court confirms that to obtain a fine reduction in cartel cases companies must actively reject cartel participation (Goodmills Deutschland / Grands moulins de Paris) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
Facts and FCA decision On 13 March 2012, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") sanctioned a flour cartel between French and German millers. One of the anti-competitive practices consisted in a non-aggression pact limiting flour imports between France and Germany, leading to market sharing (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission publishes for public consultation drafts of revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and draft revised Guidelines on vertical restraints New
White & Case (London)
,
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
On 9 July 2021, the European Commission (EC) published for public consultation a draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and draft revised guidelines on vertical restraints (Vertical Guidelines). The EC has made substantial revisions, including adjustments to the rules (...)

The EU Commission publishes drafts of the updated Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and the accompanying Guidelines New
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 9 July 2021, the European Commission published its long-awaited drafts of the updated Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) and the accompanying Guidelines. The drafts are the result of an in-depth evaluation process that started in October 2018. The evaluation showed that many consider (...)

The US President Joe Biden signs an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy New
Jones Day (Chicago)
,
Jones Day (Washington DC)
,
Jones Day (Washington DC)
In Short The Situation: President Biden recently signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (the "Order") outlining 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to combat "excessive" corporate consolidation and increase competition across the U.S. (...)

The US President Joe Biden publishes an executive order containing 72 initiatives to address competition concerns in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotech, and healthcare New
White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (Washington)
Citing concerns about growing consolidation, reduced competition, and increasing prices, President Biden issued on July 9, 2021 a sweeping Executive Order containing 72 initiatives to address competition concerns in a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotech, and healthcare. In (...)

The US President Joe Biden signs an executive order aimed at promoting competition in the American economy using antitrust laws New
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
What This Means for Merger Enforcement, Technology Platforms, Healthcare, Banking and Consumer Finance and Labor Markets On Friday, July 9, 2021, President Biden signed a sweeping Executive Order (and provided an accompanying FACT Sheet) with the stated goal of using existing antitrust laws (...)

The EU Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Vertical Guidelines New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Vertical Guidelines* The European Commission has launched today a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on the draft revised Vertical Block (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues sweeping executive order targeting corporate consolidation and anticompetitive activity in the labor, financial services, health care, transportation, telecommunications, agricultural, and tech markets New
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
,
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 9 July 2021 President Biden signed a far-reaching executive order intended to promote competition in the American economy. The order targets perceived corporate consolidation and anticompetitive activity in the labor, financial services, health care, transportation, telecommunications, (...)

The EU Commission publishes drafts of revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Vertical Guidelines New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 9 July 2021, following a comprehensive consultation process, the EU Commission (Commission) published its proposals for a revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (Draft VBER) and Draft Vertical Guidelines, due to replace the current regime which expires on 31 May 2022. The previous (...)

The US President Joe Biden signs an executive order instructing more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across the national economy New
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (New York)
A new Executive Order signed by President Biden includes 72 initiatives instructing more than a dozen federal agencies, including the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, to, according to the White House’s Fact Sheet, "promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a consultation document setting out the proposals on the future treatment of vertical agreements New
Bird & Bird (London)
The long-awaited consultation document setting out the CMA’s proposals on the future treatment of vertical (supply chain) agreements in the UK is finally out. As expected, the CMA will recommend that the rules inherited from the EU following Brexit will be replaced, on their expiry in 2022, with (...)

The UK Competition Authority consults on proposals for a vertical agreement block exemption order New
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
Introduction On 17 June 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published an eagerly anticipated consultation document outlining its proposed recommendations to the Secretary of State (i.e., the relevant government minister) on the future of the retained vertical agreements block (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority develops a self-assessment tool for assessment of vertical agreements for entrepreneurs New
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The Competition Council develops a self-assessment tool for assessment of vertical agreements for entrepreneurs* The Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) develops a self-assessment tool for entrepreneurs so that they could be able to assess independently whether they have not engaged in a (...)

The EU Commission publishes the results of its evaluation of the horizontal block exemption regulations and guidelines for R&D New
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 6 May 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published the findings of its evaluation of the horizontal block exemption regulations for Research & Development (“R&D BER”) and specialisation agreements (“Specialisation BER”, together “HBERs”), as well as the accompanying Horizontal (...)

All issues

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