October 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The Mexican Competition Authority announces its initiation of investigations in diverse oil markets
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
The probes will be carried out in the gasoline and diesel markets, as well as the aviation fuel for national territory.* Today, the Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE or Commission) Investigative Authority published in the Federal Official Gazette and on its website, three (...)

The UK Court of Appeal hands down a follow-on damages claim against a power cable cartel member (BritNed / ABB)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (London)
On 31 October 2019, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ("Court") handed down a significant judgment in relation to BritNed’s follow-on damages claim against a power cable cartel member, ABB. The Court allowed ABB’s cross-appeal in relation to cartel savings, finding that the High Court of (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines trading chain for concluding agreements with some suppliers in the food sector (Marko)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
The Office for the Protection of Competition imposed a fine in amount of CZK 46,560,000 on trading chain MAKRO Cash & Carry ČR s.r.o. ("MAKRO") for violating the Act on Significant Market Power in the Sale of Agricultural and Food Products and Abuse thereof ("Act on Significant Market (...)

The UK Court of Appeal slashes a cartel follow-on damages award and emphasises claimants’ burden to prove losses in a claim brought by power cable manufacturers for market-sharing and customer allocating (BritNed / ABB) New
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
BritNed Development Limited ("BritNed") brought a claim against ABB arising from the European Commission’s 2014 power cables cartel decision. In October 2018, the High Court found that there had been no overcharge but awarded damages for "baked-in inefficiencies" and "cartel savings" plus simple (...)

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies principles governing competition damages and reiterates that judges must base their decisions on the evidence before them by exclusively focusing on the loss of the claimant (BritNed / ABB)
Case Associates (London)
The Court of Appeal in BritNed v ABB [2019] EWCA Civ 1840 has again had to clarify the principles governing competition damages. It reaffirmed the English High Court’s rejection of the claimant’s approach to damages but took issue with the trial judge’s position that damages should err on the side (...)

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore receives the notification for a commercial cooperation covering the scheduling, pricing, sales and marketing between two airlines companies (Singapore Airlines / Malaysia Airlines)
Bird & Bird (Singapore)
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Bird & Bird (Singapore)
Feedback Sought on Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines Cooperation On 30 October 2019, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines notified the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (’’CCCS’’) of a proposed commercial cooperation between the parties covering scheduling, pricing, and (...)

The Australian Competition Authority takes an action against an online platform company for allegedly engaging in misleading conduct and making false or misleading representations to customers (Google)
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
In October 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC") decided to take action against Google LLC and Google Australia Pty Ltd (collectively, "Google") in the Federal Court of Australia for allegedly engaging in misleading conduct and making false or misleading (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau takes steps against misleading representations in online sales of airline tickets (FlightHub)
Commonwealth Secretariat (London)
The old adage appears to ring true yet again: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Canada’s Competition Bureau (Bureau), which assists the Commissioner of Competition (Commissioner) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (Act), announced on 28 October 2019 that (...)

The Indian Competition Commission orders an investigation against online travel agencies for imposing vertical restrictions and abuse of dominance (MakeMyTrip / OYO)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Bengalore)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
Introduction The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (Informant), an association of hotels and restaurants in India, filed an Information with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against MakeMyTrip India Pvt. Ltd. (MMT), Ibibo Group Private Limited (GoIbibo), (...)

The French Competition Authority fines road transport companies for market sharing (Astre)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines the Astre transport group €3.8 million for anticompetitive practices.* Background Following an investigation report sent by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), the Autorité de la concurrence has today (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a group of road transport companies for organising customer allocation practices among its members (Astre) New
University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Ashurst (Paris)
On 28 October 2019, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") fined a group of road transport companies for having organised customer allocation practices among its members. Astre did not challenge the FCA’s objections and applied for settlement. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - KEY TAKEAWAYS On 27 (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes a € 3.8 million fine on a transport association for market sharing (Astre)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 October 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a fine of € 3.8 million on ASTRE, an association of small and medium-sized transport companies, for having introduced in 1997 a non-competition clause into its internal rules of procedure, its articles of association and its (...)

The Spanish Competition and Markets Authority opens formal investigation into 14 companies active in film distribution following concerns over potential anticompetitive practices (Film Distribution)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The CNMC has opened a formal investigation into 14 film distributors following concerns over anticompetitive practices. In particular, the CNMC suspects that large film distribution companies and the company specialising in digital solutions for the film industry, Ymagis, colluded to harmonise (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority presents criminal complaint against individuals who could have colluded in the sale of goods and services in the health sector
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
For the second time, COFECE presents criminal complaint against individuals that could have colluded in the sale of goods and services in the health sector* Mexico City, October 23, 2019.‐ Yesterday, the Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE or Commission) Investigative Authority (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines three construction companies for price-fixing, market sharing and exchange of information (Stanton Bonna Concrete / CPM / FP McCann)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Construction firms fined £36 million for breaking competition law* The CMA has issued 3 firms with fines totalling more than £36 million for breaking competition law in supplying certain concrete drainage products for building projects. Following an investigation by the Competition and Markets (...)

The Rotterdam District Court renders an interim judgement in a private enforcement cartel claim in the lifts and escalators market (Kone / ThyssenKrupp)
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 23 October 2019, the District Court of Rotterdam ("District Court") rendered an interim judgement on a private enforcement cartel claim against Kone and ThyssenKrupp. The private enforcement claim follows fines imposed by the European Commission back in 2007 for a lifts and escalators-cartel (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court confirms the Danish Competition Authority’s decision finding that media agencies have concluded a market sharing agreement (Media Agencies)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Court: Agreement between media agencies constituted anti-competitive customer allocation* Danish Maritime and Commercial Court confirms Competition Council decision: Agreement between media agencies constituted anti-competitive customer allocation. In August 2017, the Danish Competition (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court rules against two companies for entering into an anticompetitive agreement for the purchase and sale of the distribution of unaddressed mail (Mediacenter)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 21 October 2019, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court found two Danish companies, Mediacenter Danmark and MPE Distribution, guilty of having entered into an anticompetitive agreement to share customers on the market for the purchase and sale of the distribution of unaddressed mail. It (...)

The US DOJ opens an investigation of four car manufacturers for possible collusion by entering into an agreement with the State of California on light vehicle emissions and gas mileage standards
Richard Wolfram, Esq. (New York)
THE DOJ INVESTIGATES CAR MANUFACTURERS FOR ’COLLUSSION’ IN THEIR FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT WITH CALIFORNIA ON GAS MILEAGE AND EMISSIONS STANDARDS: SOUNDING THE DEPTHS OF PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION ON ANTICOMPETITIVE COLLUSION AS DISTINGUISHED FROM PROCOMPETITIVE COLLABORATION* At a historic moment in (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines €225,000 the national Order of Pharmacists for limiting the ability of pharmacists to advertise para-pharmaceutical products online (Ordre des Pharmaciens)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 15 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed a fine of EUR 225,000 on the national Order of Pharmacists for adopting, maintaining and implementing provisions of its Deontological Code that limit the ability of pharmacists to advertise para-pharmaceutical products, in (...)

The Brazilian CADE recommends closing an administrative inquiry which investigates potential anticompetitive conducts in the transmission of sensitive information among competitors in the payment market
Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
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Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
On October 14, CADE’s General Superintendence (GS) recommended closing an administrative inquiry investigating potential anticompetitive conduct. Such conduct consisted of the transmission of sensitive information among competitors in the payments market. More specifically, the investigation (...)

The Ukrainian Competition Authority imposes a record-breaking fine totalling € 245.3 million on tobacco companies and their sole ukrainian distributor for concerted practices (Tedis)
Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
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Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
In October 2019, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (the "AMC") imposed a record fine on the Ukrainian subsidiaries of four leading international tobacco producers, namely Philip Morris, JTI, Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco (the "Tobacco Companies"), and (...)

The Australian Director of Public Prosecutions brings criminal charges against a former general manager for obstructing an Australian Competition Authority’s cartel investigation (BlueScope)
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
In our August update , we discussed the proceedings that had been commenced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the Federal Court of Australia against BlueScope Steel Limited (BlueScope) and its former General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Mr Jason Ellis, for (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three companies and their wholesale importers for having set up exclusive import agreements in the distribution of perfumes and cosmetic products market in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and La Réunion (Procter & Gamble / Coty / Chanel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution of perfumes and cosmetics in the French Antilles, French Guiana and La Réunion* The Autorité de la concurrence hands down fines to Procter & Gamble, Coty and Chanel and their wholesale importers for having set up exclusive import agreements. The Lurel Law has prohibited (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority carries out an unannounced inspection in the pharmaceutical sector
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority is conducting inspections in the pharmaceutical sector* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) is currently conducting inspections at the premises of companies suspected of having implemented restrictive practices (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a statement of objections to three pharmaceutical companies over pay-for-delay agreements (Aspen / Amilco / Tiofarma)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (London)
On 3 October 2019 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a Statement of Objections (the “SO”) to three pharmaceutical companies over pay-for-delay agreements in the market for Addison’s disease treatment. In its SO the CMA sets out its provisional view that, in 2016, pharmaceutical (...)

The Spanish Competition and Markets Authority fines companies for participating in a cartel in the industrial assembly and maintenance sector (Montaje Y Mantenimiento Industrial)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The CNMC has dismantled a cartel in the industrial assembly and maintenance sector. According to the CNMC, the practices in question were conducted with the aim of increasing prices in the services provided, mainly, to energy and petrochemical clients. The cartel members engaged in client (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes a guide which sets out the principles of exchanging information between competitors and how it applies to associations of undertakings
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 1 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority published a Guide on the "Exchange of Information in the framework of Associations of Undertakings". The Guide sets out the main principles of exchanging information between competitors and how they apply to associations of undertakings, and (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority issues a guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional association
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional association* After completing the public consultations, the Board of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has adopted on the 1st of October 2019 a guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Mexican Competition Authority initiates an investigation to determine if there are barriers to competition and of essential facilities in the aircraft fuel market
Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
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Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
On October 31, 2019, COFECE published in the Federal Official Gazette an official Notice that initiated an investigation to determine if there are barriers to competition and of essential facilities in the aircraft fuel market, including the production, importation, storage, transportation, (...)

The Administrative Court of Ankara annuls a decision of the Turkish Competition Authority in the electronic communication sector due to the incomplete examination (Dogan / Cisco)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of Ankara 11th Administrative Court’s (the “Administrative Court”) decision (24.10.2019, E. 1315, K. 2115) in which the Administrative Court annulled the Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) decision (15-28/317-95, 07.07.2015) due to the incomplete (...)

The South African Competition Appeal Court dismisses an appeal following the Competition Tribunal’s decision for an abuse of dominance in contravention of the Competition Act (Computicket)
Nortons (Johannesburg)
SOUTH AFRICA: COMPETITION APPEAL COURT CONFIRMS TRIBUNAL FINDING IN COMPUTICKET ABUSE OF DOMINANCE CASE* The South African Competition Appeal Court (CAC) on 23 October 2019 dismissed an appeal by Computicket (Pty) Ltd. (Computicket), following the decision of the Competition Tribunal (...)

The Italian Regional Administrative Court of Lazio upholds the Competition Authority decision which fined a company for abusing its dominant position in the electricity market (Enel)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 17 October 2019, the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (“TAR”) issued its judgment on the appeal lodged by Enel Group against the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) issued on 20 December 2018. The ICA had fined the company over EUR 93 million for abusing its dominant (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures on a technology company suspected to have abused its dominance in the TV and modem chipset markets (Broadcom)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets* The European Commission has ordered Broadcom to stop applying certain provisions contained in agreements with six of its main customers. This will prevent serious and irreparable harm to competition (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures on a company for abuse of dominance in the TV and modem chipset markets (Broadcom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 October 2019, the European Commission adopted a decision ordering Broadcom to stop applying certain provisions contained in agreements with six of its main customers in the TV and modem chipset markets. According to the Commission’s press release, Broadcom was prima facie found to be (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures on a company for abuse of dominance in the TV and modem chipset markets (Broadcom)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 16 October 2018, the European Commission announced that, in the framework of its investigation into possible anticompetitive practices by Broadcom, it had imposed interim measures on the American company. This is the first time in 18 years that the Commission uses the power enshrined in (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures for the first time in 18 years making the company cease and desist until end of investigation (Broadcom)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
For the first time in 18 years, the European Commission (“Commission”) has imposed interim measures on a company, ordering it to cease and desist certain practices pending the outcome of its antitrust investigation (or for a period of 3 years if the investigation is not concluded earlier). The (...)

The EU Commission finds on a prima facie basis, that an undertaking abused its dominant position and orders to cease its prima facie abusive conduct in order to avert the risk of damage to competition (Broadcom)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
INTERIM MEASURES IMPOSED ON BROADCOM: THE RE-AWAKENING OF A ONCE-DORMANT TOOL?* The European Commission (EC) has found, on a prima facie basis, that Broadcom abused its dominant position. In order to avert the risk of serious and irreparable damage to competition, Broadcom has been ordered to (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures to a chipmaker suspected of having put in place contractual restrictions to exclude its competitors from the market (Broadcom)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
On June 26, 2019, the EU Commission opened a formal investigation into U.S. chipmaker Broadcom’s alleged abuse of dominance. In a rather unexpected move, the EU Commission informed the company, on the same day, of its intention to impose interim measures, a long-forgotten tool. Broadcom, which (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures to a technology leader company in the design, development and supply of a range of semiconductor sector (Broadcom)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 16 October 2019, the European Commission (EC) imposed interim measures on Broadcom. Broadcom is a technology leader in the design, development and supply of a range of semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions, including chipsets for TV set-top boxes and modems. The EC started its (...)

The EU Commission imposes interim measures on a major supplier of integrated circuits for communications devices to prevent damage to competition in the TV set-top boxes and modems market (Broadcom) New
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 16 October 2019, for the first time in 18 years, the European Commission ("Commission") imposed interim measures on Broadcom - a major supplier of integrated circuits for communications devices - in order to prevent "serious and irreparable damage" to competition from occurring in certain (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority issues a decision imposing a fine of €33,843.81 on a local authority for pricing its water supply services for livestock productions excessively (Community Council of Kokkinotrimithia)
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Trojan Economics (Nicosia)
Introduction On 14 October 2019 the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (“CPC”) issued a decision imposing a fine of €33,843.81 on the Community Council of Kokkinotrimithia (“CCK”) for a violation of Section 6(1)(a) of the Protection of Competition Law (Law 13(I)/2008), as amended (...)

The German Federal Court rules on ad-blocking software, the market definition and the potential competitive concerns (Ad Blocker III)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
On 8th October 2019 the German Federal Court ruled on ad blocking software, the market definition and potential competitive concerns (KZR 73/17 "Ad blocker III"). The judgment concerns the dispute between companies of the RTL Group and the defendant, a provider of advertising blocker software. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an abuse of dominance investigation into orphan drugs pricing (Leadiant Biosciences / Farmaco per la cura della Xantomasi cerebrotendinea)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
On 8 October 2019 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an Article 102 TFEU investigation against several pharmaceutical companies belonging to the Leadiant group. The ICA’s attention was drawn by the selling prices applied by the parties to an orphan drug because it feared that (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine for abuse of contractual advantage in relations between a buyer and a supplier in the food sector (Fruit Polska)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
The Polish Act on Counteracting the Unfair Use of Contractual Advantage in the Trade in Agricultural and Food Products (the “Act”) applies to all contracts for supply of agricultural and food products (i.e. between supermarkets or retail chains and food producers, as well as food producers and (...)

Mergers

The Indian Competition Authority clears an acquisition by automobile manufacturers of small shareholdings in a ride-sharing company (ANI / OLA)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI cleared the proposed acquisition by automobile manufacturers Hyundai and Kia of small shareholdings in ride-sharing company ANI Technologies (ANI/OLA) and its electrical vehicles arm, Ola Electric Mobility (OEMPL), together with strategic cooperation in various areas. The CCI (...)

The EU Commission opens in-depth investigation relating a merger in the global cruise shipbuilding market (Chantiers de l’Atlantique / Fincantieri)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Fincantieri* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Fincantieri, under the EU Merger Regulation. The (...)

The French Competition Authority decides to not renew remedies previously imposed to clear a merger in the telecommunications sector (SFR / Altice)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Acquisition of SFR by Altice: the Autorité de la concurrence will not renew the commitments and maintains certain injunctions* Given changes to the markets, the Autorité de la concurrence will not renew the commitments made by Altice upon acquiring SFR. However, the injunctions with penalty (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the market for semi-submersible accommodation vessels as it would reduce competition in terms of prices, quality and innovation (Prosafe)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 October 2019, the Norwegian Competition Authority (“NCO”) prohibited Prosafe, the leading global producer of semi-submersible accommodation vessels, from acquiring competitor Floatel. Prosafe is Norwegian, whereas Floatel is based in Bermuda and Sweden. Semi-submersible accommodation (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court fines a company for gun-jumping in the investment market (Eurazeo)
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Eurazeo SE fined for illegal merger* The Cartel Court, at the Austrian Federal Competition Authority’s request, has imposed a fine of € 30,000 on Eurazeo SE. The respondent had indirectly acquired a 58.8% stake in 2R Holding SAS and thus been in a position of sole control between 17 July 2018 (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority fines two companies for gun-jumping in the motorcycle and sports car manufacturing market (KTM / Kiska )
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
KTM AG and Kiska GmbH fined for illegal merger* The Cartel Court, at the Austrian Federal Competition Authority’s request, has imposed a fine of € 60,000 on KTM AG and Kiska GmbH. The first respondent had held a 26% stake in the second respondent during the period from 7 October 2015 to 29 (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation relating to a merger in the food retail market (Casino / Leclerc)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Acquisition of a Casino hypermarket located in the Troyes urban area: The Autorité de la concurrence opens an in-depth examination phase* The Autorité de la concurrence opens an in-depth examination phase for the acquisition of a Casino hypermarket located in the Troyes urban area by Soditroy (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the energy efficiency sector (Économie d’Énergie / La Poste)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Économie d’Énergie by Le Groupe La Poste.* Le Groupe La Poste notified the Autorité of its plans to take exclusive control of Économie d’Énergie. This transaction is part of Le Groupe La Poste’s strategy to diversify its activities, resulting in (...)

The Spanish Competition and Markets Authority fines company for for a merger commitment breach (Telefonica)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The CNMC has fined Telefonica 1.5 million for breaching one of the commitments attached to its acquisition of DTS. The merger was cleared in 2015 by the CNMC on the condition that Telefonica fulfilled a number of commitments in the pay TV market. This included, among others, making (...)

The UK Government provides a withdrawal agreement for the Competition Authority’s merger control during the Brexit transition period and after
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 31 January 2020, at 11pm GMT, the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU and the transition period provided for in Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement started to run. This briefing looks at the provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement that are relevant for merger control, both during the (...)

The French Competition Authority launches its online notification procedure for certain mergers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Modernisation of merger control* Today, the Autorité de la concurrence launched its online notification procedure for certain mergers. Background The Autorité is continuing the simplification process it has begun for merger procedures. After adopting various measures to reduce and simplify (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority fines a company for failure to comply with document requests (Sabre / Farelogix)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 October 2019, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) fined the airline technology company Sabre Holdings £ 20,000 for failing to comply with two Section 109 Enterprise Act notices during the CMA’s in-depth investigation into its proposed acquisition of Farelogix, Inc. Section 109 (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation relating to a merger in the diagnosis and hospital care market (Elsan / HSM)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
In-depth examination into Elsan’s plans to acquire Hexagone Santé Méditerranée* Elsan notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plans to take exclusive control of Hexagone Santé Méditerranée (HSM). The parties to the transaction are especially active in the diagnosis and hospital care markets in (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority orders a divesture and blocks a merger in the cleaning chemicals sector (Ecolab / Holchem)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 October 2019, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) ordered Ecolab to divest Holchem, effectively blocking the merger of two of the largest cleaning chemicals suppliers in the UK. Ecolab bought Holchem in November 2018. The CMA launched a merger inquiry in February 2019, which (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger in the food wholesale market (Rewe / Lekkerland)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Rewe can acquire Lekkerland – Bundeskartellamt clears merger* Today the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition by the Rewe Group of Lekkerland AG & Co. KG. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Together Rewe and Lekkerland only achieve an unproblematic market share of (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation relating to a proposed joint venture by aircraft manufacturers (Boeing / Embraer)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into joint ventures proposed by Boeing and Embraer* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed creation of two joint ventures by aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer, under the EU Merger Regulation. (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the production of aluminium automotive body sheets market (Novelis / Aleris)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears Novelis’ acquisition of Aleris, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Aleris by Novelis. The decision is conditional on the divestiture of Aleris’ aluminium automotive body sheets business in (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the public support for a chemical plant in Poland (PCC)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support for chemical company PCC’s plant in Poland* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether two support measures totalling €39 million awarded by Poland to chemical company PCC MCAA Sp. Zo.o for (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess whether various financing measures granted by Hungarian State-owned entities to a company operating in the ground handling market comply with EU rules for aid to companies in difficulty (Malév)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Hungarian support measures to Malév Ground Handling* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether various financing measures totalling approximately €21 million granted by Hungarian State-owned entities to (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules Romania’s plans to inject €200 million of capital in a fully state-owned Bank (CEC Bank)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves market conform recapitalisation of Romanian CEC Bank* The European Commission has found Romania’s plans to inject €200 million of capital in fully state-owned CEC Bank to be free of any State aid. The Commission found that the recapitalisation will be carried out (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess whether the plan by the Spanish region of Valencia to grant public support to regional airline company is in line with EU State aid rules (Air Nostrum)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens investigation into public support for Air Nostrum’s fleet renewal in Spain* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the plan by the Spanish region of Valencia to grant €9 million of public support to regional airline Air Nostrum (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules the British Capacity Market scheme introduced in 2014 to safeguard security of electricity supply
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves the British Capacity Market scheme* Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules the British Capacity Market scheme introduced in 2014 to safeguard security of electricity supply. In July 2014, the Commission (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission ruling on the calculation of the amount of compensation resulting from contractual obligations in the motorways sector (Autostrada Wielkopolska)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on StateAidHub (click here), republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author(s). 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 opens an investigation into proposed Hungarian public support for a plant in the battery cell production facility market (Samsung)
DG COMP (Brussels)
STATE AID: COMMISSION OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO PROPOSED PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR SAMSUNG PLANT IN HUNGARY* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether Hungary’s plans to grant €108 million of public support to Samsung SDI for investing in the expansion of its battery (...)

The EU Commission finds that Greek plans aimed at supporting the reduction of non-performing loans of Greek banks are in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
STATE AID: COMMISSION APPROVES MARKET CONFORM ASSET PROTECTION SCHEME FOR BANKS IN GREECE* The European Commission has found Greek plans aimed at supporting the reduction of non-performing loans of Greek banks to be free of any State aid. The Commission found that, under the asset protection (...)

Procedures

The Peruvian Competition Authority pre-publicates the draft of guidelines for dawn raids, which seeks to guide the scope of these investigative actions to detect anticompetitive behaviours
Peruvian Competition Authority - INDECOPI (Lima)
THE INDECOPI PRE-PUBLICATES THE DRAFT OF GUIDELINES FOR DAWN RAIDS, WHICH SEEKS TO GUIDE THE SCOPE OF THESE INVESTIGATIVE ACTIONS TO DETECT ANTICOMPETITIVE BEHAVIORS* Indecopi, through the Technical Secretariat of the Free Competition Commission, pre-published for comments the project (...)

Regulatory

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a market study into major tech firms on Dutch payments market
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Market study into major tech firms on Dutch payments market* At the request of the Dutch Minister of Finance, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a market study into the activities of major tech firms (so-called Big Techs) on the Dutch payments market. (...)

The UK Government follows the withdrawal agreement with its implications on UK competition law
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The UK exited the EU on 31st January 2020. By virtue of the transition period in the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law will continue to apply in and in relation to the UK only until the 31st December 2020. The EU Treaties, EU free movement rights and the general principles of EU law will then cease (...)

The EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager backs her candidacy after a three-and-a-half hour hearing in which she fielded questions on her plans to carry out her double role as the EU Commission’s Executive Vice-president and EU Competition Chief
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Belgium)
Five years after winning the support of the European Parliament to become EU Competition Commissioner in the Juncker Commission, the Danish liberal politician Margrethe Vestager has done it again. MEPs backed her candidacy after a three-and-a-half hour hearing on 8th October during which she (...)

The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy publishes a draft bill which partly serves to implement the ECN + directive
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
On 7 October 2019, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published the draft bill of the so-called digitization law which partly serves to implement the “ECN Plus” Directive into German law. According to the new Sec. 19a ARC the German Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") may (...)

The Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg Competition Authorities advocate for an easier competition law enforcement in the digital world
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 October 2019, the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg competition authorities took the unusual step of adopting a joint memorandum on the role of the competition authorities in a digital world. This joint memorandum discusses merger control issues, the need for guidance in fast-moving digital (...)

Public sector

The Hellenic Competition Commission signs protocol on cooperation with the Hellenic single public procurement Authority
University of Portsmouth (United Kingdom)
PROTOCOL ON COOPERATION BETWEEN THE GREEK COMPETITION AUTHORITY AND THE GREEK PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY* In October 2019, the Hellenic Competition Commission signed Protocol on Cooperation with the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority. Both agencies have agreed on the areas of joint (...)

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