November 2021

General antitrust

The Italian Government adopts legislation aimed at harmonising the tools and powers at the disposal of the competition authorities of the Member States and empowering them to be more effective enforcers
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
Italy has just enacted the Legislative Decree implementing the ECN Plus Directive so providing the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) with increased enforcement powers. The following sections provide a first overview of the main novelties which include sanctions to natural persons for breach (...)

The US DoJ and FTC meet with fellow G7 enforcement partners to exchange on competition in digital markets
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Meet with Fellow G7 Enforcement Partners on Competition in Digital Markets* Today, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan participated in a (...)

The Italian Government adopts a Legislative Decree implementing the ECN+ Directive, which in turn provides the Competition Authority with increased enforcement powers
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
Italy has just enacted the Legislative Decree implementing the ECN Plus Directive so providing the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) with increased enforcement powers. The following sections provide a first overview of the main novelties which include sanctions to natural persons for breach (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority issues a warning against potential competition and free market access risks derived from an agreement reached by the Government on projects and works considered of public interest and national security
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE warns of possible risks in matters of competition and free market access derived from the Agreement on projects and works of the Government of Mexico considered of public interest and national security* The Agreement could generate an asymmetric regulatory regime in function of who (...)

The OECD Competition Committee approves the Hungarian Competition Authority’s 2022 programme for the Regional Centre for Competition in Budapest
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The Competition Committee of the OECD has approved the 2022 programme of the OECD-GVH Regional Centre for Competition* 23 November 2021, Budapest – The President of the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) presented the next year’s programme plans for the regional centre for competition, (...)

The US FTC adopts a policy statement outlining its criminal antitrust enforcement efforts and its plans to reinforce interagency collaboration and transparency
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On November 18, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 4-0 to adopt a new policy statement outlining the commission’s plans to expand its criminal referral program in an effort to prevent and deter corporate crime stemming from consumer protection and criminal antitrust misconduct. The (...)

The US FTC announces its plans to launch a Section 6(b) study of ongoing supply chain issues among retailers and consumer good firms as well as to expand its criminal referral programme
Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
FTC Announces 6(b) Study of Supply Chain Disruptions and Expansion of Criminal Referral Program On November 18, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission held an open meeting to discuss the agency’s efforts to launch a Section 6(b) study of ongoing supply chain issues among retailers and consumer good (...)

The EU Commission adopts Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, including for the Single Market’s COVID-19 recovery, and for the green and digital transitions Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: Commission outlines contribution of competition policy and its review to green and digital transition, and to a resilient Single Market* The European Commission has adopted a Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, which frames the important role of (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on new challenges in competition policy, namely insisting on a progressive phase-out of the COVID-19 crisis and its efforts to deliver on the green and digital transitions Free
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (hereinafter the “Commission”) published a Communication on “A competition policy fit for new challenges” (hereinafter the “Communication”). The Communication provides an illustrative consolidation of the current work streams – both at the enforcement and (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority starts a sector inquiry into the electric vehicle charging sector
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
AFCA starts a sector inquiry into electric vehicle charging sector in Austria* The Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) has launched a sector inquiry into the electric mobility market, including the expertise of the E-Control. The AFCA may conduct a sector inquiry where circumstances (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services* Currently many users are concerned about how safe their personal data are in messenger and video services. Should legislators and authorities ensure the possibility for users to easily (...)

The Italian Government approves a draft law on competition which includes a package of measures to improve distribution and speed up the marketing of new drugs, in addition to new provisions concerning healthcare facilities
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Rome)
On November 5, 2021, the Council of Ministers approved the draft law on competition (the “Competition Bill”). The Competition Bill is now under review by Parliament, which will discuss the draft in the coming weeks. The Competition Bill includes a package of measures to improve distribution and (...)

The Taiwanese Competition Authority issues a fine for deceptive trade practices over the use of a competitor’s name in online ads (Easytravel / Agoda)
Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
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Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
Companies are advised to review their online marketing strategies in light of the new decision and current Taiwan Fair Trade Commission ("TFTC") guidance. TFTC guidance on Article 25 of the Taiwan Fair Trade Law, which addresses deceptive or unfair conduct, states that using a competitor’s name (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Norwegian Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the competition authority’s decision imposing a fine on two alarm companies for restriction of competition (Verisure / Sector Alarm)
Norwegian Competition Authority (Bergen)
Verisure’s appeal dismissed* The Competition Tribunal has upheld the Competition Authority’s decision finding that Verisure has violated the Competition Act by coordinating illegally with Sector Alarm, and that the conduct at issue constituted a restriction of competition by object. The Tribunal (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas rejects motion to dismiss per se Sherman Act violation by former staffing company executives for wage fixing in the market for physical therapists and assistants (Neeraj Jindal / John Rodgers)
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
District Court Finds Antitrust Division’s First Wage Fixing Indictment Alleges a Per Se Violation* On November 29, 2021 in U.S. v. Neeraj Jindal and John Rodgers, Civil Action No. 4:20-CR-00358A (N.D. Texas), District Court Judge Amos L. Mazzant rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss the (...)

The Norwegian Court of Appeal issues a judgment imposing a fine of 788 Million against a telecommunications company for abuse of dominance (Telenor)
Norwegian Competition Authority (Bergen)
Telenor judgment final – fine of NOK 788 million upheld* The Supreme Court’s Appeals Selection Committee has declined to review the appeal from Telenor. Thereby, the judgment of the Court of Appeal is final and the fine of NOK 788 million imposed on Telenor for abuse of a dominant position is (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two Big Tech companies €10M for commercial use of user data (Google / Apple)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: $20 million sanctions against Google and Apple for commercial use of user data* The Authority has found two violations of the Consumer Code, one for information deficiencies and another for aggressive practices regarding the acquisition and use of consumer data The Italian Competition (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority suspends its investigation into a possible price-fixing cartel between several supermarkets due to the conclusion of a new collective agreement
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM suspends investigation into possible wage-fixing cartel between supermarkets after conclusion of collective agreement* There are indications that several supermarkets in February made arrangements regarding a limited wage increase of 2.5 percent for their employees. This was found by the (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority initiates proceedings in the Competition Tribunal against 3 mailing equipment companies for their participation in a cartel regarding the sale of inserters (Quadient / Toppan Forms / Smartech Business Systems)
Hong Kong Competition Commission (Wanchai)
Competition Commission takes inserter cartel case to Competition Tribunal* First case to be fully resolved under the Commission’s Cooperation and Settlement Policy The Competition Commission (“Commission”) has today commenced proceedings in the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) against three (...)

The Australian Competition Authority institutes Federal Court proceedings against a Hong Kong based power tool supplier for resale price maintenance (Techtronic)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Techtronic in court for alleged resale price maintenance over power tools* The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Techtronic Industries Australia Pty Limited (Techtronic), alleging it engaged in resale price maintenance in relation to the wholesale supply of Milwaukee brand (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes its guidelines on the premature deletion of an entry in the register for public procurement
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Competition Register for Public Procurement – Bundeskartellamt publishes guidelines and practical guide on premature deletion of an entry due to self-cleaning* The Bundeskartellamt has today published guidelines on the premature deletion of an entry in the Competition Register and a practical (...)

The French Competition Authority initiates proceedings against 2 maritime shipping companies for suspected collusion and market sharing (P&O / DFDS)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Cross-Channel freight transport: the General Rapporteur states that two shipping companies have been notified of objections* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence states that objections have been notified this week in the short sea cross-Channel freight shipping sector. On (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority rejects an individual exemption application between two online retailers which agreed not to bid for the keywords relevant to their rival’s brand (Modanisa / Sefamerve)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Authority Evaluates a Request from Modanisa for an Individual Exemption or Negative Clearance for the Settlement Agreement Regarding Restricting on Branded Keyword Bidding* This case summary includes an analysis of the Turkish Competition Board’s (“Board”) (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against 3 entrepreneurs for bid rigging in public procurement procedures for renovation and construction services (Antczak Sprzątanie Remonty Handel / Tech-Fen / Kamastra)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Bid rigging - three proceedings* The President of UOKiK initiated proceedings concerning bid rigging. Charges were brought against three entrepreneurs who may have influenced the results of public contract procedures concerning renovation and construction services. UOKiK has received (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority fines a regional public bus authority for extending procurement contracts without the requisite procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic (Skånetrafiken) Free
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Skånetrafiken was wrong not to perform procurement of welfare transportation* Using the outbreak of the coronavirus as an argument, Skånetrafiken extended an agreement on welfare transportation without a prior procurement procedure. The pandemic was not a reason not to perform a procurement (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority closes an investigation against a financial services company after it allegedly denied a competitor access to its ATM network, in contrast to the access granted to other entities (Euro 6000)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CNMC has ended proceedings for breach of Article 101 TFEU and 1 LDC against EURO 6000 on 2 November. The proceedings were opened on February 2020 because of the concern that EURO 6000 (comprising several banks) may have denied ING access to its ATM network, in contrast to the access granted (...)

The EU Commission fines an Italian canned food retailer €20 million for participating in a canned vegetable cartel (Conserve Italia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Conserve Italia €20 million for participating in canned vegetables cartel* The European Commission has fined Conserve Italia Soc. coop. agricola and its subsidiary Conserves France S.A. (together ‘Conserve Italia’) a total of € 20 000 000 for breaching EU antitrust (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against three entrepreneurs for alleged bid rigging (Antczak Sprzątanie / Remonty Handel /Tech-Fen)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Bid rigging - three proceedings* The President of UOKiK initiated proceedings concerning bid rigging. Charges were brought against three entrepreneurs who may have influenced the results of public contract procedures concerning renovation and construction services. UOKiK has received (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority concludes its disciplinary proceedings against a company’s ATM network, and imposes on all its member entities several binding commitments and 3-year monitoring (Euro 6000)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC concludes its disciplinary proceedings against EURO 6000* The CNMC investigated Euro 6000 over its alleged strategy of denying ING access to its ATM network under the same terms and conditions as other entities. The case was concluded through a “commitment decision”, a formula that (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority fines the national basketball league and 10 basketball clubs for agreeing not to pay their players after having to terminate the 2019-2020 basketball championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga) Free
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
By agreeing to pay players’ salaries Lithuanian basketball league and its clubs infringed competition law* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba found that the Lithuanian Basketball League (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga – LKL) and 10 basketball clubs concluded an anti-competitive (...)

The EU Court of Justice reconfirms fundamental principles regarding vertical restraints and intrabrand restrictions, by underscoring the fact that many vertical restrictions would elude Article 101 (Visma)
University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law
Visma and the notion of vertical restrictions* On the 18th of November, the European Court of Justice delivered its Visma ruling, that regardless of some important observations, appears to have largely gone unnoticed by the anti-trust community. Probably, overshadowed by the General Court (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines paper manufacturers for using a trade association to collude and increase prices (Paper Cartel)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere attendance in meetings where commercially sensitive information such as pricing is discussed, influences and takes away the independent decision making ability of the competitors. They can no longer independently decide the price related policies in the market and therefore, (...)

The EU Court of Justice offers guidance on customer priority clauses in software distribution contracts by reaffirming fundamental principles regarding vertical restraints and intrabrand restrictions (Visma)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 November 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ” or “Court”) issued a preliminary ruling in a case referred by a Latvian court concerning the interpretation of Article 101(1) and (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) in relation to a clause in a software (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces that a national pharmaceutical company has pleaded guilty to criminal cartel charges (Alkaloids of Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Pharmaceutical ingredient company pleads guilty to criminal cartel charges* Alkaloids of Australia Pty Ltd, a company which produces a pharmaceutical ingredient used in anti-spasmodic medication, has today pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €203M on two Big Tech companies for discriminatorily selecting re-sellers of one company’s products on the other company’s e-commerce platform (Apple / Beats)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 November 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of € 68.7 million on Amazon and € 134.5 million on Apple for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) with regard to the distribution of Apple products over Amazon Marketplace (...)

The EU Commission fines three car manufacturers €875M for collusion over technical development of emission technologies (BMW / Daimler / VW)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On November 12, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined automotive manufacturers—namely Daimler, BMW, and the Volkswagen Group (collectively, the “Undertakings”)—for a total amount of EUR 875,189,000 for breach of Article 101(1) of the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) and (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority launches an investigation into allegations of abuse of dominance in the oil market (Lukoil)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
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Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
Bulgaria: Abuse of dominance investigations against Lukoil* Background Starting from 2009, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (“BCPC”) has conducted several sector inquiries and investigations on the oil market in Bulgaria – a sector giving rise to serious allegations for (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes an investigation into possible cartelisation and bid rigging amongst road construction firms (Uttar Pradesh Road Construction Cartel)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere commonality of ownership of participating firms is not sucient to conclude bid rigging in the absence of any material indicating collusion. BRIEF FACTS Based on an audit report by Comptroller and Auditor General (“CAG”) on construction management in road works in Uttar Pradesh (...)

The French Competition Authority indicates that unannounced inspections into anticompetitive practices have been carried out in the food retail sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the food retail sector* Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the investigation services of the Autorité de la concurrence have raided yesterday the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority is investigating potential bid rigging by the Ministry of Defense in tenders for the supply, maintenance and upgrade of military equipment
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC is investigating potential bid rigging by the Spanish Ministry of Defence* The Commission is looking into alleged agreements involving bid rigging and sharing contracts related to the supply, maintenance of upgrade of military equipment. Early this month, the Commission conducted new (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a video surveillance equipment manufacturer and three of its eight wholesalers for price fixing and online sale restriction (Motobix / ACTN / BE IP / EDOX)
Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University
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Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University
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Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University
Vertical agreement - Imposed resale prices and restriction of online sales: A video surveillance equipment manufacturer was sanctioned by the French Competition Authority for imposing resale prices on its wholesalers and for restricting online sales (FCA., dec n°21-D-26 of November 8th, 2021 (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a video surveillance manufacturer and its wholesalers € 1.4 million for concluding anticompetitive agreements (Mobotix)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines video surveillance manufacturer Mobotix and its wholesalers for anticompetitive agreements* Background Following an investigation report sent by the French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), the Autorité (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its recommendation for replacing the retained Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
On 3 November, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to replace the EU Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation or ” VABER” with a UK Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order (“UK (...)

The Estonian Competition Authority imposes a fine of €10,000 on an wholesale energy company for breach of mandatory disclosure obligations (Elering)
Estonian Competition Authority (Tallinn)
Estonian Competition Authority imposed a fine on Elering AS for violating the rules of the wholesale energy market* On 29 October 2021, the Estonian Competition Authority imposed a fine on Elering AS for violating the Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council (...)

The Australian Competition Authority warns public agencies on the risks of potential collusion between bidders during procurement processes
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Warning on cartel conduct risk in public sector tenders* The ACCC is warning public sector agencies to be alert to the potential for collusion between bidders during procurement processes, following a recent ACCC investigation where departmental processes contemplated cooperation by competing (...)

The Australian Competition Authority warns the government against bid rigging in public tenders
Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Melbourne)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") also cautions government agencies to be alert to potential bid rigging in the procurement process for public tenders. The ACCC cautioned agencies of the Australian government (the "Government") to be on guard against "bid-rigging" (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority issues record €1.128B fine against a Big Tech company for merging its platform marketplace and its distribution operations thereby shutting out rival distributors (Amazon)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
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European University Institute (Florence)
Early last month, the Italian competition authority issued a record 1.128 billion euro fine against Amazon for abuse of dominance under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In its order, the Agenzia Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) essentially (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures improved commitments from a Big Tech company on its proposals to remove third-party cookies and other functionalities from its browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA secures improved commitments on Google’s Privacy Sandbox* The CMA has secured improved commitments from Google on its proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. It has been investigating Google’s proposals since the start of the year due to (...)

The Slovenian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against alleged abuse of dominant position on the market for the processing of waste grave candles (Plastkom)
Slovenian Competition Authority (Ljubljana)
Sector inquiry into EV charging infrastructure: AFCA launches comprehensive market inquiry* As part of the sector inquiry into EV charging infrastructure, which the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) got under way in November 2021 (see also AFCA’s press release of 16 November 2021), (...)

The Russian Competition Authority imposes a fine on a telecommunications company for abuse of dominance (Tele2)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia fined Tele2 for the abuse of its dominant position* The authority initiated an administrative offense case against the company and imposed a 825,500 rubles fine on the telecom operator for the abuse of its dominant position on November 22 [1]. In January 2021, the company (...)

The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice confirms a telecommunications operator abused its dominant position and reduces the fine imposed by the Competition Authority (Vodafone)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The High Court of Cassation and Justice confirmed the abuse of dominant position of Vodafone* The High Court of Cassation and Justice irrevocably confirmed the violation of the Competition Law by Vodafone which abused of its dominant position in relation with SC Netmaster Communications SRL. (...)

The Irish Competition Authority publishes a report on ticketing investigation (Ticketmaster)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC publishes report on ticketing investigation* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today published its report on the recently concluded investigation into ticketing services. The investigation report details how the CCPC was concerned that Ticketmaster Ireland may (...)

The EU General Court confirms that “self-preferencing” by a Big Tech company can infringe Article 102 TFEU (Google Shopping)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Toyota
On 10 November 2021, the European General Court (“EGC” or “Court”) delivered its landmark Google Shopping judgment, the first judicial pronouncement on “self-preferencing” as a viable theory of harm under Article 102 TFEU. The EGC fully endorsed the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision that (...)

The EU General Court largely dismisses a Big Tech company’s appeal against the Commission’s decision finding it had abused its dominant position by favoring its own comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services* The General Court upholds the fine of €2.42 billion imposed on (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission’s decision finding a Big Tech company guilty of abuse of dominance by favouring its own comparison shopping service on its general results pages (Google Shopping)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
With its judgment of 10th November 2021, Europe’s General Court did not just dismiss Google’s appeal against the European Commission’s Google Search (Shopping) decision, uphold the fine, tell gatekeepers “don’t be evil,” and remind everyone that Europe ensures equal opportunities. The Court also (...)

The EU General Court confirms Commission’s decision to fine a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position in online search by discriminating against comparison shopping services to favour its own offering (Google Shopping)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
Google’s flagship product is the Google search engine, which provides search results to consumers, who pay for the service with their data. Almost 90% of Google’s revenues stem from adverts, such as those it shows consumers in response to a search query. In 2004, Google entered the separate (...)

The EU General Court upholds a €2.42B fine imposed on a Big Tech company and dismisses an appeal against the Competition Authority’s decision (Google Shopping)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
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Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
The General Court has today dismissed Google’s appeal of the European Commission’s Google Shopping Decision from June 2017 and has upheld the EUR 2.42 billion fine imposed on Google – a record fine at the time. The General Court agreed with the European Commission’s finding (in its vast majority) (...)

The EU General Court delivers judgment which confirms the Commission’s decision and finds a Big Tech guilty for abuse of dominance by favouring its own comparison shopping services on its general result pages (Google shopping) New
Geradin Partners (Brussels)
General Court of the EU delivers landmark Google Shopping judgment (Google and Alphabet v Commission, T-612/17) Introduction On 10 November 2021, the General Court (“the Court”) delivered its judgment in case T-612/17, Google and Alphabet v Commission, largely upholding the European (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority imposes a substantial fine on a supermarket for predatory pricing (SPAR Hrvatska)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
UNFAIR TRADING PRACTICES: CCA IMPOSES HRK 1.3M FINE ON SPAR HRVATSKA D.O.O.* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) fined SPAR Hrvatska d.o.o. HRK 1.3 million for serious infringement of the Croatian Act on the prohibition of unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a sugar and molasses producer for abuse of dominance through excessively limiting supply contracts with rum distilleries (Tereos Océan Indien)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines Tereos Océan Indien for abuse of a dominant position* Background Following a complaint lodged by the company Réunionnaise du Rhum, the Autorité de la concurrence has fined the sugar and molasses producer Tereos Océan Indien (TOI) 750,000 euros for abusing its (...)

The Croatian Administrative Court in Zagreb upholds the fine against a food wholesaler for using its market power to implement unfair trade practices (Kaufland Hrvatska)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
UTPS: ADMINISTRATIVE COURT IN ZAGREB UPHOLDS CCA DECISION SANCTIONING KAUFLAND HRK 1.1 MIL FOR IMPOSITION OF UNFAIR TRADING PRACTICES* The Administrative Court in Zagreb completely rejected the statement of claim of the re-seller Kaufland Hrvatska k.d. in the administrative dispute against the (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal rejects an appeal by a Big Tech firm which sought to block an order forcing the firm to unwind an acquisition, however, the case is referred back to the Competition Authority on a procedural error (Meta / Giphy)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 30 November 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) concluded its Phase 2 investigation into Meta’s completed acquisition of Giphy (which closed in May 2020), ordering Meta to reverse the deal and sell Giphy to a CMA-approved purchaser (for further details, see VBB on (...)

The UK Competition Authority requires a Big Tech company to sell a GIF creation platform it acquired after finding that the deal could harm social media users and national advertisers (Meta / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA directs Facebook to sell Giphy* The CMA requires Facebook (which has recently renamed itself ‘Meta’) to sell Giphy, after finding that the deal could harm social media users and UK advertisers. In line with its Phase 2 provisional findings issued in August, the Competition and Markets (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears the proposed acquisition of joint control of a tourism and sporting facility (Temes / Autohellas)
Hellenic Competition Commission (Athens)
Clearance of the proposed acquisition by TEMES and AUTOHELLAS of joint control over SPORTSLAND* Subject: Clearance of the proposed acquisition by TEMES and AUTOHELLAS of joint control over SPORTSLAND By its unanimous Decision No. 753/2021, the Chamber of the Hellenic Competition Commission (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority decides that further investigation is needed into the acquisition of a holiday village park chain by its competitor (Landal / Roompot)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
Further investigation needed into acquisition of holiday village park chain Landal by rival chain Roompot* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has decided that a further investigation is needed into the acquisition of holiday village park chain Landal by rival chain (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that the proposed merger between two container handling equipment suppliers raises competition concerns (Cargotec / Konecranes)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Port equipment merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has provisionally found that the proposed merger of Cargotec and Konecranes raises competition concerns in the supply of container handling equipment. Image showing shipping containers with a machine moving them Cargotec and (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority approves the purchase of a retail gas station by an independent retail gas site operator, following the commitment by its previous owners, within a merger approval procedure, to sell said gas station to preserve competition in the supply of retail gasoline in Kemptville (Centex Petroleum / Quickie)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau preserves competition in supply of retail gasoline in Kemptville, Ontario* The Competition Bureau has approved Centex Petroleum as the purchaser of the Quickie gas station in Kemptville, Ontario. The Bureau, MacEwen Petroleum Inc. and Grant Castle Corp had entered into a (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves the takeover of a national producer of agricultural goods and equipment by a Czech company and an individual (Agronom / Agrofert / Aarko Aračić)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council approved the taking over of Agronom D.O.O. by Agrofert A.S. and DL. Aarko Aračić* The Competition Council approved the transaction by which Agrofert a.s. from the Czech Republic and Mr. Darko Aračić jointly takes over Agronomist d.o.o., Croatia. Agrofert Group a.s. is (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority initiates an administrative proceeding over proposed acquisitions of a delivery firm and an online shopping platform by a Luxembourg-based e-commerce platform (Allegro / Mall Group / WEDO)
Slovak Competition Authority (Bratislava)
MERGERS: AMO SR initiated an administrative proceeding in the matter of merger of undertakings Allegro.eu, Mall Group, a.s., and WEDO CZ, s.r.o.* AMO SR initiated an administrative proceeding in the matter of merger grounded in the acquisition of inidrect exclusive control by undertaking (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of a national cosmetic medical company by a Dutch investment fund (Morphosis / Clinica Medical Service)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council approved the taking over of Clinica Medical Service S.R.L. By Morphosis Capital Fund I Cooperatief U.A.* The Competition Council approved the transaction through which Morphosis Capital Fund I Cooperatief U.A. takes over Clinic Medical Service S.R.L. and, indirectly, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority is not opposed to the proposed acquisition of a plagiarism prevention platform by its competitor (Turnitin / Ouriginal)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Turnitin’s proposed acquisition of Ouriginal* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Ouriginal Group AB (Ouriginal) by Turnitin LLC, via Turnitin UK Ltd. (Turnitin). Turnitin and Ouriginal are international providers of anti-plagiarism software, overlapping (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the proposed merger between two national banks (Citi / National Australia Bank)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
NAB’s proposed acquisition of Citi’s Australian consumer business not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Citigroup Australia Pty Limited’s Australian consumer business (Citi) by National Australia Bank Limited (ASX: NAB) after a review found the transaction would not (...)

The US FTC approves the modification of remedies regarding the acquisition of a natural gas joint venture by a gas transmission pipeline (DTE Energy / Nexus)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Modification of Final Order Related to NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC, a Natural Gas Joint Venture* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a petition by DTE Energy Company to reopen and modify the FTC’s 2019 final order. The order remedied the (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of a family-owned plastic and foam manufacturer by its competitor (Greiner / Recticel)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Recticel by Greiner* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Recticel by Greiner under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority consents to the merger between two pharmaceutical companies subject to conditions (Doz / Euro-Apteka)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Conditional consent of the President of UOKiK to the concentration in the pharmaceutical market* Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK, has given the consent for DOZ to take control over Euro-Apteka, Super Zdrowie and MLV18. The transaction may be completed subject to the sale of the pharmacy (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules that where consideration in a public acquisition is not adequate shareholders may be entitled to sue
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
,
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
,
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
RECENT CASE LAW RELATING TO PUBLIC TENDER OFFERS UNDER THE GERMAN SECURITIES ACQUISITION AND TAKEOVER ACT (WPÜG): The German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) pronounced on November 23, 2021 two judgments in parallel proceedings that may have landmark effect. In contrast to the FCJ’s earlier (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves interconnected transaction between a national and international logistics services company whereby they will share amongst themselves national and international shipments respectively (FedEx India / Delhivery)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
FedEx Express Transportation and Supply Chain Services (India) Private Limited (“FedEx India”) is a subsidiary of Federal Express Europe Inc., which is ultimately held by FedEx Corporation, USA (“FedEx”), one of the largest express transportation companies in the world. Delhivery Limited (...)

The US DoJ launches 3 antitrust enforcement actions against companies in the airline, publishing and sugar industries (American Airlines / JetBlue / Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster / U.S. Sugar / Imperial Sugar)
Bona Law (Detroit)
,
Bona Law (San Diego)
Meanwhile, the DOJ Antitrust Division Launches Merger Challenges in the Airline, Publishing, and Sugar Industries* As we have reported numerous times (most recently here), the Federal Trade Commission has been making headlines with some controversial changes to U.S. merger review procedures, (...)

The US DoJ prohibits the merger between two national sugar producers (U.S. Sugar / Imperial Sugar)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block U.S. Sugar’s Proposed Acquisition of Imperial Sugar* Acquisition Would Eliminate Significant Refined Sugar Producer in the Southeastern United States The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to stop United States Sugar Corporation (U.S. (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority approves two acquisitions active in the freight forwarding industry (Ján Sabol / International Biofuel Investment PTE / Robert Spišák / Štefan Tóth / International Renewable Investment PTE)
Slovak Competition Authority (Bratislava)
MERGERS: AMO SR approved the intention of merger of undertakings JUDr. Ján Sabol, Ing. Robert Spišák, PhD. and Ing. Štefan Tóth* AMO SR approveved the acquisition of control of undertaking JUDr. Ján Sabol over undertaking International Biofuel Investment PTE. LTD. and the control of undertakings (...)

The Australian Competition Authority issues a draft determination to allow joint marketing arrangements for natural gas produced from the Northern Territory’s Mereenie gas field
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Mereenie gas joint marketing to be allowed under ACCC draft determination* The ACCC has issued a draft determination to allow joint marketing arrangements for natural gas produced from the Northern Territory’s Mereenie gas field. The Mereenie oil and gas field is located in the Amadeus Basin, (...)

The Maltese Competition proceed to a phase II investigation over the acquisition of land for supermarket sites in updated decision (Lidl / Said Investments / Scotts)
Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (Ħamrun)
Office for Competition | Decision* The Office for Competition started a phase II investigation on the proposed acquisition by Lidl Immobiliare Malta Limited of property at Żabbar belonging to Said Investments Limited and lease belonging to Scotts Limited to operate ‘Lidl’ supermarket. The Office (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority reaches an agreement to address competition concerns with the merger of two of the largest national pulp and paper manufacturers (Paper Excellence / Domtar)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau reaches agreement with Paper Excellence to preserve competition in British Columbia’s pulp and paper industry* The Competition Bureau announced today that it has reached an agreement to address competition concerns with the merger of two of Canada’s largest pulp and paper (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between a Big Tech company and a CRM platform (Meta / Kustomer)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Meta’s proposed acquisition of Kustomer* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc. Kustomer is a small customer relationship management (CRM) software-as-a-service provider based in the USA that focuses on (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds in Phase I 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 found that CHC’s completed purchase of Babcock’s oil and gas offshore helicopter business raises competition concerns in the UK. CHC and Babcock’s oil and gas offshore helicopter business (the Babcock Business) both provide (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority prohibits acquisition transaction between two mutual funds companies (DNB / Sbanken)
Norwegian Competition Authority (Bergen)
DNB not allowed to  acquire  Sbanken*  The Norwegian Competition Authority has decided to prohibit DNB’s acquisition of  Sbanken. After having considered the proposed remedies, the Authority is still of the view that the acquisition will weaken competition in the market for mutual funds. This may (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority green-lights the acquisition of an electronics wholesaler by its French rival following an in-depth investigation (Sonepar Magyarország Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató / Újfa-Vill Kereskedelmi)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH greenlit the merger of electronics wholesalers* 15 November 2021, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) authorised the French acquisition of ownership in a Hungarian electronic product wholesaler. The investigation established that the transaction would not significantly (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears 71.25% purchase of a national asset manager by a newly minted Singaporean company which itself is owned by large global asset manager (BCP TopCo XII Pte / ASK Investment Managers)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by BCP TopCo XII Pte Ltd. (“Acquirer”) pursuant to a Share Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) between itself and ASK Investment Managers Limited (“Target”), persons set out in the SPA and the Shareholders Agreement, inter alia between the Acquirer and the Target. The Acquirer and the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority clears a merger in the healthcare sector on condition that part of the healthcare business in the cities and districts of Kaunas and Šiauliai is sold (InMedica / INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund / Litgaja / RP Pharma)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Merger in healthcare sector cleared subject to commitments* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has cleared the acquisition of joint control of InMedica and, indirectly, MediCA klinika, Kardiolita, Bendrosios medicinos praktika and Svalbono klinika by the investment fund (...)

The US DoJ requires substantial divestitures and the waiving of the non-compete agreement before clearing a merger between two information providers (S&P Global / IHS Markit)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Substantial Divestitures and Waiver of a Non-Compete for S&P to Proceed with its Merger with IHS Markit* Divestitures Will Preserve Competition Among Commodity Price Reporting Agencies and Waiver of Non-Compete Will Promote Competition for the Sale of Retail Gas (...)

The US FTC approves modifications to a pharmaceutical company’s divestiture agreement in the context of its previous acquisition of a competitor (Bristol Meyers Squibb / Celgene)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Modifications to Bristol Meyers Squibb Divestiture Agreement* The Federal Trade Commission has approved certain modifications to Bristol Meyers Squibb’s, or BMS’s, Divestiture Agreements that the FTC approved and incorporated into its order as part of a consent that was required (...)

The US FTC requires two generic drug marketing companies to divest rights and assets on two generic products as a condition for the merger (ANI Pharmaceuticals / Novitium Pharma)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Requires Generic Drug Marketers ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Novitium Pharma LLC to Divest Rights and Assets to Two Generic Products as Condition of Merger* Order preserves competition in U.S. markets for generic sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim oral suspension and generic dexamethasone The (...)

The US FTC and DoJ, which rejected the legitimacy of the "portfolio effects" doctrine over 20 years ago, could revisit their opinion over the acquisition of a brewery by a Japanese beverages company (Bell’s Brewery / Kirin)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Bell’s Brewery Sale May Tap Into Longstanding Portfolio Effects Debate* The announced acquisition of Bell’s Brewery by Japanese conglomerate Kirin provides an opportunity to reexamine the much-maligned “portfolio effects” doctrine of merger analysis. Bell’s, the Michigan-based craft brewer of (...)

The US DoJ requires divestitures following the proposed merger between a national dairy company and a food and beverage producer (Lactalis / Kraft Heinz)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Lactalis’s Acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s Natural Cheese Business in the United States* Divestitures of Kraft Heinz’s Athenos and Polly-O Businesses Will Preserve Competition in the Sale of Feta and Ricotta Cheese The Department of Justice announced (...)

The US FTC approves a final order requiring a national convenience store chain to divest itself of several of its gas stations for impeding competition in several States (7-Eleven / Speedway)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Divestitures of Hundreds of Retail Gas and Diesel Fuel Stations Owned by 7-Eleven, Inc.* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that 7-Eleven’s acquisition of Marathon’s Speedway subsidiary (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority launches a public debate over an online food delivery platform’s proposals to mitigate competition concerns arising from the potential acquisition of German rivals (Glovoappro / Foodpanda / Delivery Hero)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council launches for public debate the commitments proposed by Glovoappro s.r.l. to take over Foodpanda ro s.r.l. and Delivery Hero dmart s.r.l.* The Competition Council launches for public debate the commitments formulated by Glovoappro S.R.L. (“Glovo”) in order to eliminate the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its final remittal report deciding to block a completed acquisition by sports-inspired casual footwear and apparel retailer of its rival (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 5 November 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final remittal report into the completed acquisition by sports-inspired casual footwear and apparel retailer JD Sports (“JD”) of rival Footasylum, deciding (once again) to block the transaction. This is the latest (...)

The Italian Government approves a draft annual law for competition aligning national merger control rules to EU standards and extending the scope of the Competition Authority’s enforcement powers
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (London)
,
White & Case (Milan)
After several delays, on November 4, 2021, the Italian Council of Ministers examined and finally approved the draft Annual Law for Competition ("Draft") pursuant to Article 47 of Law No. 99/2009. The Draft reflects most of the proposals sent to the Italian government by the Italian Competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority orders a sneaker and apparel retailer to sell one of its companies to preserve competition (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA requires JD Sports to sell Footasylum* The CMA has instructed JD Sports to sell Footasylum after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the takeover could lead to a substantial reduction in competition and a (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority approves a merger between two petrol distributors (ORLEN Unipetrol / Fontee)
Slovak Competition Authority (Bratislava)
MERGERS: AMO SR approved the merger of undertaking ORLEN Unipetrol, a.s., and the part of undertaking Fontee, s.r.o.* AMO SR approved a merger grounded in the acquisition of indirect exclusive control of the undertaking ORLEN Unipetrol over the part of undertaking Fontee, s.r.o. On 4 November (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority clears the acquisition of perfumery by a French competitor (Jacques Bogart / Fann-Parfumérie)
Slovak Competition Authority (Bratislava)
MERGERS: AMO SR approved the merger of undertakings Jacques Bogart S.A. and FAnn-parfumérie, s.r.o.*AMO SR approved a merger grounded in the acquisition of direct exclusive control of the undertaking Jacques Bogart S.A. over the undertaking FAnn-parfumérie, s.r.o. On 2 November 2021 the (...)

The US DoJ files a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the merger of two of the "Big 5" publishers (Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
DOJ Seeks to Close the Book on Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster* On November 2, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) once again demonstrated its renewed resolve to block anticompetitive concentrations by filing a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Penguin Random (...)

The Indian Competition Authority unconditionally approves merger between two life insurance companies without finalizing the market definition because the merger would have low market shares in all potential relevant markets (HDFC Life Insurance / Exide Life Insurance)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (“Acquirer/HDFC Life”) pursuant to the execution of a Share Purchase and Share Swap Agreement, between HDFC Life, Exide Life Insurance Company Limited (“Target/Exide Life”), and Exide Industries Limited (‘Exide Industries’). The Acquirer and (...)

The US DoJ prohibits a merger between two competing national publishing companies (Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Rival Publisher Simon & Schuster* Merger Would Create Publishing Behemoth, Harming Authors and Consumers The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block Penguin Random House’s proposed (...)

The US DOJ blocks the merger between two major international book publishers (Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
,
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Will the Next Chapter in DOJ’s Showdown With Book Publishers Rewrite the Book on Antitrust Merger Enforcement?* Federal antitrust enforcers hope to write a new chapter on merger enforcement this year as they face off against leading publishers. One of the major antitrust developments last year (...)

State Aid

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian aid for zero-emission hydrogen vessels (Topeka)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA greenlights Norwegian aid for zero-emission hydrogen vessels Illustration / Topeka* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved NOK 219 million (EUR 21.73m) in Norwegian state aid for the purchase of two zero-emission hydrogen vessels being developed under the Topeka Nattruten (...)

The EU Commission approves a €700 million French scheme to support certain companies particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures put in place by the government to limit the spread of the virus Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves EUR 700 million French scheme to compensate for damage suffered by certain companies due to the coronavirus pandemic.* The European Commission has approved, under the EU State aid rules, a EUR 700 million French scheme to support certain companies particularly (...)

The EU Commission approves the 2022-2027 regional aid map for Lithuania
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Lithuania* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Lithuania’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 adopts its revised communication on the criteria for the analysis of the compatibility with the internal market of State aid to promote the execution of important projects of common European interest “IPCEI”
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
DalDeWolf (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 25 November 2021, the Commission adopted its revised Communication on the Criteria for the analysis of the compatibility with the internal market of State aid to promote the execution of important projects of common European interest (“IPCEI”). This is particularly relevant for companies who (...)

The EU Commission adopts revised guidance setting out the criteria to assess Important Projects of Common European Interest under EU State aid rules
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Situation: The European Commission ("Commission") has adopted revised guidance setting out the criteria to assess Important Projects of Common European Interest ("IPCEI") under EU State aid rules ("Communication"). The Background: IPCEIs are cross-border projects that overcome (...)

The EU Commission declares a tax on financial institutions with liabilities exceeding €15.1B compatible with EU State aid rules notwithstanding its selective nature New
Maastricht University
A Non-Selective Financial Tax with a Narrow Scope* The scope of a tax must be objectively defined in order for those excluded from the tax not to benefit from a selective advantage. Introduction Taxes are burdens, so they fall outside the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU which prohibits (...)

The EU Commission approves a €2.27 billion Greek aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources and high efficiency combined heat and power
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.27 billion Greek aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources and high efficiency combined heat and power* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €2.27 billion Greek scheme for the production of (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Croatia
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Croatia* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Croatia’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 2022-2027 regional aid map for Estonia
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Estonia* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Estonia’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 launches a targeted public consultation on a proposed revision of the Guidelines on State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks
DG COMP (Brussels)
State Aid: Commission invites comments on proposed revision of EU State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks* The European Commission has today launched a targeted public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on a proposed revision of the Guidelines on State aid (...)

The EU Commission adopts a sixth amendment to the temporary framework for State aid to combat COVID-19 pandemic Free
Maastricht University
6th Revision of the Temporary Framework for Covid-19 State Aid* Introduction On Thursday, 18 November 2021, the European Commission adopted a sixth amendment to the Temporary Framework [TF] for State aid measures to combat covid-19. The document laying down the new amendments can be accessed (...)

The EU Commission sets out the future of the Temporary Framework to support economic recovery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission sets out future of Temporary Framework to support economic recovery in context of coronavirus outbreak* Today, the European Commission has decided to prolong until 30 June 2022 the State aid Temporary Framework (currently set to expire by 31 December 2021). In order to (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority concludes that no State aid was provided to two of Iceland’s state-owned banks (Landsbankinn / Íslandsbanki)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA concludes no state aid was provided to Iceland’s Landsbankinn and Íslandsbanki* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today closed a complaint case brought by Arion Banki, a privately owned bank, in which it alleged that Iceland’s two state-owned banks – Landsbankinn and Íslandsbanki – (...)

The EU Commission approves an investment aid for an energy infrastructure project in northern Greece that amounts to €364 million (LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis)
Maastricht University
Public Funding of an Energy Infrastructure Project* State aid up to 100% of the funding gap of a project can be compatible with the internal market. Introduction The European Commission approved investment aid for a Liquefied Natural Gas [LNG] terminal in Alexandroupolis in northern Greece (...)

The EU Court of Justice applies the market economy investor principle when assessing whether commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings are free of State aid (Autostrada Wielkopolska)
Maastricht University
First Case of a “Private Debtor” Test?* A public authority acting as a “private debtor” tries to minimise the amount that it has to pay. Introduction In assessing whether commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings are free of State aid, the European Commission and EU (...)

The EU Commission approves a €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The (...)

The EU General Court rejects an appeal by a recipient of illegal aid who requested that the Commission declare the aid compatible with the internal market even though the member state concerned had failed to notify the Commission (Solar Electric)
Maastricht University
Illegal Aid Cannot be Regularised a Posteriori* A Commission decision finding non-notified aid to be compatible with the internal market cannot remedy the illegality that existed before the Commission decision. Introduction In November 2021, the General Court rejected an appeal by the (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority issues its first recovery order since the enactment of the Serbian State Aid Control Act (Geox)
BDK (Belgrade)
The first recovery order since the enactment of the Serbian State Aid Control Act was issued on 1 November 2021. It directs the Ministry of Finance to recover from the Serbian subsidiary of the Italian shoe-maker Geox a total of approximately RSD 414 million (approx. EUR 3.5 million), with (...)

Procedures

The UK Supreme Court dismisses a single claimant’s landmark class action attempt against a Big Tech company for alleged contraventions of data protection law, but lowers the bar for future representative actions (Google / Lloyd)
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
On 10 November 2021, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of Google in a landmark judgment against an attempt by a single claimant, Mr Richard Lloyd, to bring a representative action on behalf of a class of 4 million iPhone users relating to Google’s alleged contraventions of data protection (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission releases its first annual FDI Screening Report on the screening of foreign direct investment in the Union
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 November 2021, the European Commission published its first Annual Report on the screening of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) into the Union. Key messages of the report are: (i) a growing number of Member States are introducing new, or broadening the scope of existing, FDI screening (...)

The EU Commission publishes its first annual report on the new European cooperation mechanism regarding the screening of foreign direct investment
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
The European Commission (“EC”) recently published its first annual report on the new European cooperation mechanism regarding the screening of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) into the EU (the “Report”). The Report shows that four out of every five FDI filings screened at the EU level were quickly (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on a competition policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, digital, and resilient European economy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges (“Communication”). There has been a significant push toward a more European Union-centred industrial policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, (...)

The UK Competition Authority invites views on commitments proposed by major national chargepoint operator to pave the way for opening up competition in charging of the electric vehicles sector (Gridserve / Electric Highway)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to open up electric vehicle charging competition on motorways* CMA action is paving the way for greater investment, greater choice, and competition on prices for electric vehicle drivers, by opening up competition in the charging sector. CMA Chief Executive says “Healthy competition is key (...)

The UK Government releases the National Security and Investment Act, introducing a new foreign direct investment regime with standalone powers for the review of FDI
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 4 January 2022 the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act enters into force, introducing a new foreign direct investment (FDI) regime with standalone powers for the review of FDI in the UK. The new regime replaces the existing public interest merger regime provisions of the Enterprise (...)

The Italian Government approves the draft annual law for competition
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
After several delays, on November 4, 2021, the Italian Council of Ministers examined and finally approved the draft Annual Law for Competition ("Draft") pursuant to Article 47 of Law No. 99/2009. The Draft reflects most of the proposals sent to the Italian government by the Italian Competition (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes a press release providing information following the passing of a new law which protects food producers from unfair commercial practices by big buyers
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
Food suppliers can file reports about unfair commercial practices with ACM* The positions of farmers, growers, and fishermen vis-à-vis major buyers have been strengthened. That is the result of the new Dutch Act regarding unfair commercial practices in the agricultural and food supply chain. (...)

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