March 2022

General antitrust

The Mexican Competition Authority initiates investigation into possible barriers to competition and the existence of essential facilities in the e-commerce market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece investigates possible barriers to competition and essential inputs in retail e-commerce market* The investigated market corresponds to the retail purchase and sale of goods through the internet. This is the first investigation in digital markets to determine whether barriers to (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority investigates barriers to competition in the online retail market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece investigates possible barriers to competition and essential inputs in retail e-commerce market* The investigated market corresponds to the retail purchase and sale of goods through the internet. This is the first investigation in digital markets to determine whether barriers to (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal allows planned forex class action against big banks with the proviso that class members must opt-in to the litigation (Phillip Evans)
Hausfeld (London)
London, 31 March 2022 – Today, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has handed down its judgment in FX Claim UK, the opt-out collective action brought by Phillip Evans, deciding that the proposed FX collective proceedings can be certified, but on an opt-in basis only. Mr Evans intends to (...)

The UK Competition Authority calls for comments on draft guidance for new Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) is consulting on its draft guidance (“Draft Guidance”) for its proposed Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order (“VABEO”). It invites comments by May 5, 2022. The Draft Guidance largely maintains the status quo. There are, however, a number of (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens a market investigation into barriers to entry in the e-commerce market following increased popularity throughout COVID-19 pandemic
Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
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Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
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Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Mexico: COFECE investigates barriers to entry in the retail e-commerce market* In brief On 31 March 2022, the Investigating Authority of the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) published notice of the initiation of an investigation, into the retail electronic commerce (...)

The German Competition Authority launches sector inquiry into online credit scoring used in the German online retail sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into scoring in the online retail sector* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry under consumer protection law into “scoring” practices used in the online retail sector. It deals with retailers’ prac-tices to check consumers’ credit standing, (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls a €35.7M fine on a Japanese airline (Japan Airlines and others)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment issued on 30th March 2022, the General Court of the European Union partially annulled the European Commission decision of 17 March 2017 fining Japan Airlines, and a number of other airlines, for having entered into arrangements relating to fuel and security surcharges found to be (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority publishes a preliminary opinion identifying barriers to competition along the value chain of jet fuel in Mexico
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece’s Preliminary Opinion identifies barriers to competition along the value chain of jet fuel in Mexico* Barriers to competition inhibit innovation, investment, access to infrastructure and increase costs, which prevents the entry of new participants in this market. Jet fuel is the main (...)

The UK Competition Authority prioritises digital markets and sustainability as key focus areas in its 2022-2023 annual plan
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
Digital markets and Sustainability are key focus areas of the CMA’s 2022-2023 Annual Plan* On 24 March 2022, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its 2022-2023 Annual Plan, setting out the focus areas for the UK’s principal competition and consumer protection regulator. In (...)

The European Competition Network and the EU Council publish a joint statement in which they promise to be pragmatic in assessing the behaviour adopted by companies in response to the severe difficulties encountered in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
After the various measures taken by countries, international organizations and companies to pressure Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine, it is now the turn of the antitrust enforcers of the European Competition Network (ECN) to make their contribution. They did so by publishing a (...)

The European Competition Network issues a joint statement on the application of competition law in the context of the war in Ukraine
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On March 21 2022, the European Competition Network (ECN), the network of authorities comprising the European Commission, the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the national competition authorities of all EU Member States (NCAs), issued a joint statement on the application of competition law in the (...)

The European Competition Network issues policy statement that permits "necessary and temporary" cooperation to address disruptions caused by the conflict in Ukraine
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
The European Competition Network ("ECN") issued a policy statement indicating that member agencies will not intervene in legitimate, cooperative efforts to address disruptions caused by the conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions. The ECN is a working group of competition authorities in (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority and the European Competition Network issue a joint statement on the application of competition rules in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
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European Commission (Brussels)
Joint statement from the European Competition Network on applying competition law in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine* Today the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), the European Commission, and the EU/EEA national competition authorities issued a joint statement providing clarity (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues detailed requests for information from leading Italian oil companies following increase in price of petrol and diesel
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
DC10398 - ICA: requests for information about fuel prices sent to leading oil companies* With the assistance of the Guardia di Finanza (Italian Financial Police), the Authority notified the documentation at the offices of the companies Following the extraordinary increase in petrol and (...)

The Chinese Supreme Court releases its interpretation on several issues concerning the application of the Anti-unfair competition law
AnJie Law (Beijing)
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AnJie Law (Beijing)
Supreme People’s Court releases interpretation of Anti-Unfair Competition Law* On 17 March 2022, the Supreme People’s Court of China released the Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law. The document, which took effect on 20 March 2022, (...)

The Middle East and North Africa Competition Authorities launch the Arab Competition Network
Allen & Overy (Brussels)
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Allen & Overy (Brussels)
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Allen & Overy (Brussels)
Middle East and North Africa Competition Authorities launch the Arab Competition Network Enhanced cooperation among antitrust regulatory authorities in the MENA region On 16 March 2022, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) competition authorities officially launched the Arab Competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct involving vehicle manufacturers in relation to the recycling of old or written-off vehicles
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA launches investigation into recycling of cars and vans The CMA has launched an investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct in relation to the recycling of old or written-off vehicles The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has reason to suspect anti-competitive behaviour has (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes environmental sustainability advice to the government
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA publishes environmental sustainability advice to government* The CMA has published advice on how competition and consumer laws can help meet the UK’s environmental goals, and has outlined plans for a Sustainability Taskforce. Advice suggests clarifying the law on providing environmental (...)

The US DoJ and Department of Labor release a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen and coordinate enforcement efforts in labor markets
McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
Continuing the recent string of actions across the Biden administration in response to the July 2021 Executive Order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” on March 7, 2022, the US Treasury Department (Treasury) released a report titled “The State of Labor Market Competition,” and on (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority monitors the fuels market and investigates the increase in prices
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council monitors the fuels market and investigates the increase in prices* The Romanian Competition Council monitors the fuel market and investigates situations where prices have raised without any economic justification. The anticipation of a certain price that should be (...)

The US DoJ and Department of Labor strengthen partnership to protect workers through greater coordination and information sharing, cross-agency training and outreach
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Departments of Justice and Labor Strengthen Partnership to Protect Workers* The Agencies Will Enhance Enforcement Efforts Through Greater Coordination and Information Sharing, Cross-Agency Training and Outreach The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Labor Department signed a (...)

The OECD suspends participation of Russia and Belarus in its activities as a sanction for Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
OECD suspends participation of Russia and Belarus in organisation‘s activities* On March 8 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) decided to suspend the participation of Russia and Belarus in all OECD bodies, including the meetings of the OECD Competition Committee (...)

The Canadian Government imposes strict new rules on FDI from Russia in light of the Russo-Ukrainian war
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
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Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
On March 8, 2022, the government of Canada issued a policy statement regarding the review of Russian investments under the Investment Canada Act (ICA): https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ica-lic.nsf/eng/lk81228.html. The policy statement was issued in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority urges retail chains not to use their market power unfairly as suppliers suspend their ties with Russia and Belarus
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
“After” suppliers suspend their ties with Russia and Belarus, Lithuanian konkurencijos taryba urges retail chains not to use their market power unfairly* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has sent a letter to the firms managing five major retail chains urging them to take (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority recommends not to approve the constitutional reform initiative in electricity matters due to the risks of affecting consumers and companies
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Due to the risks of affecting consumers and companies, Cofece recommends not to approve the constitutional reform initiative in electricity matters* The approval of the Initiative would suppress competition in the sector and eliminate the regulation mechanisms that allow its efficient (...)

The Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, and Polish Competition Authority jointly urge the OECD and UNCTAD to exclude Russian Government and individual experts from future events as a sanction for the country’s military aggression against Ukraine
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Joint statements to OECD and UNCTAD by Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Polish Competition Authorities in support of Ukraine* We, the heads of the Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian and Polish Competition Authorities, support the condemnation by our national governments of Russia‘s open large-scale (...)

The US DoJ lists antitrust as a priority enforcement area and reveals plans to commit substantial resources to antitrust enforcement
McDermott Will & Emery (Miami)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Los Angeles)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
In March 3, 2022, speeches at the American Bar Association’s Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime (ABA White Collar Institute), US Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland and US Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division (AAG) Kenneth Polite Jr. addressed the US Department of (...)

The International Competition Network suspends the Russian Competition Authority’s participation in its activities in an effort to condemn the state’s act of aggression against Ukraine
International Competition Network (ICN)
ICN Chair’s Statement – Current events in Ukraine* The International Competition Network (ICN) is a network of 140 competition authorities from 130 jurisdictions. The ICN was founded to facilitate cooperation and convergence between authorities worldwide. Russia’s competition authority, the (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority releases new guidelines for consumers to recognize and report online reviews in violation of the Canadian federal competition Act
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
New Competition Bureau Guidelines for Online Reviews* On March 2, 2022, the Competition Bureau released new guidelinesfor consumers to recognize, reject and report false and misleading online reviews, which can violate the general civil or criminal misleading advertising provisions of the (...)

The EU Commission proposes for public comment its new competitor cooperation guidelines which are tougher on information sharing but provide scope for sustainability agreements
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The European Commission (Commission) is accepting public comment on its proposed revisions to European Union regulations and guidance on common competitor cooperation arrangements, which are due to expire on 31 December 2022. Cooperation agreements among existing or potential competitors (i.e., (...)

The EU Commission publishes revised draft guidance for horizontal agreements
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In March the European Commission (“Commission”) published, for consultation, its draft revised Guidelines on the application of Article 101 TFEU to horizontal cooperation agreements (“draft revised Horizontal Guidelines”). The proposed revisions are important as they update and expand the existing (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court affirms the decision of the national competition authority to fine two companies a total of over €170K for cartel behaviour (Jadrana / Pasvalio melioracija)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Dispute over fines to cartelists settled in court* On March 30 the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) has approved settlement agreements between the Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba and the companies Jadrana and Pasvalio melioracija in which EUR 18,720 and (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its decision to fine manufacturers of Hydrocortisone tablets £260 million for excessive pricing relying on a "Cost+" model (Auden Mckenzie / Actavis)
Stevens & Bolton (London)
The CMA’s full text decision in the long-running Hydrocortisone case, originally initiated in 2016 and in which the CMA imposed record fines, is now published and it shows a slight rethink of the CMA’s approach to excessive pricing in the pharma sector. The definition of excessive pricing as an (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines three construction companies for market sharing and price-fixing (Ponty-Poronty / Operon / Építő Szolgáltató)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH imposed fines for involvement in a public procurement cartel * 31 March 2022, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) fined three construction companies HUF 42.8 million for market sharing and price fixing. The undertakings tried to acquire a public investment in Baja (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal rules on first ever carriage dispute in UK FX Cartel Class action (Evans / O’Higgins)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 31 March 2022, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (’CAT’) refused to certify two claims advanced against a number of UK banks for their participation in a foreign exchange spot rate manipulation cartel as opt-out collective proceedings. The novel issue before the CAT at the certification hearing (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority issues cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders against participants in biddings for pharmaceutical procurement ordered by Japan Community Health Care Organization (Alfresa / Toho / Suzuken)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC issued cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders against participants in biddings for pharmaceutical procurement ordered by Japan Community Health Care Organization* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “JFTC”) today issued cease and desist orders (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the appeals of airlines fined for forming a cartel and upholds the €790M fine (Martinair Holland / Scandinavian Airlines / KLM / Air Canada)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Cartel on the airfreight market: the General Court rules on actions brought by multiple airlines* On 9 November 2010, the European Commission adopted a decision [1] against multiple undertakings operating on the airfreight market (‘the carriers’) which had participated in a pricing cartel (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sanctions four supermarket chains for retail price fixing practices (Auchan / Lidl / Modelo / Continente / Pingo Doce)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions Auchan, Lidl, Modelo Continente, Pingo Doce, a supplier of soft drinks and two managers for colluding on prices to the detriment of consumers* The decision The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) has sanctioned four supermarket chains – Auchan, Lidl, Modelo Continente and (...)

The German Competition Authority has no serious competition law concerns against an industry agreement to improve animal welfare in milk production (QM-Milch)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Increasing animal welfare in milk production – Bundeskartellamt tolerates the introduction of the QM+ programme* The Bundeskartellamt has no serious competition law concerns against the “industry agreement milk” (Branchenvereinbarung Milch) presented by QM-Milch e.V. to improve animal welfare in (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates possible anti-competitive practices in the food supply market to communities dependent on public bodies
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC investigates possible anti-competitive practices in the food supply market to communities dependent on public bodies* Such practices involve agreements for the tempering and allocation of tenders called in Spain. On 22 and 23 March, the CNMC carried out on-site inspections at the (...)

The Australian Federal High Court fines an ice cream production company $12M for exclusive dealing (Peters)
Ashurst (Sydney)
The Federal Court has ordered Australasian Food Group, trading as Peters (’Peters’), to pay a $12 million penalty after the ACCC alleged, and Peters admitted, that its exclusive distribution agreement with PFD Food Services (’PFD’) had the likely effect of substantially lessening competition. Key (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority fines two companies and five individuals for anticompetitive conduct in the resin market (Royal Química / Cempre Apoio Educacional)
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
Cartel in the resin market is fined 46.8 million reais* The authority convicted two companies and five individuals for the anticompetitive conduct On 23 March 2022, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) convicted the firms Royal Química and Cempre Apoio Educacional, in (...)

The Australian Competition Authority refuses to give an authorisation for the provisions of a settlement and licence agreement between pharmaceutical companies (Celgene / Juno / Natco)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC not satisfied of claimed benefits from proposed settlement between pharmaceutical companies* The ACCC proposes to deny authorisation for the provisions of a settlement and licence agreement between Celgene and generic drug companies, Juno and Natco. The companies are seeking authorisation (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority fines maritime vehicle shipping providers for participation in a cartel (Hoegh Autoliners)
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE fines maritime vehicle shipping providers for participation in cartel* The firm Hoegh Autoliners Holdings AS and an individual were fined BRL 26.4 million On 23 March, the Tribunal of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) found the company Hoegh Autoliners Holdings AS (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceeding against medical aids associations for coordinated price increases to the detriment of health insurance companies (ARGE)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt initiates proceeding against medical aids associations for coordinated price increases to the detriment of health insurance companies * Several associations of suppliers of medical aids joined forces to demand coordinated price increases in the rehabilitation and care (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens public consultation on the cost of access to railway stations, freight terminals and workshops
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC opens a public consultation on the cost of access to railway stations, freight terminals and workshops.* Access to these facilities, which belong to Adif, Renfe and other companies, is essential to allow freight and passenger transport companies to operate. The document will clarify (...)

The European Competition Network considers that companies may need to cooperate to mitigate the effects of the Russo-Ukrainian war and the EU Commission adopts a temporary crisis framework permitting more State aid
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Russian invasion of Ukraine prompts ECN guidance on application of EU competition rules and European Commission’s adoption of State aid crisis framework The Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has prompted European competition enforcers to reassess the application of the EU (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee indicts 2 individuals and 4 companies for price-fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray discs sold on an e-commerce platform (Victor Btesh / Bruce Fish / BDF / Michelle’s DVD Funhouse)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Two Individuals and Four Companies Indicted for Price Fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs Sold on the Amazon Marketplace* A federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, returned an indictment charging two individuals and four companies with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of DVDs and (...)

The German Competition Authority declares that it has no objections to the further development of a payment system envisaged by a banking industry committee after initial plans for an exclusivity agreement were given up (Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt has no objections to the further development of the giropay online payment system after initial plans for an exclusivity agreement were given up* The Bundeskartellamt has no objections to the further development of the giropay payment system envisaged by Deutsche (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves a report that analyses the conditions proposed by a professional football association to market broadcasting rights (La Liga)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC analyses the proposals of La Liga to market the broadcasting rights of the 1st and 2nd divisions in Malta, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands* The CNMC’s recommendation is to guarantee a competitive, transparent, and non-discriminatory tendering process Some of the conditions proposed (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €24M on 3 steel companies for disclosing information about prices, exchanging information about third party prices and sharing data on the technical shutdowns of their facilities (Balboa / Sidenor / ArcelorMittal)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC fines three steel companies 24 million euros for two very serious infringements in the scrap purchase market in Spain* The companies disclosed information to one another regarding the prices they would offer to iron scrap suppliers. In addition, they shared data on the technical (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates Big Tech companies over advertising tech concerns (Google / Meta)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA investigates Google and Meta over ad tech concerns* The CMA is taking a closer look at Google and Meta’s conduct over concerns that they hampered competition in markets for online display advertising services. CMA and European Commission launch parallel probes into Google and Meta’s “Jedi (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Big Tech companies in online display advertising (Google / Meta)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google and Meta, in online display advertising* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates several companies for the possible rigging of public tenders related to security and surveillance services
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC investigates several companies for the possible rigging of public tenders related to security and surveillance services* The possible agreements involving the rigging and allocation of tenders might have affected several public authorities. From March 1 to March 4, the CNMC carried out (...)

The US District Court for the District of Minnesota indicts a concrete company and its CEO for rigging bids for public contracts (Kamida)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Minnesota Concrete Company and its CEO Indicted for Rigging Bids for Public Contracts* Second charge filed for long-running conspiracy that targeted local governments and public schools in Minnesota A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Kamida Inc., a Minnesota-based concrete (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority imposes an administrative fine on four electrical engineering associations for restriction of competition in engineering public procurement contracts (OSEHK / SEE / SEHK / SEMEEK / ACEEME)
Hellenic Competition Commission (Athens)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition imposed an administrative fine on OSEHK, SEE, SEHK, SEMEEK and ACEEME for infringements of section 3(1)(b) of the Protection of Competition Laws and of the corresponding article 101 (1)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.* (...)

The UK Competition Authority unlocks electric vehicle charging competition for motorway drivers (Gridserve / Electric Highway)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA unlocks electric vehicle charging competition for motorway drivers* The CMA has secured commitments from Gridserve which will unlock competition and increase choice of electric vehicle chargepoints on motorways for drivers. Following the launch of its investigation in July 2021, the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes an open letter to electric chargepoint operators and motorway service area operators following its investigation into suspected breaches of competition law about long-term exclusive arrangements
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA open letter to motorway service area operators and electric vehicle chargepoint operators* The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an open letter to electric vehicle chargepoint operators and motorway service area operators following its investigation into suspected (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several companies for anticompetitive agreements in the waste collection and management sector (Ortec / Excoffier / Trigénium / TREDI)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité fines several companies for anticompetitive agreements in the waste collection and management sector in Haute-Savoie* Background Following dawn raids and an investigation report sent by the Brigade interrégionale d’enquêtes de concurrence d’Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, the Autorité handed out (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan accepts a guilty plea by a German national for leading a parking heaters price-fixing conspiracy (Espar / Hohensee)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Fugitive Executive Pleads Guilty in Parking Heaters Price-Fixing Conspiracy* A German national pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Michigan to leading a price-fixing conspiracy from 2007 to 2012 and was sentenced to time served. Volker Hohensee, a German national and onetime Canadian (...)

The US Attorney General Merrick Garland and DoJ Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. address the DoJ’s increased commitment to investigating and prosecuting corporate crime
McDermott Will & Emery (Los Angeles)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Boston)
In March 3, 2022, speeches at the American Bar Association’s Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime (ABA White Collar Institute), US Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland and US Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division (AAG) Kenneth Polite Jr. addressed the US Department of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority finds that the exchange of information between pharmaceutical wholesalers may have restricted competition in the market and resulted in higher prices for consumers in pharmacies
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Data exchange between pharmaceutical wholesalers - charges presented by the President of UOKiK* The exchange of information between pharmaceutical wholesalers may have restricted competition in the market and resulted in higher prices for consumers in pharmacies. Through specialised IT tools, (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on draft revised rules on horizontal cooperation agreements between companies
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission invites comments on draft revised rules on horizontal cooperation agreements between companies* The European Commission has launched today a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on two draft revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations on (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines three regional providers of public sector uniforms €36,000 for bid rigging (Galleria / Gim / Orsi)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
The Italian Competition Authority finds a bid rigging practice in the market for professional clothing* The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently closed its antitrust enquiry opened in the Professional Work Wear case issuing an infringement decision. It found three suppliers of (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on its draft revised rules on horizontal cooperation agreements
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 1 March 2022 the EU Commission published, for consultation, its draft revised rules on horizontal cooperation agreements. The rules consist of two horizontal block exemption Regulations (covering Research & Development agreements and Specialisation agreements) and Guidelines on the (...)

The EU Commission consults on draft guidance on sustainability agreements
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 1 March 2022, the European Commission ("Commission") published its draft revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and Horizontal Guidelines, which include a new chapter on the assessment of sustainability agreements under competition law. The consultation is open until 26 April 2022. (...)

The EU Commission publishes for consultation two draft revised horizontal block exemption regulations on research & development and specialisation agreements, as well as draft revised horizontal cooperation guidelines
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 1 March 2022, the European Commission ("EC") published for consultation two draft revised horizontal block exemption regulations ("HBERs") on research & development ("R&D") and specialisation agreements, as well as draft revised horizontal cooperation guidelines ("Horizontal (...)

Dutch Competition Authority investigates possible cartel in the food processing sector New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM investigates possible cartel in the food processing sector* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is carrying out an investigation into a possible cartel in the food processing sector. As part of that investigation, ACM recently conducted dawn raids at several companies (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority fines ferry operator for excessive pricing (Caronte & Tourist)
Link Campus University (Rome)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
The Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) fined ferry operator Caronte & Tourist (“C&T”) €3.7 million for having charged excessive prices on a ferry transportation route between Sicily and Calabria between 2017 and 2019 (the “Decision”). I. The investigation In July 2020, the ICA opened (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority terminates an investigation into suspected abuse of dominance in the waste management sector (Toksika)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Following amendment of service contract with customers by Toksika, Konkurencijos Taryba terminates investigation into suspected abuse of dominance* The Lithuanian competition authority has terminated an investigation into a suspected abuse of dominance by a hazardous waste management company (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority assesses the adjusted proposal of a Big Tech company regarding its conditions for dating apps (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM to assess adjusted proposal of Apple regarding its conditions for dating apps* On Sunday, March 27, Apple adjusted its proposal concerning compliance with the requirements set by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) under Dutch and European competition rules. ACM (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a lighting supplier £1.5 million for breaking competition law by restricting the level of discounts retailers could offer online (Dar Lighting)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Dar Lighting fined after ignoring warnings on restricting discounts* The CMA has fined Dar Lighting Ltd £1.5 million for breaking competition law by restricting the level of discounts retailers could offer online. The lighting supplier failed to take sufficient action after 2 written warnings (...)

The Australian Competition Authority takes action against alleged misleading conduct by a Big Tech company for publishing crypto ads on social media (Meta)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC takes action over alleged misleading conduct by Meta for publishing scam celebrity crypto ads on Facebook* The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Facebook owner Meta Platforms, Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (together: Meta) alleging that they engaged in (...)

The Australian Competition Authority accepts a court-enforceable undertaking from a company after raising competition concerns relating to speedway racing in Victoria (Speedway Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Speedway Australia undertakes to address competition concerns involving sprintcar tracks* The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from N.A.S.R. Incorporated, trading as Speedway Australia, after the ACCC raised competition concerns relating to speedway racing in Victoria. The (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rules that a Big Tech firm did not abruptly terminate a contract with an advertising partner because the termination was objectively justified and a legitimate exercise of commercial freedom (Ulysse / Google)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
On March 11, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeals overturned in its entirety a May 31, 2019 judgment of the Paris Commercial Court, which had ordered Google to compensate an advertiser, Ulysse Service (’Ulysse’), for the abrupt termination of established commercial relationships. In this case, the (...)

The German Competition Authority finds the 2023 fuel supply and distribution licenses award model of a concession company compatible with competition law (Tank & Rast)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Fuel sales at motorway petrol stations - Tank & Rast’s new award model does not violate competition law* The Bundeskartellamt has no serious competition concerns about plans by Tank & Rast GmbH, Bonn for the award of fuel supply and distribution licences for motorway petrol stations for (...)

The US DoJ declares that it is prepared to bring criminal charges against individuals who violate the prohibition on market monopolization
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
In remarks made during a panel discussion at the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime on 2 March, Antitrust Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers said that the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (the Division) is prepared to bring criminal charges against (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission partially refers an acquisition in the pharmaceutical sector to the French Competition authority and unconditionally clears the proposed merger outside France (McKesson / Phoenix)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission partially refers acquisition of a part of McKesson by Phoenix to France’s competition authority and clears proposed merger outside France* The European Commission has partially referred the proposed acquisition of a part of McKesson by Phoenix to the French competition (...)

The German Competition Authority clears merger between two regional hospitals (Sankt Elisabeth Hospital / Katholische Hospitalvereinigung Ostwestfalen)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears merger between Catholic hospitals in Bielefeld and Gütersloh* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of Sankt Elisabeth Hospital GmbH in Gütersloh by Katholische Hospitalvereinigung Ostwestfalen GmbH based in the neighbouring city of Bielefeld. Both hospital (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority clears a merger between two distributors of medical equipment and consumables to hospitals and medical professionals (EBOS Medical Devices / LifeHealthcare)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
EBOS cleared to acquire the New Zealand LifeHealthcare business* The Commerce Commission has granted clearance to EBOS Medical Devices Australia Pty Limited (EBOS) in relation to its proposed acquisition of the New Zealand LifeHealthcare business. Both EBOS and LifeHealthcare are (...)

The EU Commission refers to the French Competition Authority the examination of the effects of an acquisition of control in the pharmaceutical distribution sector (McKesson / Phoenix)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission refers to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of the effects in France of the acquisition of control of McKesson Europe by the Phoenix Group* The European Commission refers to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of the effects in France of the (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks the proposed merger between two industrials after its in-depth investigation identified substantial competition concerns (Cargotec / Konecranes)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks planned Cargotec / Konecranes merger* The CMA has blocked the proposed merger between Cargotec and Konecranes after its in-depth investigation identified substantial competition concerns. Cargotec and Konecranes both offer a range of container handling equipment and services to (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks the merger of two Finnish suppliers of equipment to port operators and rejects the remedies offered by the parties (Cargotec / Konecranes)
Morrison & Foerster (Washington)
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Morrison & Foerster (London)
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Morrison & Foerster (Brussels)
Cargotec/Konecranes: Failed shipping equipment merger illustrates aggressive UK/U.S. enforcement and increased skepticism of remedies* On March 29, 2022, global container handling equipment providers [Cargotec and Konecranes] abandoned their proposed $5 billion merger after the United Kingdom (...)

The US DoJ announces withdrawal of shipping equipment giants merger after it refused their settlement proposal and threatened to sue them (Cargotec / Konecranes)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Shipping Equipment Giants Cargotec and Konecranes Abandon Merger After Justice Department Threatens to Sue* Deal Would Have Eliminated Competition for Shipping Container Handling Equipment and Harmed the Global Supply Chain Cargotec Corporation (Cargotec) confirmed today that it has abandoned (...)

The German Competition Authority approves merger between an agricultural retail trading company and an agricultural wholesale company (BAT Agrar / Rudolf Peters Landhandel)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proposed merger in the agricultural trade: Bundeskartellamt clears BAT’s acquisition of joint control of Rudolf Peters* Bonn, 28 March 2022: In the agricultural trading sector, the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the increase in the number of shares held by BAT Agrar GmbH in Rudolf Peters (...)

The German Competition Authority unconditionally clears an agricultural wholesaler’s acquisition of joint control of a private agricultural trading company (BAT / Rudolf Peters)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proposed merger in the agricultural trade: Bundeskartellamt clears BAT’s acquisition of joint control of Rudolf Peters* In the agricultural trading sector, the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the increase in the number of shares held by BAT Agrar GmbH in Rudolf Peters Landhandel GmbH & Co. KG (...)

The US FTC requires the divestiture of an energy producer’s entire business and assets in Utah prior to its acquisition by a private equity fund (EnCap / EP Energy)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Requires ENCAP to Sell Off EP Energy Corp.’s Entire Utah Oil Business amid Concerns that Deal would Increase Pain at the Pump* Agency Seeks to Prevent Private Equity Fund from Eliminating Significant Competitor in Utah Waxy Crude Oil The Federal Trade Commission will require the (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority announces annual increase of filing fees for merger reviews
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
2022 Adjustment to filing fees for Competition Bureau merger reviews will come into effect on April 1* The Competition Bureau announced today that the filing fee for merger reviews is set to increase from $74,905.57 to $77,452.36 pursuant to a required annual adjustment set out in the Service (...)

The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio rules that completed mergers cannot be considered as part of an abuse of dominance strategy (TicketOne)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
A Completed Merger Cannot Be Considered as Part of an Abusive Strategy in the Framework of a Later Article 102 Decision* The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, Italy (the “TAR Lazio”), annulled a decision by which in 2020 the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) had imposed a fine on CTS (...)

The Australian Competition Authority unconditionally clears the merger of a distributor of medical devices and a distributor of medical products (Pacific Health Group / EBOS)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
EBOS’ proposed acquisition of Pacific Health Group not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Australian Pacific Health Supplies TopCo1 Pty Limited and its subsidiaries (Pacific Health Group) by EBOS Group Limited (ASX: EBO), through its subsidiary EBOS Medical Devices (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that an acquisition of the largest independent operator of petrol stations by a major retail chain could lead to higher fuel prices in 121 locations across the country (CD&R / Morrisons)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Morrisons purchase raises competition concerns over fuel * CMA finds CD&R’s acquisition of Morrisons could lead to higher fuel prices in 121 locations across the country where both firms own forecourts. In January, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened its investigation into (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upholds a district court decision granting a preliminary injunction against an acquisition in the health sector (Hackensack Meridian / Englewood Healthcare)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On March 22, 2022, the Third Circuit upheld a district court decision granting a preliminary injunction against Hackensack Meridian Health’s plan to acquire Englewood Healthcare, pending the outcome of an administrative trial by the Federal Trade Commission. The decision aligns with the FTC’s (...)

The US FTC publishes a statement of Competition Deputy Director John M. Newman on the Federal Appeals Court ruling affirming a preliminary injunction to halt the merger of New Jersey hospital networks (Hackensack Meridian / Englewood Healthcare)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Statement of Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John M. Newman on Federal Appeals Court Ruling Affirming Preliminary Injunction to Halt Merger of New Jersey Hospital Networks* Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John M. Newman issued this (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears the merger between a retail store and a clearance store chain (Stokomani / Zouari)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears the takeover of Stokomani group by the Zouari family* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover by the Zouari family of the Stokomani group (bazaar and decoration products). On 23 February 2022, the Zouari family notified the Autorité of its plan to take exclusive (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between a US chip manufacturer and a software division of a Swedish automotive supplier (Qualcomm / Veoneer)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Chips and perception software in driver assistance systems: Qualcomm can take over Veoneer’s Arriver business* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared plans by the US chip manufacturer Qualcomm Incorporated to take over the software division of the Swedish automotive supplier Veoneer Inc. In (...)

The French Competition Authority begins an in-depth investigation into the merger of two media companies (TF1 / M6)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
TF1/M6: the Autorité de la concurrence opens an in-depth examination* Following a pre-notification phase, the Bouygues group notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its planned acquisition of the Métropole Télévision group on 17 February 2022. The Bouygues group The Bouygues group (“Bouygues”) (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an in-depth phase investigation into the merger of 2 auction service providers for heavy construction machinery (Ritchie Bros / Euro Auctions)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Ritchie Bros and Euro Auctions deal referred for an in-depth investigation* The CMA has referred Ritchie Bros’ planned purchase of Euro Auctions for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, after finding competition concerns. Ritchie Bros and Euro Auctions are both auction service providers for (...)

The Australian Competition Authority decides that it will not pursue an enforcement action in relation to the merger between a logistics company and a cargo port operator (Qube Logistics / Newcastle Agri Terminal)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC to monitor effect of Qube’s acquisition of Newcastle Agri Terminal* The ACCC has decided it will not pursue enforcement action in relation to Qube’s (ASX:QUB) completed acquisition of Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT) at this time. However, the ACCC remains concerned with potential impacts on (...)

The US DoJ sues to block the acquisition that would combine the 2 largest producers of pebbled FRP wall panels (Verzatec / Crane)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block Verzatec’s Proposed Acquisition of Crane* Acquisition Would Combine the Two Largest Producers of Pebbled FRP Wall Panels, Allowing Verzatec to Eliminate its Rival, Monopolize the Market and Harm American Businesses The Department of Justice filed a civil (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally confirms in Phase II investigation that a merger between two helicopter services companies raises competition concerns (CHC / Babcock)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Helicopter services deal raises competition concerns* The CMA has provisionally found that CHC’s purchase of Babcock’s oil and gas offshore helicopter transportation services business raises competition concerns. Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation of this completed acquisition, the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines the Dutch trade association for pharmacies for failure of notification on the acquisition of four pharmacies New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM fines Dutch trade association for pharmacies for failing to notify ACM of acquisition of four pharmacies* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine of 350,000 euros on VNA, the Dutch trade association for pharmacies, for failing to notify ACM on time of (...)

The UK Competition Authority unconditionally clears a Phase II merger between a major record label and an "artist and label" services provider (AWAL / Sony)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA clears Sony’s acquisition of AWAL* The CMA has cleared Sony’s acquisition of AWAL, an ‘artist and label’ (A&L) services provider, following an in-depth merger inquiry. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) referred the merger to an in-depth Phase 2 inquiry in September 2021, after (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds acquisition deal between two major cyber safety companies could reduce competition in cyber safety software options (Avast / NortonLifeLock)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds NortonLifeLock purchase of Avast could reduce competition* The CMA has found that NortonLifeLock’s approximately £6bn purchase of Avast raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation. NortonLifeLock and Avast both offer cyber safety software to (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves the merger between a major US online retail platform with audiovisual content and Hollywood film production company (Amazon / MGM)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of MGM by Amazon* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of MGM Holdings Inc. (‘MGM’) by Amazon.com Inc (‘Amazon’). The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no (...)

The US DoJ and FTC extend the deadline for public comment on ways to strengthen enforcement against illegal mergers
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and FTC Extend Deadline for Public Comment on Ways to Strengthen Enforcement Against Illegal Mergers* Today, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are extending by one month the deadline to submit comments as part of the enforcement agencies’ process to (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority publishes Statement of Issues on merger between two tourism companies (THL / Apollo)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Statement of Issues released for proposed THL/Apollo merger The Commerce Commission has published a statement of issues relating to an application from THL Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Tourism Holdings Limited, seeking clearance to acquire 100% of the shares in Apollo Tourism (...)

The US DoJ and FTC announce a joint spring enforcers summit to discuss modernizing merger guidelines and interagency collaboration
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to Hold Joint Spring Enforcers Summit* The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will cohost a Spring Enforcers Summit on April 4. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter and FTC Chair Lina M. Khan, as (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority receives merger clearance notification for the merger between two cold storage service companies (Lineage Logistics / Cold Storage Nelson)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Lineage Logistics seeks clearance to acquire Cold Storage Nelson* The Commerce Commission has received a clearance application from Lineage Logistics New Zealand (Lineage) in relation to its proposed acquisition of Cold Storage Nelson Limited (CSN). Lineage and CSN both supply cold storage (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases a statement of unresolved issues on a proposed acquisition of an animal health research company by the world’s biggest animal drug manufacturer (Zoetis / Jurox)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Statement of Unresolved Issues released for proposed acquisition of Jurox by Zoetis* The Commerce Commission has published a Statement of Unresolved Issues relating to the application from Zoetis Inc. seeking clearance to acquire Betrola Pty Limited. Betrola owns the Jurox group of companies. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines renewable energy firm for gun-jumping (Adani Green / SB Energy)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Adani Greens Energy Limited (“Adani Green/Acquirer”) was served with a show cause notice (“SCN”) on 14 August 2021 in relation to its acquisition of S.B. Energy Holding Limited (“S.B. Energy/Target”) (“Combination”). The notice for the Combination was filed on 18 May 2021, pursuant to the execution of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines a renewable energy firm a nominal sum for gun jumping in a first of its kind decision (Adani Green / SB Energy)
Khaitan (Mumbai)
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Khaitan (Mumbai)
In its order dated 9 March 2022, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) penalized Adani Green Energy Limited (“Adani Green”) for gun jumping in connection with its acquisition of S.B. Energy Holding Limited (“SB Energy” / “Target”). Per the CCI, the central issue was of Adani Green gaining access (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves the takeover of active assets of a steel production company by an alloy production company (COS Targoviste / AFV Acciaierie)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition council approved the taking over of active assets of COS Târgoviște by AFV ACCIAIERIE BELTRAME SPA, Italia* The Competition Council approved the transaction by which AFV Acciaierie Beltrame SpA, Italy, takes over the functional assets related to the production of steel and long (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two international pharmaceutical companies working with human blood plasma (Biotest / Grifols)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Vital medication based on blood plasma: Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Biotest by Grifols* The Bundeskartellamt has permitted the international pharmaceutical company Grifols AS based in Spain to acquire Biotest AG based in Dreieich (Hesse). Biotest is a globally active pharmaceutical (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority amends the Communiqué on mergers by updating the turnover thresholds and changing the notification form and procedure
White & Case (Istanbul)
Turkish Competition Authority (the "TCA") has amended the Communiqué No. 2010/4 on Mergers and Acquisitions Subject to the Approval of the Competition Board (the "Merger Communiqué") through the Communiqué No. 2022/2 (the "Amendment") on March 4, 2022. In addition to updating the turnover (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority gears up to raise the jurisdictional turnover thresholds and to introduce specific rules to catch killer acquisitions
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Communiqué No. 2022/2 on the Amendment of Communiqué No. 2010/4 (“ Communiqué No. 2010/4 ”) on the Mergers and Acquisitions Subject to the Approval of the Competition Board (“ Amendment Communiqué ”) has been published on the Official Gazette on March 4, 2022 and will enter into force on May 4, 2022. (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes a Communiqué which amends the turnover thresholds required for merger notification
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
On 04.03.2022, important amendments/additions have been introduced to the Communiqué Concerning the Mergers and Acquisitions Calling for the Authorization of the Competition Board (“Communiqué No. 2010/4”). With this article, it is aimed to summarize these latest amendments in the Communiqué No. (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorizes a merger between two companies specialized in travel management services as it is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition (Helloworld / CTM)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
CTM’s proposed acquisition of Helloworld Corporate not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Helloworld Travel Limited’s (ASX: HLO) corporate travel management division (Helloworld Corporate) by Corporate Travel Management Limited, known as CTM (ASX: CTD). CTM and (...)

The US FTC approves a final order imposing divestitures and protecting retail fuel customers following an acquisition of 27 retail gasoline and diesel outlets (Global Partners / Richard Wiehl)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Global Partners LP’s acquisition of 27 retail gasoline and diesel outlets owned or operated by Richard Wiehl violates federal antitrust laws. Under the terms of the final settlement, (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears a merger, following an in-depth investigation, between an independent supplier of telecommunications infrastructure and a multinational conglomerate’s passive UK telecoms infrastructure (Cellnex / CK Hutchison)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Tower site sale to address concerns in telecoms merger* Cellnex must sell over 1,000 telecoms tower sites to address competition concerns over its purchase of CK Hutchison’s UK towers. The decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes after an in-depth Phase 2 investigation (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the acquisition of 58 stores by a hypermarket chain subject to a management buyout (Real / Dr Tischendorf)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition and further operation of 58 “Real” stores – purchasing agreement to be reviewed separately* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared under merger control the acquisition of 58 more “Real” stores by real Beteiligungs- und Service GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, from SCP (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority receives merger clearance notification for merger between two water filtration companies (Zenith Water / Waterlogic)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Clearance sought for Zenith Water / Waterlogic merger* The Commerce Commission has received a clearance application from Osmosis Buyer Limited (Osmosis) to acquire Firewall Holdings S.À R.L (Firewall) as part of a global transaction. Osmosis’ New Zealand subsidiary, Zenith Heaters Limited (...)

The US FTC publishes a statement regarding the termination of an attempted merger of two healthcare providers (Lifespan / Care New England)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Statement Regarding Termination of Attempted Merger of Rhode Island’s Two Largest Healthcare Providers* In response to the announcement that Lifespan Corp. (“Lifespan”) and Care New England Health System (“Care New England”) have terminated their proposed merger, FTC Bureau of Competition Director (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority unconditionally clears a pharmaceutical merger despite significant horizontal overlaps because in the given market potential supply problems are external to the market competitors (Grifols / Biotest)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
Grifols, SA acquires exclusive control of Biotest AG.* On 2 March 2022, the CNMC authorised Grifols, S.A. to acquire indirect exclusive control of Biotest AG in phase one. Grifols is a Spanish company involved in the research, development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of (...)

State Aid

The UK Government publishes consultation on how to define “subsidies of interest” and “subsidies of particular interest” under the new national subsidy control regime
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 25 March 2022, the UK Government published a consultation on how “subsidies of interest” and “subsidies of particular interest” are to be defined under the UK’s new subsidy control regime. These concepts are fundamental, as they determine which subsidies are to be referred to the UK’s Competition (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that state resources transferred from one public authority to another for the management of public services are not State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU (Hermann Albers)
Maastricht University
Intra-State Transfers and the Discretion of Public Authorities* Resources transferred from one public authority to another for the purpose of being used to subsidise undertakings do not fall within the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU if the recipient authority has discretion in their (...)

The EU Commission adopts State aid framework following similar COVID-19 framework providing loan guarantees, tax-breaks and other measures for energy-intensive industry
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
On March 23, 2022, the Commission adopted a Communication setting out a temporary framework for the implementation of State aid rules to support the economy following the conflict in Ukraine (the “Temporary Crisis Framework”), shortly after consulting with the Member States. The Temporary Crisis (...)

The EU Commission adopts a State aid Crisis Framework to support the economy in relation to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict
Ashurst (Brussels)
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University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Ashurst (London)
Introduction The aggression against Ukraine by Russia, the sanctions imposed by the EU and its international partners and the retaliatory counter-measures have created significant economic uncertainties, and disrupted trade flows and supply chains in many sectors. They have also led to (...)

The EU Commission adopts Temporary Crisis Framework for State aid measures to support the EU economy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
To mitigate the negative economic and social consequences of Russian military aggression against Ukraine and to lessen the effect of the restrictive economic measures taken in response to the crisis, as well as retaliatory counter measures, the European Commission adopted the Temporary Crisis (...)

The EU Commission adopts "Temporary Crisis Framework" for State aid measures to support the EU economy in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Ashurst (Brussels)
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University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Ashurst (London)
introduction The aggression against Ukraine by Russia, the sanctions imposed by the EU and its international partners and the retaliatory counter-measures have created significant economic uncertainties, and disrupted trade flows and supply chains in many sectors. They have also led to (...)

The EU Commission adopts a temporary crisis framework for state aid measures to support the economy following the aggression against Ukraine by Russia
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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DalDeWolf (Brussels)
On 23 March 2022, the European Commission (the “Commission”) adopted a Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy following the aggression against Ukraine by Russia (the “Framework”). In a similar fashion to the temporary framework that the Commission has adopted to (...)

The EU Commission adopts Temporary Crisis Framework to enable Member States to provide more State aid to mitigate the effects of the Russo-Ukranian war
King’s College (London)
Entrenching Emergency Soft Law* On the 23rd of March 2022 the European Commission adopted another Temporary Crisis Framework for State aid, this time in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (the Ukraine TF). The framework is meant to mitigate the economic impact of the war and EU (...)

The EU Commission adopts a Temporary Crisis Framework to permit increased State aid in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission adopts Temporary Crisis Framework to support the economy in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* Today, the European Commission has adopted a Temporary Crisis Framework to enable Member States to use the flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Ireland
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Ireland* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Ireland’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 €209M of Hungarian aid for construction of a global information and communications technology company’s electric vehicle battery plant (SK On Hungary)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €209 million Hungarian aid for construction of SK On Hungary’s electric vehicle battery plant* The European Commission has found that Hungary’s €209 million measure in favour of SK On Hungary is in line with EU State aid rules. The investment aid will support the (...)

The EU Commission approves a €120M Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support sustainable rail freight transport
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €120 million Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support sustainable rail freight transport* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €120 million Spanish scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience (...)

The EU Commission approves €2 billion Austrian scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support roll out of broadband networks
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2 billion Austrian scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support roll out of broadband networks* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €2 billion Austrian aid scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (...)

The EU Commission approves a budget of €95 million in Polish aid for the expansion of a company’s electric vehicles battery plant (LG Chem)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €95 million Polish aid for expansion of LG Chem’s electric vehicles battery plant* The European Commission has found that Poland’s €95 million measure in favour of LG Chem Group (‘LG Chem’) is in line with EU State aid rules. The investment aid will support the (...)

The EU Commission decides that a Member State’s gas storage policy does not constitute illegal State aid just before announcing Temporary Crisis Framework which includes gas storage
Maastricht University
Introduction On 23 March 2022, the European Commission announced plans to mitigate the spike in energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine. Chief among those plans were proposals for joint gas purchases and gas storage. Increase in storage capacity has been a strategy followed by several (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Spain
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Spain* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Spain’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 €2.9 billion Spanish scheme to partially compensate energy-intensive companies for higher electricity prices resulting from indirect emission costs
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.9 billion Spanish scheme to compensate energy-intensive companies for indirect emission costs* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Spanish scheme to partially compensate energy-intensive companies for higher electricity prices (...)

The EU Commission approves €1.4 billion Czech scheme to partially compensate energy-intensive companies for higher electricity prices as a result of indirect emission costs
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Czech scheme to compensate energy-intensive companies for indirect emission costs* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Czech scheme to partially compensate energy-intensive companies for higher electricity prices (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into Greek support measures in favour of national postal operator (ELTA)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Greek support measures in favour of postal operator Hellenic Post (ELTA)* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether certain Greek support measures in favour of ELTA are in line with EU State aid (...)

The EU Commission sends a draft proposal to the Member States with the aim of establishing a State aid temporary crisis framework to support the EU economy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
The European Commission consults Member States on its draft proposal On March 10, 2022 the European Commission (Commission) sent a draft proposal to EU Member States with the aim of establishing a State aid Temporary Crisis Framework to support the EU economy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Luxembourg
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Luxembourg* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Luxembourg’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 (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Malta
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Malta* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Malta’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 billion Hungarian scheme aimed at providing investment support for sustainable recovery
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2 billion Hungarian investment support scheme towards a sustainable recovery* The European Commission has approved a €2 billion Hungarian scheme aimed at providing investment support towards a sustainable recovery. The scheme was approved under the State aid (...)

The EU Commission finds that the benefits earned from State aid by an Italian company are valid and compatible with the internal market (Toremar)
Maastricht University
Another Altmark Compliant Case!* Introduction It is very rare for measures of compensation for public service obligations to be found by the European Commission to be compliant with the Altmark conditions. Nonetheless, in the past two years the Commission has concluded that two Italian (...)

The EU Commission approves €687M Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for the damage suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €687 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €687 million Italian support to compensate providers of (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to a Norwegian support scheme for canceled and downscaled cultural events due to the COVID-19 outbreak Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves amendments to Norwegian support scheme for cancelled and downscaled cultural events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved amendments to a scheme offering financial support to organisers and subcontractors of cultural events that have been (...)

Procedures

The Australian Federal Court orders an ice-cream manufacturer and distributor to pay a $12M penalty for its anti-competitive conduct in relation to the distribution of ice creams sold in petrol stations and convenience stores (Peters Ice Cream)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Peters Ice Cream to pay $12 million penalty for anti-competitive exclusive dealing* The Federal Court has ordered that Australasian Food Group, trading as Peters Ice Cream, pay a $12 million penalty for anti-competitive conduct in relation to the distribution of ice creams sold in petrol (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the protection provided by the non bis in idem principle in two judgments (Bpost) (Nordzucker)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 22 March 2022, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") delivered two judgments clarifying the scope of protection of the non bis in idem (double jeopardy) principle which provides that a (natural or legal) person may only be sanctioned once for a single unlawful course of conduct where the (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority releases for public comment its new draft Information Bulletin on Transparency which explains the Authority’s communication during antitrust investigations
Law Society of Ontario (Ottawa)
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau, which assists the Commissioner of Competition (‘the Commissioner’) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (‘the Act’), released its draft Information Bulletin on Transparency (‘the draft Bulletin’) on 8 March 2022, requesting public (...)

Regulatory

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes its report on the draft bill modifying the penalty regime of the rail sector law
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
CNMC considers that the fines envisaged in the future Railway Sector Law for companies in breach of the law are insufficient* The CNMC will be able to fine companies that fail to comply with its rulings up to a maximum of 300,000 euros. In Italy, France and the Netherlands, their regulators (...)

The EU Parliament and Member States reach an agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On Thursday, March 25, 2022, the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA marks a paradigm shift in the regulation of digital markets, giving the European Commission unprecedented powers to regulate leading digital (...)

The EU Commission publishes remarks made by the Executive Vice-President Vestager for the political agreement on the Digital Markets Act
DG COMP (Brussels)
Remarks by Executive Vice-President Vestager for the political agreement on the Digital Markets Act* "Check against delivery" It is less than 18 months ago that the Commission tabled the two proposals for the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Service act. And here we are today. And with (...)

The Belgian Government sees the act transposing the ECN+ Directive and introducing several other amendments to competition law and the criminal code enter into force
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 17 March 2022, the Belgian Act transposing the ECN+ Directive and also introducing several other amendments to Belgian Competition law (ie, Book IV of the Code on Economic Law) and the Belgian Criminal Code entered into force. Key takeaways The ECN+ Directive aims to empower EU National (...)

The Australian Competition Authority joins other national regulators to create a forum for regulating digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Agencies form Digital Platform Regulators Forum* The ACCC, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and Office of the eSafety Commissioner have together formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum. “The new Digital Platform Regulators (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority issues a compliance advice letter to an electricity utility for failure to comply with industry standards for three successive years between 2018 and 2020 (Transpower)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Transpower issued with compliance advice following Commission investigation* The Commerce Commission has issued Transpower New Zealand Limited (Transpower) with a compliance advice letter after an investigation into its contraventions of quality standards for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 years. (...)

The Belgian Parliament transposes the ECN+ Directive into the national legislation and introduces filing fees in concentration notifications
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On March 7, 2022, changes to both the Belgian Code of Economic Law (CEL) as well as the Belgian Criminal Code (BCC) were published in the Belgian Official Gazette (Belgisch Staatsblad, Moniteur belge). The main changes include: Introducing a filing fee in notifications of concentrations (...)

The Belgian Parliament publishes law transposing the ECN+ Directive changing the Code of Economic Law and the Criminal Code
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On March 7, 2022, changes to both the Belgian Code of Economic Law (CEL) as well as the Belgian Criminal Code (BCC) were published in the Belgian Official Gazette (Belgisch Staatsblad, Moniteur belge). The main changes include: Introducing a filing fee in notifications of concentrations (...)

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