May 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The Croatian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint stating that one company has violated competition rules in the transport market (HŽ Infrastruktura)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
HŽ Infrastruktura – lack of standing to act* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) received an anonymous complaint regarding the alleged infringement of competition rules by the undertaking HŽ Infrastruktura d.o.o. within the meaning of Competition Act. The anonymous complainant basically stated (...)

The Danish City Court of Hillerod fines a demolition company for exchanging prices with a competing company in four cases (Nedrivningsaktieselskabet J. Jensen)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Demolition Company fined DKK 1 million in bid rigging case* The City Court of Hillerød has fined the demolition company Nedrivningsaktieselskabet J. Jensen DKK 1 million for exchanging prices with a competing demolition company in four cases. Moreover, the City Court fined two members (...)

The EU Commission accepts remedies proposed by two financial services companies to cut inter-regional interchange fees (Mastercard / Visa)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Mastercard and Visa to cut inter-regional interchange fees* The European Commission has made commitments offered by Mastercard and Visa legally binding under EU antitrust rules. The companies will significantly reduce (on average by around 40%) (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a referral denouncing an agreement put in place by companies responding to tender launched for the extension of the tramway network (Communauté urbaine de Bordeaux)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Extension of the Bordeaux tram* The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the referral filed by the communauté urbaine de Bordeaux (Bordeaux metropolitan area) in the absence of solid evidence. The complaint lodged by the communauté urbaine de Bordeaux The communauté urbaine de Bordeaux (CUB), now (...)

The Estonian Competition Authority opens criminal proceedings for investigate a possible restriction of competition in the agricultural equipment market
Estonian Competition Authority (Tallinn)
Authority conducts criminal proceedings for investigating a possible restriction of competition in companies selling agricultural equipment* In the framework of a criminal case concerning a possible restriction of competition, the Competition Authority carried out searches at the premises of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines two companies and one of its manager for participating in a horizontal agreement in the sector of railway maintenance services (Mota-Engil / Engenharia e Construção)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions an undertaking and its manager for anticompetitive practices in the sector of railway maintenance services* The AdC imposed fines totalling 906.485,58 euros on Mota-Engil – Engenharia e Construção, S.A., and one of its managers, for participating in a horizontal agreement (cartel), (...)

The Latvian Competition council fines companies involved in bid-rigging on the market of supply of nanotechnology chemicals (Rīgas satiksme / Sava arhitektūra)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC fines the companies involved in bid-rigging in price quotations on supply of nanotechnology chemicals* On 12 April, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) detected a prohibited agreement implemented by six applicants and supported by the municipal passenger carrier SIA “Rīgas (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority opens a proceeding against a soft drink company having potentially concluded an agreement containing exclusive purchasing obligations (Coca-Cola Hrvatska)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA opens administrative proceeding against Coca-Cola Hrvatska* The Croatian Competition Agency opened an ex-officio infringement proceeding with the view to establishing whether the company Coca-Cola HBC Hrvatska d.o.o. from Zagreb had concluded a prohibited agreement and had been engaged in (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the wine and spirits sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Dawn raids* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the wine and spirits sector. Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the investigation services of the Autorité de la concurrence have raided (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority announces investigations in the corn flour market for possible anticompetitive practices (Investigations in the corn flour market)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE probes national market for corn flour for possible anticompetitive practices* • The investigation should not be construed as a prejudgment, but as the authority’s verification of compliance with the Federal Law on Economic Competition. • The corn flour industry has sales for more than 24 (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority launches an investigation into online gaming companies’ roll-over contracts
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on 05 April 2019 that it is launching an investigation into online gaming companies’ use of auto-renewal, cancellation, and refund policies in relation to online services. The investigation is being conducted using the CMA’s consumer (...)

The EU Commission sends statements of objections to an American video game developer and five videogame publishers for “geo-blocking” of PC video games (Valve / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax / Bandai Namco / Capcom)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statements of Objections to Valve and five videogame publishers on “geo-blocking” of PC video games* The European Commission has informed Valve, owner of the “Steam” video game distribution platform, and five videogame publishers, of its preliminary view that the (...)

The EU Commission sends statement of objections concerning alleged geo-blocking of PC video games (Valve / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax / Bandai Namco / Capcom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 April 2019, the European Commission announced via a press release that it had sent Statements of Objections to Valve – the owner of the ‘Steam’ video game distribution platform – and five video game publishers (Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax) concerning their alleged (...)

The EU Commission sends statements of objections to three car manufacturers for restricting competition on emission cleaning technology (BMW /Daimler / VW)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to BMW, Daimler and VW for restricting competition on emission cleaning technology* The European Commission has informed BMW, Daimler and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche) of its preliminary view that they have breached EU antitrust rules from (...)

The EU General Court reduces a fine imposed in a cartel case (Pometon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 March 2019, the General Court (“GC”) delivered a judgment on an appeal lodged by Pometon against the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision in the Steel Abrasives cartel case (Case T-433/16, Pometon SA v. Commission). In April 2014, the Commission imposed fines totalling over € 30 (...)

The FTC reverses Administrative Law Judge decision, finding Section 5 violation for reverse-payment settlement (Impax)
Rutgers University
In FTC v. Actavis, the Supreme Court ruled that settlements by which brand drug companies pay generics to delay entering the market could violate antitrust law. In In the Matter of Impax Laboratories, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) offered its first elaboration upon this (...)

The United States District Court For The Northern District Of Illinois receives a class action complaint against a pay-for-delay agreement (Abbvie)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Plaintiffs Targeting Biologic-Biosimilars Settlements with Pay-for-Delay Antitrust Claims* Antitrust principles that can invalidate certain pay-for-delay settlements will be expanding into the new frontier of biologic and biosimilar drugs if plaintiffs in several new suits are successful. (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the application of the principle of economic continuity in private enforcement of a cartel case (Vantaan kaupunki / Skanska Industrial Solutions)
Sérvulo & Associados (Lisbon)
The Principle Of Economic Continuity’s Application On Private Enforcement: Case 724/17 Skanska* With two major decisions, March 2019 was an interesting month with regard to the ECJ’s case-law on the private enforcement of competition law: Skanska and Cogeco. This post will comment on the (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that the concept of undertaking and the principle of economic continuity apply in private enforcements cases as in public enforcement proceedings (Vantaan kaupunki / Skanska Industrial Solutions)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
Introduction The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) issued a landmark decision on 14 March 2019 concerning the application of the concept of “undertaking” and the principle of economic continuity to cartel damages claims. The ECJ ruled in its Skanska judgement that the broad interpretation of the (...)

The Italian antitrust authority finds two anti-competitive agreements in the market for the provision of fire prevention services (Wood Firefighting Services)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
In the recent Wood Fire Service case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has found two anti-competitive agreements put in place by several players in the market for the provision of wood fire prevention services. The first anti-competitive agreement took the shape of a bid rigging practice (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority dismisses a case in which a company denounced the discount and matching practices implemented by its rival in the market of television advertising (M6 / TF1)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Television advertising* Following the referral of M6 regarding practices of TF1 Publicité, the Autorité de la concurrence dismisses the case. The complaint of M6 regarding TF1 Publicité In its referral, M6 denounced the discount and matching practices implemented by TF1 Publicité in the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches investigations into a big tech company for abusing its dominant position giving its applications preferential treatment (Apple App Store)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
Dutch Antitrust Authority investigates Apple: does this support Spotify’s complaint?* After Google has been fined several times for breach of (EU) competition rules the last couple of years, it might now be Apple’s turn. Last month (March 2019), Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an antitrust investigation against a major e-commerce company for alleged abuse of dominance (Amazon)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an Article 102 TFEU investigation against several undertakings belonging to the Amazon group in the FBA case. The targets of the ICA investigation are Amazon Services Europe (ASE), Amazon Europe Core (AEC), Amazon EU (AEU), Amazon Italia (...)

The High Court of Delhi challenges constitutional validity of provisions of the Competition Act on a complaint by a car manufacturer accused of abusing its dominant position (Mahindra & Mahindra)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
On 10 April 2019, a Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi pronounced its judgment in Mahindra & Mahindra v. Competition Commission of India, which challenged the constitutional validity of a number of provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act). In addition to holding the (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the public passenger transport markets (RATP Dev / Keolis)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Future connection Gare de l’Est - Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport* The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the creation by RATP Dev and Keolis of a joint undertaking for the operation of CDG Express On 29 November 2018, the companies RATP Dev and Keolis notified the (...)

The UK Competition Authority prohibits a merger between two supermarket retailers after finding it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations (Sainsbury’s / Asda)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda* The CMA has blocked the Sainsbury’s / Asda merger after finding it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK. In its final report, published today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found (...)

The French Competition Authority informs that the decree regarding the simplification of the national merger control procedure is entered into force
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Modernization of merger control* The decree regarding the simplification of the national merger control procedure to the Autorité de la concurrence entered into force On 20 April 2019, the decree regarding the simplification of the national merger control procedure to the Autorité de la (...)

The French Competition Authority innovates merger control by analyzing the online and in-store sales of toys as a single market (Luderix International / Jellej Jouets)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution of toys* The Autorité de la concurrence innovates by analyzing the online and in-store sales of toys as a single market. The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of joint control of Luderix International (Picwic) by Jellej Jouets (Toys’R’Us) and by the undivided (...)

The EU Commission approves a company as a suitable purchaser of several steel plants (Liberty House Group / ArcelorMittal)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Liberty House Group purchase of ArcelorMittal’s divestment businesses* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, Liberty House Group as a suitable purchaser of several ArcelorMittal steel plants, sold under commitments made by (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the market of speed refrigeration compressors (Nidec / Embraco)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Nidec’s acquisition of Embraco, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition by Nidec of Embraco, Whirlpool’s refrigeration compressor business. The approval is conditional on compliance with (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger to structural remedies in the refrigeration compressor business (Nidec / Embraco)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 April 2019, the Commission conditionally approved the acquisition by Nidec of Embraco, Whirlpool’s refrigeration compressor business. Both Nidec and Embraco are leading global producers of refrigeration compressors. These are electro-mechanical devices used to lower the temperature of an (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition reviews its analysis and blocks a transaction initially not found to constitute a merger (EMKO)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
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Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
Follow-up: Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition blocks key transaction initially found not to constitute a concentration* In 2016, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (“BCPC”) was notified for the intention of two of the biggest Bulgarian companies operating on (...)

The Dublin District Court imposes a small charitable donation as punishment on a motor company which pled guilty to gun jumping (Armalou Holdings)
McCann FitzGerald (Brussels)
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McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
A small charitable donation for gun-jumping* After an 18 month investigation involving officials from both the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“CCPC”) and Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecution, and a first-ever criminal prosecution, a company that gun-jumped Irish merger (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational conglomerate company for providing incorrect information during the assessment of its merger (General Electric)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission fines General Electric €52 million for providing incorrect information in LM Wind takeover* The European Commission has fined General Electric €52 million for providing incorrect information during the Commission’s investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of GE’s planned (...)

The EU Commission fines a company € 52 million for providing incorrect information during merger review (General Electric)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 April 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed a fine of € 52 million on GE for negligently providing incorrect information to the Commission during the merger review of its acquisition of LM Wind. On 11 January 2017, GE notified its proposed acquisition of LM Wind to the (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines meal card companies for their collusive behavior (Sodexo / Edenred / Network)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Meal Card Companies under the TCA’s Scrutiny : From Full-Functionality to Collusion* Introduction In April 2019, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) released its reasoned decision, as a result of its full-fledged investigation concerning the practices of the companies that operate in the (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves under EU State Aid rules support for production of electricity from renewable sources in Lithuania
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €385 million support for production of electricity from renewable sources in Lithuania* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources in Lithuania. The measure, open to all (...)

Procedures

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies the collective proceeding regime in a private action against a credit card company (Merricks / MasterCard)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Merricks v MasterCard: Collective Actions Reinvigorated* The Court of Appeal today gave its much-anticipated judgment in the application to bring collective proceedings against MasterCard: see Merricks v MasterCard Incorporated and others [2019] EWCA Civ 674. It is a major victory for the (...)

The UK Court of Appeal has confirms that the first claim under the UK’s flagship "opt-out" regime can proceed (Merricks / Mastercard)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
The action is based on the EU Commission’s finding that MasterCard’s EEA multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) breached Article 101(1) TFEU (see here for further details). That finding was upheld by the European Court of Justice (on appeal by MasterCard) on 11 September 2014 (see our further (...)

The UK Court of Appeal overturns a CAT’s decision in favour of consumers in a collective proceedings against a credit card company (Merricks / Mastercard)
Allegro Consulting (Brussels)
Walter Merricks v. Mastercard, Paving the Way for Economic Analysis in Class Actions* The England and Wales Court of Appeal has overturned the Decision of the United Kingdom Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) in the collective proceedings Walter Merricks v MasterCard, where final consumers are (...)

The International Competition Network adopts a new tool of cooperation to identify the main principles guaranteeing procedural fairness in procedures that implement competition law
French Competition Authority (Paris)
A new tool of international cooperation to boost procedural fairness* The International Competition Network (ICN), gathering 138 international competition authorities, has adopted a new tool of cooperation, the Framework on Competition Agency Procedures (thereafter the “CAP”). The CAP fully (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on scope of national limitation period in light of Damages Directive (Sport TV)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 March 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) ruled on a preliminary reference from a Portuguese court on the scope of the Portuguese limitation period in light of Directive 2014/104 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the (...)

Regulatory

The Hong Kong Competition Commission publishes the "Cooperation Policy" expanding its leniency program
Hogan Lovells
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Hogan Lovells (Hong Kong)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 29 April 2019, the Hong Kong Competition Commission (’HKCC’) published the Cooperation and Settlement Policy for Undertakings Engaged in Cartel Conduct (’Cooperation Policy’). In essence, the Cooperation Policy expands HKCC’s Leniency Policy, published in November 2015, just before the full (...)

The French Competition Authority launches consultations to prepare two new opinions on the freedom of establishment for bailiffs and judicial auctioneers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of establishment for bailiffs and judicial auctioneers* In accordance with the Law of 6 August 2015 (also known as the « Macron Law »), the Autorité de la concurrence is launching public consultations to prepare two new opinions on the freedom of establishment for bailiffs and judicial (...)

The French Competition Authority delivers its opinion on the price increase system of notaries and court bailiffs in the overseas departments and regions
French Competition Authority (Paris)
"High living costs" in the French overseas departments and regions* In an opinion issued at the request of the French government, the Autorité examines the price increase system of notaries and court bailiffs in the overseas departments and regions. The Autorité suggests to review in depth the (...)

The EU commission publishes its final study on antitrust aspects in EU loan syndication markets
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
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Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
In its recent assessment of the European loan syndication sector from an antitrust perspective, the European Commission did not find specific evidence or indication of any current antitrust infringements. However, the Commission and national competition authorities will likely closely monitor (...)

The EU commission publishes final study on antitrust aspects in loan syndication markets
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 08 April 2019, the European Commission published its study into the syndicated lending market. The study was commissioned in April 2017, looking at syndicated lending in six Member States – the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The aim of the study was to identify and (...)

The French Competition Authority delivers its opinion on the distribution of medicinal products and biomedical laboratories
French Competition Authority (Paris)
4 April: Distribution of medicinal products and biomedical laboratories: the Autorité delivers its opinion After several months of investigation and a large public consultation, the Autorité de la concurrence releases the findings of its healthcare sector inquiry. The medicinal product (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on competition policy for the digital area
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
On 4 April 2019, the European Commission published the much anticipated Report Competition Policy for the digital era (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"). Authored by a panel of special advisers (all academics) appointed by Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, the Report explores (...)

Public sector

The Mexican Competition Authority issues recommendations on a government housing assistance agency (Infonavit)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE issues recommendations on Infonavit public procurement regulations * • These recommendations are issued in response to the Institute’s request, which has publicly stated its goal of more efficient spending. • The regulations currently in force for the Institute’s acquisition of goods and (...)

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