November 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals brought by three manufacturers of power cables in a cartel case (Verwaltungs)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice”) dismissed in their entirety the appeals brought by LS Cable, Brugg Kabel and VISCAS (together with its parent company Furukawa), three manufacturers of power cables, against the judgment of the General Court which had upheld the (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses an appel in a cartel of power cable, confirming no infringement of the claimant’s rights of defence (Brugg / LS Cable)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (London)
On 28 November 2019, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") handed down judgments in three appeals against General Court judgments that had dismissed actions challenging the European Commission’s ("Commission") power cables cartel decision. Leniency applicant ABB’s appeal was partially upheld, (...)

The Dutch Highest Administrative Court issues its final judgement in the flour cartel case (Flour Cartel)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 28 November 2019 the highest administrative court in The Netherlands (het College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven, "CBb") issued its final judgment in the flour cartel case. CBb has previously on 19 March 2019 issued an interlocutory ruling in this case. The Dutch competition authority (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority closes probe for possible collusion in the market for watt-hour meters and emphasises opportunities for improvement in the public procurement processes
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE CLOSES PROBE FOR POSSIBLE COLLUSION IN MARKET FOR WATT- HOUR METERS AND EMPHASIZES OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT IN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PROCESSES* The Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE or Commission) Board of Commissioners resolved to decree the closure of the (...)

The German Competition Authority and the Federal Network Agency publish their joint annual monitoring report on developments in the German electricity and gas markets
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
ENERGY MONITORING REPORT 2019 PUBLISHED BY THE BUNDESNETZAGENTUR AND THE BUNDESKARTELLAMT* The Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt have today published their joint annual monitoring report on developments in the German electricity and gas markets. At present no market dominance in (...)

The Danish Supreme Court rules against two major road marking undertakings for submitting a joint bid with the object of restricting competition (Road Marking Case)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 27 November 2019, the Danish Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the expected ’’Road marking case’’, deciding that two undertakings had infringed the Danish Competition Act by submitting joint bids for a project for the Danish Road Directorate in 2014. In February 2014, the Danish Road (...)

The Danish Supreme Court renders a judgement on the legality of consortium agreements and repeals a decision between two companies regarding their joint bid on a public tender for road marking work (LFK / Eurostar)
Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
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Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
The legality of consortium agreements under competition law has been widely debated in recent years. On 27 November 2019 the Supreme Court rendered a much-anticipated judgment on this subject. The court repealed a Maritime and Commercial High Court decision from 2018 in a case concerning a (...)

The Dutch Court of Appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden finds a subsidiary liable for cartel damage caused by its minority shareholder that had or could have a decisive influence over it (GIS Cartel)
Maastricht University
In a decision of 26 November 2019, the Court of Appeal Arnhem-Leeuwarden deduced from the Court of Justice’s decision in Skanska that the EU concept undertaking is to be used to determine the entity which is required to provide compensation for damage caused by an infringement of Article 101 (...)

The Dutch Court of Appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden applies a rationale of the EU Court of Justice and finds subsidiary liable for damages resulting from an EU competition law infringement committed by its parent whilst engaging in a cartel (GIS Cartel)
Leiden University - Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs
Introduction In its interim judgement of 26 November 2019 (‘interim judgement’) the Dutch Court of Appeal Arnhem-Le euwarden (‘Court of Appeal’) applied the rationale of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) in Skanska to rule that Cogelex (a subsidiary) and Alstom Holdings (its parent (...)

The Dutch Court of Appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden applies the EU competition law notion of an undertaking in a cartel damage claim procedure (GIS Cartel)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 26 November 2019 the Court of Appeal of Arnhem ("Court of Appeal") applied the EU competition law notion of an ‘undertaking’ in a cartel damage claim procedure between TenneT and entities belonging to the Alstom group of companies. The Court of Appeal ruled that one of these entities formed a (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a company for anticompetitive restrictions in contracts concluded with authorised repairers of gas boilers (Vaillant)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) imposed total fines of € 859,763 on several companies in the Vaillant Group, suppliers and repairers of gas boilers, for a breach of Article 1 of the Spanish Competition Act for anticompetitive restrictions in contracts concluded with (...)

The Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia grants motion to intervene by 12 car manufacturers, supporting government on uniform federal emissions standards, following the announcement of DOJ investigation of four other carmakers (Environmental Defence / National Highway)
Richard Wolfram, Esq. (New York)
TWELVE OTHER CARMAKERS MOVE TO SUPPORT GOVERNMENT ENFORCEMENT OF UNIFORM FEDERAL STANDARDS ON EMISSIONS - WILL THE DOJ INVESTIGATE?* This article follows up on an October 15, 2019 article by the author on a reported investigation by the DOJ Antitrust Division into possible ‘collusion’ by four (...)

The German Competition Authority fines car makers for steel purchasing cartel (BMW / Daimler / Volkswagen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) dated 21 November 2019, car manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were fined a total amount of approximately € 100 million for their involvement in a steel purchasing cartel between 2004 and 2013. The anticompetitive (...)

The German Competition Authority fines €100 million three car manufacturers for joint anti-competitive practices concerning the purchase of long steel products (BMW / Daimler / Volkswagen)
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
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Ashurst (Munich)
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Ashurst (Munich)
On 21 November 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") issued fines totalling approximately €100 million on BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for joint anti-competitive practices concerning the purchase of long-steel products. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - KEY TAKEAWAYS In 2018, the FCO imposed (...)

The German Competition Authority fines car manufacturers for anticompetitive practices in the purchase of steel (BMW / Daimler / Volkswagen)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
German car manufacturers fined for anticompetitive practices in the purchase of steel* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 100 million euros on Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG for anticompetitive practices in the purchase of long steel products. (...)

The China State Administration for Market Regulation publishes a draft to incentivise whistle blowing and reward measures for complaints against significant illegal conduct in the regulation field
Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
COMPETITION LAW WHISTLE-BLOWING TO PAY OFF IN CHINA ?* As the number of leniency applications is down globally and competition authorities are struggling to find alternative sources of supply for antitrust complaints, China has circulated a draft rule to financially incentivise employee (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses an appeal seeking to set aside an earlier judgement by the General Court sanctioning a cartel of manufacturers of power cables (Verwaltungs)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 14 November 2019, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") dismissed the appeal in case C-599/18 P brought by Silec Cable ("Silec"), which sought to set aside an earlier judgment by the General Court upholding the European Commission’s ("Commission") power cables decision. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (...)

The UK OFCOM finds an illegal market-sharing agreement in the parcel delivery services (Royal Mail / The SaleGroup)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 14 November 2019, Ofcom issued an infringement decision under Article 101 TFEU and Chapter 1 Competition Act 1998 against Royal Mail and The SaleGroup Limited ("TSG") finding that a parcel delivery services agreement was anticompetitive. This was swiftly followed by a decision to open a (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines €77.1 million two companies for developing commercial policies to consolidate their position in the marketing of television advertising sector (Mediaset / Atresmedia)
Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
On 13 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority ("CNMC") announced that it had fined Mediaset and Atresmedia €77.1 million in total for antitrust practices in the marketing of television advertising. Both companies have been required to cease their behaviour and adapt their commercial and (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal considers what constitutes an abusive conduct and the use of expert economic advice and clarifies what the "as-efficient competitor test" entails (Royal Mail / OFCOM)
Latham & Watkins (London)
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Latham & Watkins (London)
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Latham & Watkins (London)
UK COMPETITION APPEAL TRIBUNAL JUDGMENT: PUSHING THE ENVELOPE ON ABUSE OF DOMINANCE* The CAT’s Royal Mail v Ofcom judgment considers what constitutes abusive conduct, the “as-efficient competitor” test, and the use of expert economic advice. On 12 November 2019, the UK Competition Appeal (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines €77,2 million the largest media companies for including clauses in their contracts that foreclosed the access of competitors to the television advertising market (Mediaset / Atresmedia)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
On 12 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority ("CNMC") imposed a total fine of EUR 77.2 million on Mediaset and Atresmedia, the largest media companies in Spain, for including clauses in their contracts with advertisers and media agencies that foreclosed the access of competitors to (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €77 million on two national leading TV channel operators for restricting other channels’ abilities to compete for advertising revenue (Mediaset / Atresmedia)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 November 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) fined Spain’s two leading TV channel operators Mediaset and Atresmedia a total of € 77 million for imposing single-branding obligations in their agreements with television advertisers. The CNMC concluded that the two TV channel (...)

The Czech Competition Authority rejects the appeal brought by an online travel agency company and confirms the fine for entering into prohibited vertical agreements (Booking.com)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
Petr Rafaj, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, rejected, by his final decision, the appeal brought by the company Booking.com B.V. ("Booking.com") and confirmed the fine amounting to CZK 8,336,000 imposed on the company for entering into prohibited vertical agreements (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the port service activities sector in the Mayotte island
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Dawn raids in Mayotte* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the port service activities sector in the Longoni port (Mayotte island). Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the investigation (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls the Commission’s decision in a car battery recycling cartel case finding that the Commission erred in its findings on the duration of the infringement and on the fine reduction for mitigating circumstances (Campine)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 7 November 2019, the General Court ("GC") partially annulled with respect to Campine the Commission’s decision in the car battery recycling cartel case. While the Commission was correct to establish that Campine had participated in an unlawful cartel, the GC concluded that the Commission (...)

The EU General Court reduces the fine imposed on a company involved in a car battery recycling cartel (Campine)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 November 2019, the General Court (“GC”) ruled on an appeal lodged by Campine Recycling NV (“Campine”) against the Commission’s decision fining Campine € 8,158,000 for its involvement in the Car Battery Recycling cartel. In its decision, the Commission found that Campine had agreed with others to (...)

The EU Commission launches a public consultation on the block exemption regulations (HBERs / R&D BER / Specialisation BER)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 6 November 2019, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations ("HBERs") – the Research & Development Block Exemption Regulation ("R&D BER") and the Specialisation Block Exemption Regulation ("Specialisation BER"), and the (...)

The US DoJ forms new criminal antitrust “strike force” focused on investigating price fixing and bid rigging for government contracts
Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
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Baker Botts (Washington)
On November 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the creation of a new “strike force” designed to combat criminal antitrust violations in the government procurement process. The newly-formed Procurement Collusion Strike Force (“PCSF”) will include prosecutors from DOJ’s (...)

The US DoJ announces the formation of a «Procurement Collusion Strike Force»
Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Silicon Valley)
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on November 5 announced the formation of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF). This interagency initiative will “lead a coordinated national response to combat antitrust crimes and related schemes in government procurement, grant, and program funding (...)

The US DoJ launches a "Strike Force" to combat anticompetitive crimes in government procurement
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") launched the Procurement Collusion Strike Force ("PCSF") to detect, investigate, and prosecute antitrust crimes in government procurement, grant, and program funding, at all levels of government. This interagency partnership includes prosecutors (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into a possible collusion by two French retailers in a purchasing alliance (Casino Guichard-Perrachon / Les Mousquetaires)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible collusion by two French retailers in a purchasing alliance* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether two French groups of retailers, Casino Guichard-Perrachon (known as ‘Casino’) and Les (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority launches a market inquiry following a game console manufacturer’s commitments proposal (Sony)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Games consoles: The Autorité launches a market consultation* In the context of a litigation procedure opened before the Autorité, Sony offers commitments to make its licensing policy more transparent to third parties wishing to manufacture and market compatible controllers with the Playstation 4 (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal clarifies the relevant test for characterising an excessive price in the market of waste disposal for hospitals and clinics in Corsica (Sanicorse)
Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
On 14 November 2019, the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court”) quashed a decision of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) of 20 September 2018 in which the latter had imposed € 199 000 fine on Sanicorse for having abused its dominant position on the market for infectious clinical waste (“ICW”) (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the OFCOM’s fine against a company for price discrimination (Royal Mail / Whistl)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the Ofcom’s record £50 million fine against Royal Mail for price discrimination against Whistl, a competitor in the market for the processing of bulk mail.On 12 November 2019, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) upheld the UK communication (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the OFCOM’s decision for abuse of dominance and discriminatory pricing strategy in the mail delivery service market (Royal Mail / Whislt)
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
On 12 November 2019, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("Tribunal") upheld Ofcom’s decision against Royal Mail Plc (Royal Mail), finding Royal Mail’s pricing strategy in relation to bulk mail delivery services to be discriminatory and an abuse of dominance. Royal Mail first announced the (...)

The Italian Supreme Court rules that an airline company abuse its dominant position by refusing to grant online travel agencies the right to intermediate its tickets by accessing its databases and procedures for flight reservations (Ryanair)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 12 November, the Italian Supreme Court brought to an end a multi-jurisdictional dispute which began in 2008, related to the Ryanair’s refusal to grant online travel agencies ("OTAs") the right to intermediate its tickets by accessing its databases and procedures for flight reservations. On 4 (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds a fine totalling £50 million to the national post office for abusing its dominant position by announcing price changes (Royal Mail)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 12 November 2019, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") upheld Ofcom’s decision to fine Royal Mail £50 million for abusing a dominant position by announcing price changes. Royal Mail has announced that it is seeking permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - KEY (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority imposes a daily fine on a big tech company for not complying with the previously imposed obligations (Google)
Bilkent University - Law School (Ankara)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
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ACTECON (Istanbul)
Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) recently published its decision (“Review Decision”) reviewing the obligations that ought to be fulfilled by the economic integrity comprised of Google LLC, Google International LLC and Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti. (will be referred to as “Google” (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority experts impose administrative fines on undertakings in order to ensure the protection of competition (Google)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
Introduction The Law on Protection of Competition (“Law No. 4054”) outlines the Competition Board’s (“Board”) and the Competition Authority’s experts’ powers while implementing their duties to ensure the protection of competition. Accordingly, Law No. 4054 imposes several types of administrative (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes a fine on a fruit-wholesaler for gun-jumping (Nufri)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
NUFRI, Sociedad Agraria de Transformación, has been fined by the CNMC for implementing a merger prior to its notification. In the beginning of the year, NUFRI acquired fruit-based products’ manufacturer Grupo Indulleida. The transaction was only pre-notified on 15 April 2019 and, subsequently, (...)

The French Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the construction industry (Point P Travaux Publics / Frans Bonhomme)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Green light, subject to conditions, to the acquisition of Point P Travaux Publics by Frans Bonhomme* On 18 October 2019, Frans Bonhomme notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of one of its competitors, Distribution de Matériaux pour les Travaux Publics (...)

The Indian Competition Authority imposes a penalty on an undertaking which only notified the first acquisition of an energy company without doing so for the subsequent acquisitions (CPPIB / ReNew Power)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Where a transaction qualifies as a notifiable combination, the notifying party/parties must also notify any inter- connected transactions, even where they are not in themselves notifiable. Failure to do so can result in penalties under Section 43A of the Competition Act for failure to notify. (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger in the market of processed meat and sausages products (Reinert / Kemper)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Processed meat and sausage producers Kemper and Reinert can merge* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the merger between the Reinert Group (H. & E. Reinert Holding GmbH & Co. KG) and the Kemper Group (H. Kemper GmbH & Co. KG /P.F.C. Pro Food Company GmbH & Co. KG). The (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the natural gas distribution market (AcegasApsAmga / Ascopiave)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
Antitrust: The acquisition of control of the business units of AcegasApsAmga S.p.A. by Ascopiave S.p.A. authorized with conditions* On 19 November 2019, the Italian Antitrust Authority authorized, with remedies, the acquisition of control of the business units of AcegasApsAmga S.p.A. by (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into proposed merger between the two leading copper scrap refiners in Europe (Metallo / Aurubis)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the (...)

The Peruvian Competition Authority introduces a premerger review system of corporate concentration transactions
Peruvian Competition Authority - INDECOPI (Lima)
INDECOPI WILL DEVELOP AND ADMINISTER THE PREMERGER REVIEW SYSTEM* Today the Executive Branch has published Urgent Decree 013-2019 which approves the Act for premerger review, introducing for the first time in Peru a premerger review system of corporate concentration transactions which will be (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority proposes the Market Court to prohibit the merger between two operators in wholesale services in the foodservice industry (Kesko / Heinon Tukku)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 18 November 2019, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority ("FCCA") proposed the Market Court to prohibit the merger between Kesko Oyj and Heinon Tukku Oy, two operators in wholesale services in the foodservice industry. According to the FCCA, the merger would significantly impede (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the market of telecommunications and TV broadcasting (Telia / Bonnier Broadcasting)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears Telia’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting by Telia. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments (...)

The EU Commission clears subject to behavioural commitments a merger in the telecommunications sector (Telia / Bonnier Broadcasting)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 November 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) conditionally cleared Telia Company’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting Company after a Phase II investigation. Telia is a Swedish telecommunications company that provides fixed and mobile telecommunications, broadband and television (...)

The French State Council upholds the decision of the French Competition Authority regarding the fine handed down to a merged company for non-compliance with its remedies (Darty / Fnac)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Conseil d’Etat confirms the decision regarding the fine handed down to Fnac Darty for non-compliance with its commitments* In a judgment dated 7 November 2019, the Conseil d’Etat confirmed the whole of the decision 18-D-16 by which the Autorité fined Fnac Darty €20 million for failing the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines €40 million a company in the energy sector for not providing requested information during an investigation (Engie)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
On 7 November 2019, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ("UOKiK") imposed a PLN 172 million (EUR 40 million) fine on Engie Energy Management Holding Switzerland AG ("Company") for not providing requested information. The fine was imposed due to the lack of response to (...)

The French State Council dismisses an appeal brought by a retailer specialising in cultural and electronic products and upholds a €20 million fine for breach of merger commitments (Fnac / Darty)
Ashurst (Paris)
In a decision of 7 November 2019, the French State Council ("Conseil d’Etat") dismissed the appeal brought by Fnac Darty, a retailer specialising in cultural and electronic products, against a fine imposed by the French Competition Authority (the "FCA") for failure to comply with its obligation (...)

The US FTC confirms the acquisition of a rival lessens competition in the market for microprocessor-driven prosthetic knees (Otto Bock / Freedom)
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (New York)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Charlotte)
BUYER BEWARE: FTC ORDERS UNWINDING OF A CONSUMMATED TRANSACTION* What happened? On November 6, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) voted 5-0 to uphold Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell’s initial decision that Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH’s (“Otto Bock”) acquisition of rival Freedom (...)

The US FTC orders the unwinding of a merger between two companies supplying prosthetics as they were not HSR-reportable (Otto Bock / Freedom)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
The HSR Act requires that parties to certain transactions submit a premerger notification filing to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and then observe a waiting period before closing. Any transaction valued in excess of the HSR threshold – (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Bavarian scheme to deploy very high capacity networks in Bavaria. The aid will bring very fast broadband to customers in areas (...)

The EU Court of Justice reinforces its strict approach and holds that alterations to an approved aid scheme are to be cleared by the Commission (Dilly’s Wellnesshotel)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
The EU’s State aid procedures are complex and often slow and not always easy to navigate. Many companies may be content to leave the process of obtaining a green light from the European Commission (the “Commission”) to government authorities. Or they may take comfort from the fact that a large (...)

The EU Commission decides that the scheme used for the construction of sustainable irrigation system does not constitute State aid (Bavaria)
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 Court of Justice leaves intact the Commission’s finding that e-procurement is a service of general interest which can be commercially exploited insofar as the State does not offer the service itself (TenderNed)
University of Bristol - Law School
In its Judgment of 7 November 2019 in Aanbestedingskalender and Others v Commission, C-687/17 P, EU:C:2019:932 (the ‘TenderNed’ case), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejected the appeal against the earlier Judgment of the General Court (GC) of 28 September 2017 (T-138/15, (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides further guidance on the selectivity assessment of environmental taxes in the framework of autonomous communities (UNESA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 November 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) delivered a judgment on a request for a preliminary ruling by the Spanish Supreme Court. The request was made in proceedings between several hydroelectricity producers and the Spanish authorities, with regard to the (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides further guidance on how economic activities linked to non-economic functions must be treated in a State aid context (Aanbestedingskalender)
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 Court of Justice provides a preliminary ruling relating to a dispute between several electricity and hydroelectricity producers concerning a tax on the use of inland waters for the production of electricity (UNESA)
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 approves under EU State aid rules a public support to upgrade the traffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the Netherlands
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves over €22 million of public support to promote rail transport operability in the Netherlands* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €22.2 million of public support to upgradetraffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the (...)

Procedures

The UNCTAD and Turkish Competition Authority say that keeping markets fair in digital era requires stronger cooperation among national competition authorities
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Keeping markets fair in digital era requires stronger cooperation* As economies become more digital, keeping them competitive and fair requires stronger government cooperation, the first Istanbul Competition Forum heard on 25 November. The forum gathered more than two dozen competition (...)

The Latvian Competition Council imposes a fine on a trader of building materials who failed to provide full information required during an investigation (DEPO DIY)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC imposes fine on one of the largest traders of building materials for non-fulfilment of the company obligation* On 21 November, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) adopted a decision, detecting that one of the largest Latvia’s traders of building materials SIA “DEPO DIY” has not (...)

The EU Commission and the UK Government agree on the UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, with important implications for State aid rules during the transition period
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
Since 1 February 2020, the UK is no longer part of the EU. Until the end of the transition period (31 December 2020), EU state aid rules remain fully applicable in the UK. Unless an extension of the transition period is agreed between the UK and the EU (the Parties), the future relationship (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority initiates a market study on competition law in the Swedish markets for digital platforms
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
MARKET STUDY OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS* The Swedish Competition Authority is initiating a market study into competition on the markets for digital platforms in Sweden. This includes, for example, digital advertising, food delivery, audiobooks, and digital payment services. The study will illuminate (...)

Regulatory

The Finnish Administrative Court allows game organisers to continue their fantasy sports operations while the definition of a lottery is being reviewed (Veikkaus Oy)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
The Finnish gambling market is one of the most regulated in Europe; state-owned Veikkaus Oy has the exclusive right to provide gambling services in Finland. The Lotteries Act (1047/2001) stipulates that the definition of a lottery is fulfilled when an activity includes three elements: a charge (...)

The Italian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the market for distribution of natural gas (Rami Distribuzioni)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
With a II-Phase conditional clearance decision, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed the review of the merger notified in the Rami Distribuzioni case. The ICA had concerns that the merger might negatively affect competition in the market for the distribution of natural gas. (...)

The US Administration issues an executive order releasing a pair of broad and inclusive rules aiming at advancing price transparency in the healthcare market
Morgan Lewis (Houston)
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Morgan Lewis (Houston)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
Building on an executive order issued by US President Donald Trump in June, the administration released a pair of broad and inclusive rules aimed at advancing price transparency in healthcare on November 15, 2019. Key themes emerging from the hundreds of pages of price transparency rules (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority issues the Ministry of Communications and Transports an opinion which recommends modifications to port law and other measures to promote competition in manoeuvre services
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE RECOMMENDS MODIFICATIONS TO PORT LAW AND OTHER MEASURES TO PROMOTE COMPETITION IN MANOEUVRE SERVICES* The Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE or Commission) issued the Ministry of Communications and Transports (SCT for its initials in Spanish) and the respective commissions (...)

The French Competition Authority and the German Competition Authority present their joint study on algorithms and competition law
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
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German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Algorithms are among the most important technological drivers of the ongoing digitalization process. They are becoming more and more important, enabling firms to be more innovative and efficient. However, debate has arisen on whether and to what extent algorithms might also have detrimental (...)

The French and German Competition Authorities publish a joint study on algorithms and competition law
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 November 2019, the French and German competition authorities presented their joint study on algorithms and competition at a conference in Paris. The study recognises algorithms as one of the “most important technological drivers of the ongoing digitalization process” but also identifies a (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes alongside the German Competition Authority a report on algorithms and competition law
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
THE AUTORITÉ DE LA CONCURRENCE AND BUNDESKARTELLAMT REPORT ON “ALGORITHMS AND COMPETITION”* I. Introduction Algorithms may raise competition concerns especially when assessing collusive practices. Very often, the term “algorithm” is used improperly. When we imagine the cartels of the future, we (...)

The French and the German Competition Authorities publish collaborative work on algorithms
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
Last month, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") and the Bundeskartellamt ("BKA") published a joint study on algorithms and their potential implications from a competition law standpoint. This study presents the results of nearly a year and a half of collaborative work between the two (...)

International

Spain: The Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona reduces the amount to be paid to a collecting society, finding that the fees requested from a concert promoter were abusive based on an earlier decision of the Spanish Competition Authority (SGAE)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona has partially quashed the judgment of a Juzgado Mercantil of Barcelona which awarded collecting society SGAE € 115,398 corresponding to unpaid IP rights. The Audiencia Provincial found that the amount claimed by SGAE was inflated due to the application of (...)

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