November 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The Hellenic Competition Authority settles a case against two undertakings for concluding anticompetitive agreements in the market for the production and marketing of dairy products (FrieslandCampina Hellas / Mandrekas)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Settlement of market segmentation case in the market for the production and marketing of dairy products* By its unanimous Decision No. 668/2018, the Grand Chamber of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) decided to settle a case against two (2) companies in the market for the production (...)

The Ankara 7th Administrative Court annuls the Turkish Competition Board’s dismissal decision regarding the allegations on the restriction of parallel imports in the market of energy system (Mastervolt / Eltesan)
ELIG Gürkaynak (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak (Istanbul)
The Ankara 7th Administrative Court (“Court”) annulled the dismissal decision of the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) concerning the allegations that Mastervolt International Holding B.V. (“Mastervolt”) and its exclusive distributor in Turkey, Artı Marin Elektrik Dış Tic. Ltd. Şti. (“Artı Marin”), (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation to assess whether agreements between booking system providers and airlines and travel agents restrict competition (Amadeus / Sabre)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into airline ticket distribution services* The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether agreements between booking system providers Amadeus and Sabre on the one hand, and airlines and travel agents on the other, may (...)

The US DoJ Antitrust Division announces that three South Korean companies in the market of oil refiners and logistics companies agreed to plead guilty and to enter into civil settlements for bid rigging (SK Energy / GS Caltex / Hanjin Transportation)
GeyerGorey (Washington)
DOD Bid Rigging Whistleblower and Related Antitrust Division Criminal Cases* Last week the Antitrust Division announced that three South Korean companies had agreed to plead guilty and to enter into civil settlements for rigging bids on United States Department of Defense Fuel Supply Contracts (...)

The US DoJ reaches settlement with six broadcast television companies and prohibits share of competitive sentitive information in the television spot advertising market (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Raycom Media / Tribune Media Company / Meredith Corporation / Griffin Communications / Dreamcatcher Broadcasting)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
THE LATEST: DOJ Reaches Settlement with Six Broadcast Television Companies* The Department of Justice (DOJ) and six broadcast television companies reached settlements last week after the DOJ claimed that the companies shared competitively sensitive information that allowed the parties to alter (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the sectors of engineering and technology consulting, IT services and software publishing
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out yesterday in the sectors of engineering and technology consulting, IT services and software publishing* Following authorization from the liberty and custody judge, the (...)

The EU Commission invites feedback from stakeholders on its evaluation of the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation that will expire in 2022
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“VABER”) will expire on 31 May 2022. As a result, the European Commission has formally commenced its evaluation of the VABER in order to inform its decision on whether to allow it lapse, prolong its duration or revise it, in particular to take (...)

The Indian Competition Authority holds that information exchange is not a standalone violation of the Indian Competition Act (Flashlights cartel)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
On 6 November 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found that four manufacturers/traders of flashlights and their trade association (the Opposite Parties) were not involved in cartelisation as, despite an information exchange, there was not enough corroborating evidence to suggest a (...)

Unilateral Practices

The German Competition Authority initiates an abuse of dominance proceeding against a major e-commerce company (Amazon)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt initiates abuse proceeding against Amazon* The Bundeskartellamt has today initiated an abuse proceeding against Amazon to examine its terms of business and practices towards sellers on its German marketplace amazon.de. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Amazon (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a social network 10 Million euros for unfair commercial practices using its subscribers data for commercial purposes (Facebook)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
Facebook fined 10 million Euros by the ICA for unfair commercial practices for using its subscribers’ data for commercial purposes On 29 November 2018 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA), closed the investigation opened last April for alleged violations of the Consumer Code by Facebook (...)

The Egyptian Economic Court fines the President and the Secretary General of a sport association for abuse of dominance regarding an exclusive licensing agreement (Confederation of African Football)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
Economic Court has Fined Mr. Isaa Hayatou (President of CAF) and Mr. Hicham El Amrani (Secretary General of CAF) 500 Million EGP Each*
 Background of the case: 
January 3rd 2017, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) requested the Prosecutor’s Office to press criminal charges pursuant to (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority holds that online sales channels exerts competitive pressure in traditional sales channels in the market of sales of books (Doğan Müzik Kitap Mağazacılık ve Pazarlama A.Ş.)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Should Traditional and Online Sales Channels Constitute Separate Relevant Markets? (The TCA’s D&R Decision) On November 23, 2018, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published its reasoned decision (“D&R Decision”) concerning the investigation conducted against Doğan Müzik Kitap (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines a consumer electronics company for resale price maintenance in online sales (Sony)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
On 22 November 2018 the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) completed its investigation and decided to sanction Sony Eurasia Pazarlama A.Ş. (“Sony”) for its involvement in imposition of fixed or minimum resale prices maintenance (“RPM”) on online retailers. Sony should be faced with an (...)

The US DoJ settles a lawsuit regarding a hospital system anti-steering provisions againts health plans (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority)
Sheppard Mullin (Century City)
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Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
U.S. Department of Justice Settles Anti-Steering Suit Against Hospital System; First Such Settlement After Amex SCOTUS Decision* On November 15, 2018, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice settled a two-and-a-half year long lawsuit against Atrium Health, a North Carolina (...)

The US DoJ reaches a settlement with a healthcare system related to provisions in a contract between the health system and commercial insurers (Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority)
McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
THE LATEST: DOJ Announces Settlement with Carolinas Health System (Atrium Health) After Two Years of Litigation* The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that it and the State of North Carolina have reached a settlement with Carolinas Healthcare System / Atrium Health relating to (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the market for the manufacture and supply of wood pulp (Fibria / Suzano)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Fibria by Suzano, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Fibria by Suzano, both active in the production and supply of wood pulp from eucalyptus trees. The decision is conditional (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the optical sector (Luxottica / Barberini)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Closing a Second Phase investigation in the Luxottica/Barberini case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has conditionally cleared a merger between two major players in the optical industry. After an in-depth review of the transaction, the ICA took the view that the notified merger may (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the markets for corrugated case materials, sheets and cases (Europac / DS Smith)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Europac by DS Smith, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Europac by DS Smith, both manufacturers of paper and packaging products. The decision is conditional on the divestment (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears the creation of six joint ventures for mobility services (Daimler / BMW)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 November 2018, the European Commission conditionally approved the creation of six mobility services joint ventures by Daimler and BMW. While the joint ventures will combine Daimler and BMW’s mobility services in ride hailing services, parking services, charging services and other on-demand (...)

The EU Commission clears the creation of six joint ventures subject to remedies in the automobile sector (Daimler / BMW)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears the creation of six joint ventures by Daimler and BMW, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of six joint ventures by Daimler and BMW, subject to conditions. Daimler and BMW, both active in car (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the markets of production and distribution of films for release in movie theatrers and distribution of content for home entertainment and licensing of films and other TV content (Fox / Disney)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Disney’s acquisition of parts of Fox, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of parts of Fox by Disney, both US based global media companies. The decision is conditional on full (...)

The US DoJ announces new Model Timing Agreement for Merger Investigations
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
THE LATEST: DOJ Announces New Model Timing Agreement for Merger Investigations* Consistent with Assistant Attorney General Delrahim’s speech on September 25, 2018, the DOJ released a new Model Timing Agreement which sets out that it will require fewer custodians, take fewer depositions, and (...)

The Czech Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the soft drink market (Pepsico / KMV)
Czech Competition Authority (Brno)
KMV is allowed to take control over part of Pepsi business, subject to commitments* The Office for the Protection of Competition issued on 30 October 2018 a decision approving the concentration between soft drinks producers, subject to fulfilment of several structural commitments. The (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves, under EU State aid rules, a measure to support innovative solar power installations in France
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €600 million in public support for innovative solar power installations in France* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a measure to support innovative installations for electricity production from solar energy. The measure will further (...)

The EU Commission finds no aid given to container terminal operators in Belgium’s Port of Antwerp (PSA Antwerp / Antwerp Gateway)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds no aid given to container terminal operators in Belgium’s Port of Antwerp* The European Commission has concluded that reductions in compensation payments granted by the state-owned Port of Antwerp to two container terminal operators were granted on market terms and (...)

The EU General Court confirms selectivity of Spanish tax scheme for the amortisation of financial goodwill (Deutsche Telekom / Banco Santander / Sigma Alimentos Exterior / Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad / Duty Free Group / Banco Santander / Santusa)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 November 2018, the General court (“GC”) issued several judgments in cases relating to a European Com-mission decision classifying a Spanish tax scheme for the amortisation of financial goodwill as incompatible state aid (Cases T-207/10, T-227/10, T-239/11, T-405/11, T-406/11, T-219/10 and (...)

The EU Commission and the UK propose a draft withdrawal agreement following the Brexit referendum : the State aid provisions
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission finds that an energy producer received around €60 million of incompatible State aid from Romania (CE Hunedoara)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Romania needs to recover around €60 million of incompatible aid from energy producer CE Hunedoara* The European Commission has found that energy producer Complexul Energetic Hunedoara (CE Hunedoara) received around €60 million of incompatible State aid from Romania through four (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules a Bulgarian and Greek plan for the construction of a natural gas interconnector
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves public support for natural gas interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria* The European Commission has found Bulgarian and Greek plans to support the construction and operation of a natural gas interconnector to be in line with EU State aid rules. The project (...)

Procedures

The US Supreme Court hears oral arguments to determine whether iPhone App Store customers are Apple direct purchasers in order to pursue the Big Tech monopoly claims (Apple / Pepper)
Wolters Kluwer (Chicago)
Will High Court allow consumers to pursue Apple Monopoly claims?* The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on November 26 in a suit alleging that the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that iPhone App Store customers were direct purchasers of those apps and had standing to sue Apple for the (...)

The High Court of Namibia declares a dawn raid conducted by the Competition Commission to be unlawful (Puma Energy)
Primerio (Washington)
NAMIBIA: HIGH COURT DECLARES COMPETITION COMMISSION’S SEARCH AND SEIZURE UNLAWFUL* On 9 November 2018, the High Court in Namibia declared a dawn raid conducted by the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) in September 2016 to be unlawful. The NaCC raided the premises of PUMA Energy on the (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission and the UK propose a draft withdrawal agreement following the Brexit referendum
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Are you wondering what competition law in the UK might look like post-Brexit? The answer differs depending on whether the wording of the draft withdrawal agreement agreed between the UK government and European Commission (’Commission’) on 14 November 2018 (’Withdrawal Agreement’) is ultimately (...)

Public sector

The Quebec Court of Appeal sentences to prison individuals found guilty of offenses in relation with bid-rigging in public construction contracts (Fedele)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
Quebec Court of Appeal Ruling Signals that Bid-Rigging is a Serious Offence Warranting Imprisonment* A recent decision by the Quebec Court of Appeal in R c. Fedele, 2018 CarswellQue 10342 (English language summary) sends a strong signal that bid-rigging offences, particularly in respect of the (...)

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