October 2020 - II

General antitrust

The EU Commission publishes a call for contributions to determine if and how competition policy can better support the European Green Deal New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On October 13, 2020, the European Commission published a call for contributions to determine if and how EU competition policy can better support the European Green Deal. The European Green Deal is a comprehensive action plan aimed at making Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent by (...)

The Chinese State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission announces that the country is making steady progress on the mixed-ownership reform of central State-owned enterprises New
Chinese State Council (Beijing)
China makes steady progress on central SOE mixed-ownership reform* China has made progress on mixed-ownership reform of centrally-administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs), an official with the country’s top state-asset regulator said on Oct 12. Since 2013, central SOEs have received more (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority proposes 12 measures on economic competition matters to support the recovery of the national economy as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis New Free
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE proposes 12 measures on economic competition matters to support the recovery of the Mexican economy* As a result of the health crisis, markets could further concentrate. Guaranteeing inclusion and permanence of a wide range of companies is the best way to ensure a sustainable recovery (...)

The Danish Competition Authority finds that competition in the market for recurring payments can be strengthened New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Competition in the Danish market for recurring payments can be strengthened* There is a potential for strengthening competition in the Danish market for recurring payments. That is the conclusion of the recently published analysis from the Danish Competition Council, which examines the (...)

The EU Parliament and Council enact a regulation establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments New
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
The long-awaited application of the European Union (EU) Regulation on a framework for the screening of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EU started, 11 October 2020. It is still early days to anticipate how the EU rules will be implemented in practice by the member states and the European (...)

The EU Parliament and Council’s regulation establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments enters into force New
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
On October 11, 2020, the EU FDI Screening Regulation (EU) 2019/452 – the “Regulation”) entered fully into force. The Regulation, which was approved and adopted in March 2019, establishes a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments (“FDI”) by EU Member States in which decision-making (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes guidelines on the examination of digital data during on-site inspections New
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
(1) Introduction The Turkish Competition Authority (“ TCA ”) recently published its Guidelines on Examination of Digital Data during On-site Inspections (“ Guidelines ”), which set forth the general principles with respect to the examination, processing and storage of data and documents held in the (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority issues report on its groceries retail market inquiry New
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Konzum Plus Remains the Leading Groceries Retailer, Schwarz Grupa on the Rise* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) carried out the Groceries retail market investigation, including food, beverages and sanitary products for households in Croatia for 2019. The total sample of 52 undertakings (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority signs cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Justice New
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The Hungarian Ministry of Justice and the Competition Authority cooperate for fair competition* The Hungarian Ministry of Justice (IM) and the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) have signed a cooperation agreement. The cooperation will facilitate the professional work of the two (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority issues comments and recommendations concerning the regulation that modifies the scheme of permits for self-supply and cogeneration of electric energy New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE issues comments and recommendations concerning the regulation that modifies the scheme of permits for self-supply and cogeneration of electric energy* In the opinion of the Commission, the draft could have effects contrary to competition by generating uncertainty for investments, (...)

The US House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee issues its majority report of its investigation of competition in digital markets New
Bona Law (Detroit)
Classic Antitrust Cases: Trinko, linkLine and the House Report on Big Tech* On October 6, 2020, the Antitrust Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee issued its long-anticipated Majority Report of its Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets. As expected, the Report detailed (...)

The Australian Competition Authority amends its consumer data right rules to permit accredited intermediaries
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Consumer Data Right Rules amended to include intermediaries* The ACCC has amended the Consumer Data Right Rules to permit accredited intermediaries to collect data on behalf of third party data recipients, with consumer consent. These amended rules mean accredited businesses can now ask other (...)

The Russian Competition Authority reports on its study in the banking services market and proposes to develop a concept of state participation in the financial services market
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
The Share of State Participation in the Financial Market Should Be Reduced* The FAS Russia proposes to develop a Concept of state participation in the financial services market Conclusion of the FAS is contained in the Report on state of competition in the Russian Federation in 2019. The FAS (...)

The US DoJ releases a positive Business Review Letter blessing the amendments of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association to address interest rate benchmarks (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) New
White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (New York)
For the thousands of financial institutions anxiously watching the discontinuation and transition from certain interbank offered rates (“IBORs”), 2020 just got a little less chaotic. On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division issued its highly (...)

The Nordic Competition Authorities publish a joint memorandum setting out their perspective on competition in digital markets New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 September 2020, the competition authorities of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland issued a joint memorandum setting out their perspective on competition in digital markets (the “Joint Memorandum”). As previously reported in this newsletter (see, VBB on Competition Law, Volume (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority finishes its comprehensive sector inquiry into the taxi and private hire car market New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 September 2020, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (the “FCA”) published its final report on the sector inquiry into the taxi and private hire car market (the “Report”). The comprehensive sector inquiry was launched in September 2019 to ascertain the effects of amendments to the (...)

The UK Competition Authority starts reviewing its study of the legal services market in England and Wales on the transparency of price, quality, and service New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to assess progress in legal services sector* The CMA is reviewing the legal services sector in England and Wales to assess whether transparency of price, quality and service have improved. In 2016, the CMA carried out a market study into the supply of legal services in England and Wales, (...)

The German Government submits a draft of the digitalisation act amending German competition law New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 September 2020, the German Government tabled the draft 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”), also referred to as the ARC Digitalisation Act. The draft amendment entails significant changes in the areas of abuse of dominance, merger control, cartel fines (...)

The UK Competition Authority signs multilateral cooperation framework with its 5 counterparts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to increase competition cooperation with international partners* The CMA has signed a new framework with 5 of its international counterpart competition authorities to improve co-operation on investigations. The Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition (...)

The EU Commission undertakes a review of the market definition notice New
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
,
Shearman & Sterling (London)
In her first speech upon being reappointed as Competition Commissioner, Commissioner Vestager announced that a review would be undertaken of the Commission’s Market Definition Notice (the “Notice”); the consultation on that review closed Friday, October 9th. The Notice is an important document in (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Swedish Competition Authority petitions to fine municipality for directly awarding a public procurement contract for snow clearance because the contract does not qualify for exemption under urgency (Huddinge Municipality) New
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
No extreme urgency when Huddinge Municipality directly awarded a contract for snow clearance* Huddinge Municipality was guilty of an illegal direct award when it failed to apply procurement rules to a contract for snow clearance. This is the conclusion of the Swedish Competition Authority, (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority petitions to fine municipality for illegal direct award of a public procurement contract for major refurbishment of a property (Hallsberg Municipality) New
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Hallsberg performed an illegal direct award of construction contract* Hallsberg municipality carried out the major refurbishment of a property without first publishing a contract notice as required under the Public Procurement Act. The municipality was therefore guilty of an illegal direct (...)

The Australian Competition Authority commences civil proceedings in the Federal Court against overhead crane company over alleged market sharing cartel (NQCranes) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Action over alleged market sharing cartel in the overhead crane industry* The ACCC has today commenced civil proceedings in the Federal Court against overhead crane company NQCranes Pty Ltd, alleging it engaged in cartel conduct in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act. The ACCC (...)

The Australian Competition Authority commences proceedings against a wholesale distributor of cycling and sporting products for resale price maintenance (FE Sports) New
Jones Day (Melbourne)
,
Jones Day (Cleveland)
A new ACCC resale price maintenance case provides a timely reminder that manufacturers and suppliers must tread carefully with distribution arrangements related to price in Australia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has commenced proceedings against FE Sports, (...)

The Russian Republic of Khakassia’s Abakan City Court convicts members of a medical equipment cartel to imprisonment up to 16 years (Administration of Head of Republic of Khakassia) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Andrey Tenishev: Cartel Members Convicted in the Republic of Khakassia* Court imposed imprisonment up to 16 years to participants of anticompetitive agreements for theft and bribes It should be reminded that in 2018 the FAS Russia recognized a number of companies violated the Law on (...)

The Irish Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections of garages and second-hand car dealerships in Dublin and Kildare New
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
Unannounced car inspections take place in Dublin and Kildare* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), assisted by colleagues from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, the Garda Stolen Vehicle Investigation Unit as well as local uniformed Gardaí, has completed a series of (...)

The French Competition Authority consults on commitments offered by two supermarket groups on the scope of their cooperation on own-brand labels (Carrefour / Tesco) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Purchasing offices: Carrefour and Tesco propose commitments* Following its investigation into the joint purchasing agreement signed by Carrefour and Tesco, the Autorité de la concurrence received commitment proposals from the two groups redefining the scope of their cooperation on own-brand (...)

The US District Court for the District of Colorado indicts six additional individuals on charges of price fixing and bid rigging in ongoing broiler chicken investigation (Timothy Mulrenin / William Kantola / Jimmie Little / William Lovette / Gary Roberts / Rickie Blake) New
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Six Additional Individuals Indicted On Antitrust Charges In Ongoing Broiler Chicken Investigation* A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, returned a superseding indictment charging six additional defendants for their roles in a previously indicted conspiracy to (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes an exemption for grain handler at two port terminals (Viterra) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes exemption for two Viterra grain port terminals* The ACCC has today released draft determinations proposing to exempt the services provided by grain handler Viterra at its Port Adelaide Inner Harbour and Outer Harbor facilities from parts of the Port Terminal Access (Bulk Wheat) (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls the decisions of the Commission to order dawn raids of a number of French retailers (Casino, Guichard-Perrachon / Achats Marchandises Casino) (Intermarché Casino Achats) (Les Mousquetaires / ITM Entreprises) New
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
Partial annulment of European Commission decisions to order dawn raid inspections* On 5 October 2020, the General Court of the European Union (GC) partially annulled decisions of the European Commission (EC) to order on-the-spot inspections (dawn raids) of a number of French retailers.. The (...)

The EU General Court annuls in part the Commission’s inspection decisions following suspicions of anticompetitive practices by a number of French undertakings in the distribution sector (Casino, Guichard-Perrachon / Achats Marchandises Casino) (Intermarché Casino Achats) (Les Mousquetaires / ITM Entreprises)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court annuls in part the Commission’s inspection decisions following suspicions of anticompetitive practices by a number of French undertakings in the distribution sector* The Commission has failed to show that it had sufficiently strong evidence to suspect exchanges of information (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to Italian agricultural cooperative for participation in canned vegetable cartel (Conserve Italia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Conserve Italia for participation in canned vegetables cartel* The European Commission has informed Conserve Italia Soc. coop. Agricola and its subsidiary Conserves France SA (together referred to as Conserve Italia) of its preliminary (...)

The US DoJ applauds the US President’s authorization of The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement And Reform Permanent Extension Act
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Department Of Justice Applauds President Trump’s Authorization Of The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement And Reform Permanent Extension Act* On October 1, President Donald J. Trump signed into law a continuing resolution that contains the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses manufacturing company’s appeal against the fine imposed for the power cable cartel (Prysmian) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 September 2020, the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rejected the Italian power-cable manufacturer Prysmi- an’s appeal against the € 104.6 million fine imposed on it by the Commission in 2014 for its involvement in the Power Cables cartel case. The ECJ upheld the earlier ruling by the General Court (...)

The Danish Competition Authority fines a design company for resale price maintenance (GUBI) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued by the Danish Competition Authority (the “Authority”) on 18 September 2020, Danish design company GUBI A/S has entered into a settlement with the Authority and accepted to pay a fine of DKK 6 million (approximately € 800,000) for having engaged in resale price (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes interim measures while it prolongs due to COVID-19 pandemic its investigation of an updated agreement between major airlines on providing slots to other competitors on certain UK-US routes (Atlantic Joint Business Agreement) New Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA acts to protect competition on UK-US airline routes* Due to coronavirus, the CMA has imposed measures to protect competition on UK-US air routes while it investigates an agreement involving BA and American Airlines. The next year will see the expiry of remedies in place under a set of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines 33 school transport companies and one association with €3.36 million for creating a school transport cartel (School transport cartel / Asociación Navarra de Empresarios del Transporte por Carretera y Logística) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 September 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) imposed fines totalling € 3.36 million on 33 school transport companies and fined one association € 15,000 for their involvement in a bid-rigging cartel in the school transport sector in the region of Navarre from 1 December 2013 until (...)

The US DoJ Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim confirms the opening of two dozen active grand jury investigations into potential criminal antitrust law violations New
Baker Botts (Washington)
,
Baker Botts (Washington)
,
Baker Botts (Washington)
Clients that do business with the federal government should take note: despite the pandemic and the upcoming election, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) continues to prioritize its focus on punishing fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct by government contractors, carrying out dozens of (...)

The EU Court of Justice receives a request for preliminary ruling on restrictions for high-quality products regarding the block exemption regulation (Visma) New
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
A selective distribution system consists of a supplier selecting distributors based on specific, pre-determined criteria while committing to sell the products or services in question only to selected distributors. These distributors commit not to sell such products or services to unauthorised (...)

The EU Commission publishes a staff working document on the vertical block exemption regulation but does not address any guidance on most-favored nation clauses New
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
,
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 8 September 2020, the European Commission published its Staff Working Document (“Evaluation Document”) on the results of its evaluation of the VBER and its accompanying guidelines. One of the key gaps in the current framework is the absence of guidance on how retail parity clauses should be (...)

The EU Commission publishes its evaluation of the vertical block exemption regulation New
Bird & Bird (London)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
Introduction The current Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation (‘VBER’), has been in force since 2010, a mere ten years. Yet it is hard to think of another decade in which the commercial landscape has changed as dramatically. The gradual shift away from the high street to online sales (...)

The EU Commission publishes a staff working document of the vertical block exemption regulation and does not plan to relax the resale price maintenance rule for franchises New
Bird & Bird (London)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
In the last few years, franchising has become an increasingly popular distribution structure across the EU. A franchise is a vertical agreement, and therefore should not contain any of the hard-core restrictions set out in the VBER in order to benefit from the block exemption. Nonetheless, it (...)

The EU Commission publishes findings of the evaluation of the vertical block exemption regulation New
Bird & Bird (Paris)
,
Bird & Bird (Paris)
It is well known that a total ban of online sales constitutes a hardcore restriction of passive sales and is qualified as a restriction of competition by object. This was clearly stated by the EU Commission in its 2010 guidelines and confirmed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the (...)

The EU Commission assesses the competitive effects of dual pricing and distribution making the German Competition Authority focus on this matter New
Bird & Bird (Düsseldorf)
The EU Commission has confirmed in its recently published Evaluation that it is assessing the competitive effects of dual pricing and dual distribution. Following the significant growth of online sales, these practises have also been a focus of the German FCO. The German FCO has looked at the (...)

The EU Commission publishes a review of the vertical block exemption regulation which adresses questions of big data and access to data New
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
,
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
Issues around Big Data and access to data as an essential input are rapidly gaining importance in vertical relationships. This was made clear in the Commission’s recently published evaluation of stakeholder input in the context of the review of the VBER. In the past, the Hungarian Competition (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on the evaluation of the vertical block exemption regulation New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 September 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a report on the Evaluation of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (the “Evaluation Report”). For further information, see the Legislative, Procedural and Policy Developments section below. The Evaluation Report reflects the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority renders two decisions in the context of the geo-blocking regulation (PV7 / Telepass / Addebiti) (PV9 / Enel) New
Bird & Bird (Rome)
,
Bird & Bird (Rome)
The Geo-blocking Regulation came into force on 22 March 2018. It provides that the Member States shall lay down the rules setting out the measures applicable to infringements of the Geo-blocking Regulation and the enforcement of these provisions falls within the jurisdiction of national (...)

The EU Commission releases a staff working document evaluation on the vertical block exemption regulation which gives guidance on online restrictions New
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
,
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The rapid development that the e-commerce sector has undergone in the last decade has meant its definitive implementation as one of the most relevant routes to market. This development has come along with important judgments of the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") on this matter. Cases such as (...)

The Czech Competition Authority fines a garden equipment supplier for resale price maintenance (V-Garden) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued by the Czech Competition Authority (the “Authority”) on 3 September 2020, the Authority has imposed a fine of CZK 7,687,000 on garden equipment supplier V-GARDEN for engaging in resale price maintenance. The Authority reported that, during the period from (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice overrules the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf’s decision to terminate proceedings against a bid rigging cartel (Bid rigging cartel) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 August 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) overturned the decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf to terminate proceedings against members of a bid-rigging cartel fined by the FCO in 2018. The FCJ ruled that the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf had erred in (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice grants Competition Authority leave to appeal against the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court’s ruling regarding the use of narrow parity clauses (Booking) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 July 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) granted the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) the right to appeal on points of law against the judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Booking. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2019, (...)

The England & Wales High Court grants the first application for a competition disqualification order to come to trial by the UK Competition Authority against an estate agency director guilty of cartel participation by knowing of it and not acting to stop it (Michael Martin) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Court orders disqualification of estate agent cartel director* In the first contested case of its kind, the CMA has secured the disqualification of a director whose Somerset estate agency breached competition law. Following a four day trial last month, Mr Michael Martin was today disqualified (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal hands down an important judgement in a follow-on damages claims for the consequences of abusive practices in the telecommunications market (Orange / Digicel) New
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
On June 17, 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal handed down an important decision in the Digicel / Orange case. Digicel has indeed initiated an action to be compensated for the consequences of the abusive practices implemented in the Antilles-Guyana zone by Orange-Caraïbe and Orange between 2000 and (...)

The UK Competition Authority updates its investigation of roofing cartel with new provisional findings and secures admission of guilt by the country’s two largest suppliers of rolled lead (Associated Lead Mills / BLM British Lead) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Two UK roofing lead firms admit to illegal cartel* Two of the UK’s largest suppliers of rolled lead have admitted to taking part in anti-competitive arrangements and could face fines of more than £11 million. Rolled lead is an important product for the construction industry, used mainly for (...)

The UK Government temporarily suspends competition law to allow ferry operators to the Isle of Wight to cooperate on routes and flow of goods during the COVID-19 outbreak New Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Government to suspend competition law to support Isle of Wight ferry routes* Competition law to be temporarily suspended to allow ferry operators to maintain a crucial lifeline between the island and the mainland. Business Secretary to waive competition law for vital Isle of Wight crossings (...)

The UK Competition Authority closes its pharma probe by fining 4 companies more than £3.4 million and requiring a payment of £1 million directly to the NHS for breaches of competition law in relation to the supply of an antidepressant (King Pharmaceuticals / Accord-UK / Lexon / Alissa Healthcare Research) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Over £3m in fines and £1m for NHS in CMA pharma probe* Following an investigation, the CMA has found that 4 pharmaceutical companies broke competition law in relation to the supply of an antidepressant. The probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the supply of nortriptyline, a (...)

Unilateral Practices

The US DOJ and 12 State AGs start landmark court case against Big Tech firm for exclusionary agreements in search and search advertising markets (Google) New
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Sues Monopolist Google For Violating Antitrust Laws* Department Files Complaint Against Google to Restore Competition in Search and Search Advertising Markets Today, the Department of Justice — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority institutes court proceedings against wholesale distributor of cycling and sporting products for alleged resale price maintenance (FE Sports) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
FE Sports allegedly engaged in resale price maintenance* The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against B & K Holdings (QLD) Pty Ltd, trading as FE Sports, alleging that it engaged in resale price maintenance for the wholesale supply of cycling and sporting products in (...)

The Polish Competition Authority opens investigation into unfair use of contractual advantage by largest national food wholesaler against its suppliers (Eurocash) New
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Unfounded Eurocash fees - charges of the President of UOKiK* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny checks the practices of Eurocash company towards suppliers of agricultural and food products. The allegations concern unfounded collection of additional fees. The main business of Eurocash is (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates an investigation against the operator of video-sharing social media site due to failure to provide users with sufficient information on time (TikTok) New
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The Competition Authority has initiated a proceeding against TikTok* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has initiated an investigation against the operator of video sharing social media site TikTok due to failure to provide users with sufficient information on time. TikTok is a widely (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates possible abuse of dominance in the country’s natural gas market
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC investigates possible anticompetitive practices in Spain’s natural gas market* It assesses an alleged abuse of dominant position in said market involving foreclosure. The CNMC investigates a potential antitrust violation in Spain’s natural gas market. On 30 September and 1 October (...)

The EU Commission accepts semiconductor company’s commitments to ensure competition in chipset markets for modems and set-top boxes (Broadcom) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Broadcom to ensure competition in chipset markets for modems and set-top boxes* The European Commission has made commitments offered by Broadcom legally binding under EU antitrust rules. Broadcom will suspend all existing agreements containing (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens a formal investigation into an animal society for alleged abuse of dominance in dog certification and shows (Royal Canine Society of Spain)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC opens a formal investigation into the Royal Canine Society of Spain for alleged antitrust practices* The conduct investigated sought to hinder and avoid competition with other official associations. It potentially affects the markets for certifying purebred dogs and providing judging (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority investigation finds that a national ATM operator is charging reasonable rates to competing banks (Geldmaat) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM: rates charged by ATM operator Geldmaat to other banks not unreasonable, information about its services to be more transparent* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has established that the rates that Dutch ATM operator Geldmaat charges other Dutch banks for using the (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens investigation into alleged abuse of dominance in the supply of drugs used to treat bipolar disorder (Essential Pharma) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to investigate the supply of bipolar drug* The CMA has opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in the supply of drugs used to treat bipolar disorder. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate whether the pharmaceutical company Essential Pharma (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates on a pharma company for abuse of dominance (Essential Pharma) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 October 2020, the Competition and Markets Authority ( CMA ) started an inquiry into Essential Pharma to determine whether that company abused an allegedly dominant position when announcing the withdrawal from the UK market of Priadel®, a lithium based medicine indicated for the first line (...)

The Russian Competition Authority investigates whether a pharmaceutical company with dominant position in wholesale of certain generics unreasonably refused to conclude contract for medicine supply (Ipsen / Biotek) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia: Ipsen Unreasonably Refused Biotek to Conclude Contract for Medicine Supply* In order not to enter into a contract with a counterparty the pharmaceutical company has repeatedly changed its commercial policy during the review of the distributor’s application. The FAS Russia issued a (...)

The German Competition Authority closes investigation into resale price maintenance after Spanish guitar manufacturer clarifies to retailers that final price is at their discretion (Manufacturas Alhambra)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt safeguards freedom to set prices for guitars* Following investigations by the Bundeskartellamt into suspected illegal resale price maintenance, the Spanish guitar manufacturer, Manufacturas Alhambra S.L., has distanced itself from possibly influencing the pricing policy of (...)

The EU Court of Justice addresses how incompatibility with net neutrality shall be assessed under the relevant legislation regarding open internet access (Telenor Magyarország / Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Elnöke) New
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Court of Justice of the European Union (“ CJEU ”), in its recent decision with regard to the two joint cases (C‐807/18 and C‐39/19) brought before it for preliminary ruling, addressed how incompatibility with net neutrality shall be assessed under the relevant legislation regarding open (...)

The Regional Court of Munich rules in favor of an electronic manufacturer in standard essential patent proceeding (Sharp / Daimler) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 September 2020, the Regional Court of Munich (“Munich Court”) ruled in favour of Sharp that Daimler had infringed a standard essential patent (“SEP”) of Sharp. Sharp is the patent holder of EP 2667676B1 which is standard essential for the Long-Term Evolution (“LTE”) telecommunications (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe advises to dismiss the parties’ challenges to the Commission’s finding abuse of dominance on the Slovak broadband services market (Slovak Telekom / Deutsche Telekom) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 September 2020, Advocate General (“AG”) Saugmandsgaard Øe issued his opinion in Deutsche Telekom v. European Commission (Case C-152/19) and Slovak Telekom v. European Commission (Case C-165/19) advising the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) to dismiss the parties’ challenges to the Commission’s finding (...)

The French Competition Authority fines 3 laboratories for abusive efforts to segment market (Novartis / Roche / Genentech) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Background On 9 September 2020, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) imposed a fine of € 444 million on Genentech, Novartis and Roche for abusing their collective dominant position on the market for the commercialisation of drugs for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority fines a telecom EUR 111 million for abuse of dominance in the Norwegian market for residential mobile broadband services on tablets and laptops (Telenor) New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA fines Telenor EUR 112 million for anticompetitive practices* Following an in-depth investigation, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) concludes that Telenor abused its market dominance by a pricing strategy that resulted in rivals making a loss when selling residential mobile broadband (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rejects an appeal against prohibition of exclusivity clauses in online sales of event tickets (Eventim) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In December 2017, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibited ticketing services provider CTS Eventim from using exclusivity agreements with event organisers and ticket offices. CTS Eventim had to amend its contractual clauses and allow trading partners to sell at least 20% of their (...)

Mergers

The German Competition Authority unconditionally clears merger between top vehicle insurance provider and the industry’s leading provider of automated claims settlement services (Allianz / ControlExpert) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Automated settlement of motor vehicle claims: Allianz cleared to take over ControlExpert* Yesterday, the Bundeskartellamt cleared plans by Allianz Strategic Investments. S.à.r.l., Luxembourg, (Allianz) to acquire ControlExpert Holding B.V. Amsterdam (ControlExpert). Allianz belongs to the (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds in Phase II investigation that a merger raises competition concerns in the supply of commercial vehicle and trailer parts (TVS / 3G) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Customers could lose out in motor parts merger* The CMA has provisionally found that the purchase of 3G by TVS raises competition concerns in the supply of commercial vehicle and trailer parts. Universal Components UK Limited (Universal Components), owned by TVS Europe Distribution Limited, (...)

The US FTC starts accepting stakeholder comments for upcoming virtual consultations on proposed amendments to HSR rules New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC to Hold Virtual Q&A Sessions in November on Proposed Amendments to HSR Rules and Advanced Notice of Proposed HSR Rulemaking* The Federal Trade Commission will host three public Question and Answer sessions as part of its ongoing HSR Rulemaking initiative. These one-hour virtual events (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds significant competition concerns with educational supplies merger (Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation / Findel) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Schools could lose out in educational supplies merger* The CMA has provisionally found that YPO’s anticipated purchase of close competitor Findel could leave schools worse off. Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) and Findel Education Limited (Findel) are 2 of the leading suppliers of (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts commitment by major photo-sharing platform to tackle hidden advertising by social media influencers (Instagram Social Media Endorsements) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Instagram to tackle hidden advertising after CMA action* Following CMA action, Instagram will do more to prevent hidden advertising on its app and website, signalling an important behaviour shift by a major platform. Facebook Ireland Ltd, which operates Instagram in the UK, has committed to a (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority unconditionally clears merger of global professional services firms that specialise in risk management (Aon / Willis Towers) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Aon seeks clearance to acquire Willis Towers* The Commerce Commission has received a clearance application from Aon plc to acquire all the shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company as part of a global transaction. Aon and Willis Towers Watson are both publicly traded, global (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority opens in-depth investigation into a merger in the market for coatings for the ceramic industry (Pigments Spain / Ferro Assets) New
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC opens in-depth investigation into the Pigments Spain/Ferro Assets merger* The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) has decided to open an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of sole control by Pigments Spain, of a set of assets in the business of coatings for the ceramic industry (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears merger of port container terminals without conditions (Hutchison Ports / APM Terminals) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears acquisition of container terminal of APM Terminals by ECT’s parent company* The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) has cleared Hutchison Ports Netherlands, parent company of container terminal operator ECT, to acquire container terminal APM Terminals Rotterdam. ACM (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority issues statement of preliminary issues relating to broadcaster’s application to acquire a competitor’s outside broadcasting business (NEP Broadcast Services / Sky Network Television) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Statement of Preliminary Issues released for NEP acquisition of Sky’s outside broadcasting assets* The Commerce Commission has published a statement of preliminary issues relating to an application from NEP Broadcast Services New Zealand Limited seeking clearance to acquire from Sky Network (...)

The US FTC requests public comment on prosthetics manufacturer’s application to approve divestiture of assets it gained during acquisition (Otto Bock HealthCare / FIH Group Holdings) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Requests Public Comment on Otto Bock HealthCare North America, Inc.’s Application to Approve Divestiture of Assets It Gained through Acquisition of FIH Group Holdings, LLC* The Federal Trade Commission is currently accepting public comments on an application by prosthetics manufacturer Otto (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears joint venture between brewing companies (Carlsberg / Marston’s) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Deal between Carlsberg and Marston’s given the go-ahead* The CMA has cleared the proposed joint venture between brewing companies Carlsberg and Marston’s. Both companies are large brewers of beer and cider, as well as offering related services, such as wholesale supply of their own and other (...)

The Australian Competition Authority finds preliminary competition concerns with a proposed acquisition of a garment laundering business (Alsco / Spotless Garments) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Alsco’s Spotless Garments acquisition raises preliminary competition concerns* The ACCC has preliminary competition concerns about the proposed acquisition by Alsco Pty Ltd of Spotless Laundries’ garment laundering business (Spotless Garments), which is part of Spotless Group Holdings Limited. (...)

The UK Competition Authority request the EU Commission for a referral to review a proposed merger impacting retail and wholesale telecommunications markets in the UK (Virgin / O2) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA requests review of Virgin and O2 merger* The CMA has made a request to the European Commission to refer the proposed merger of Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile with O2 to the CMA for investigation. Liberty Global plc (Liberty) owns Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile in the UK, and Telefónica (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes maximum fine of over PLN 29 billion on 6 companies participating in the construction of a gas pipeline due to lack of approval for the joint venture (Gazprom / Nord Stream 2) New
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Nord Stream 2 - maximum penalties imposed by UOKiK President* Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, has imposed a penalty of over PLN 29 bn on Gazprom, and of over PLN 234 mln on 5 remaining companies participating in the construction of the gas pipeline - as a result of the lack of approval for (...)

The US FTC approves final order imposing divestitures as a condition of a merger in the markets for gasoline and diesel fuel (Arko Holdings / Empire Petroleum Partners) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Imposing Conditions on Arko Holdings Ltd.’s Acquisition of Empire Petroleum Partners, LLC* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Arko Holdings Ltd.’s acquisition of Empire Petroleum Partners, LLC (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority prohibits acquisition in passenger transportation in central Portugal due to the risk of eliminating competition (Grupo Fundão / Transdev Group) New
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC prohibits the acquisition of Grupo Fundão by the Transdev Group due to risk of eliminating competition in passenger transportation in central Portugal* The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) issued a prohibition decision relative to the acquisition of Grupo Fundão as well as of the (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears a merger of two multinational groups both active in sports broadcasting and sale of advertising space (PPF / CME)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves PPF’s acquisition of CME* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises ("CME") by PPF Group NV ("PPF"). The Commission concluded the transaction would raise no (...)

The EU Commission takes note of the General Court’s judgment confirming its decision to prohibit an acquisition in the construction sector in Hungary and Croatia (HeidelbergCement / Schwenk Zement / Cemex)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission takes note of General Court judgment in HeidelbergCement/Schwenk/Cemex Hungary/Cemex Croatia merger case* The European Commission takes note of the judgment of the General Court, which confirms the Commission’s decision prohibiting the acquisition by HeidelbergCement and (...)

The EU General Court clarifies the application of the EU merger regulation to acquisitions by joint ventures and other jointly controlled companies (HeidelbergCement) New
Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Brussels)
,
Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Paris)
,
Willkie Farr & Gallagher (London)
On 5 October 2020, the General Court of the European Union (the “General Court”) confirmed the 2017 decision by the European Commission (the “Commission”) to prohibit the proposed acquisition by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk of Cemex Croatia (the “HeidelbergCement case”). In its judgment, the General (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears merger of two global companies supplying financial markets infrastructure products (Refinitiv / London Stock Exchange Group)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
London Stock Exchange Group’s acquisition of Refinitiv not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Refinitiv Parent Limited (Refinitiv) by the London Stock Exchange Group plc (LSEG). LSEG and Refinitiv are global companies supplying financial markets infrastructure (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority imposes a fine for gun jumping on three venture capital funds (Hiventures / Talentuno Technologies) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 September 2020, the Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) imposed fines totalling HUF 15.4m (approximately € 42,000) on three venture capital funds, two of which are controlled by the state-owned venture capital firm Hiventures Zrt, for failing to notify in a timely manner their (...)

The Finnish Market Court grants second extension for processing of financial services companies merger so the Competition Authority can finalize negotiations on conditions (Loomis / Automatia) New
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
The time limit for processing the merger of Loomis and Automatia has been extended until 14.10.2020* The Market Court has extended the processing time limit for the merger between Loomis AB and Automatia Pankkiautomaatit Oy, currently under investigation by the Finnish Competition and Consumer (...)

The US FTC and DOJ propose changes to two aspects of the HSR rules New
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (New York)
,
Shearman & Sterling (Washington)
Overview The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ” and collectively, the “Agencies”) recently proposed changes to two aspects of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (“HSR Act”).The proposed rules are subject to public comment and are unlikely to come into (...)

The US DoJ and FTC announce HSR rule changes that would increase burdens, especially for asset managers and private equity New
Dechert (Washington)
,
Dechert (Washington)
,
Dechert (New York)
Key Takeaways Proposed HSR rule changes would require an acquiring fund to aggregate its holdings with those of its broader fund family. This will substantially increase the number of transactions subject to HSR reporting requirements, especially for asset managers and private equity funds. (...)

The US FTC issues a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the premerger notification rules that implement the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act New
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Tell Me More – Antitrust Agencies to Demand More Information from Investment Funds* The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the premerger notification rules (the “Rules”) that implement the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (...)

The US DoJ and FTC propose to renew their HSR rules to create new exemption for minority acquisitions and increase filing obligations for certain entities New
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
Agencies Also Seek Public Comments that Could Lead to Additional Changes to the HSR Rules The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) (the “Agencies”) announced proposed changes to the premerger notification rules (“Rules”) promulgated under (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks window covering company’s completed acquisition of a competitor (Hunter Douglas / 247 Home Furnishings) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 September 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) ordered the blinds supplier Hunter Doug- las to sell off its majority stake in 247 Home Furnishings, which also sells blinds. The CMA found that the deal, which had already been completed, would substantially lessen (...)

The UK Competition Authority decides that the leading global supplier of window blinds must sell the majority of shares in acquired competitor (Hunter Douglas / 247 Home Furnishings) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Final decision published in window blind merger inquiry* The CMA has decided that Hunter Douglas, owner of online blinds retailer Blinds2Go, must sell the majority of its shares in 247 to protect competition and prevent higher prices. Hunter Douglas originally purchased a minority stake in (...)

The EU Commission announces new policy to accept Member State referrals for merger review even if EC and national thresholds are not met New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
In September 2020, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced that from mid-2021 the European Commission (“EC”) would “start accepting referrals from national competition authorities of mergers that are worth reviewing at the EU level – whether or not those authorities had the power to (...)

The US DoJ releases a merger remedies manual New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On Sept. 3, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) released the Merger Remedies Manual (the manual), which provides guidance on how the agency currently intends to approach the structure and implementation of remedies in merger cases. See Antitrust Div., U. S. Department of (...)

The French Competition Authority prohibits merger in the food retail market (Soditroy / Association des Centres Distributeurs E. Leclerc / Géant Casino) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 August 2020, following an in-depth examination that was announced on 29 October 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) blocked the acquisition of joint control by Soditroy and Association des Centres Distributeurs E.Leclerc (“ACDLec”) of a Géant Casino hypermarket located in (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority approves a brewery merger subject to conditions (Fohrenburg / Brau Union) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 August 2020, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (“FCA”) announced its conditional approval of the acquisition of 63% of the shares and sole control of the brewery company Fohrenburg Beteiligungs-Aktienge- sellschaft (“Fohrenburg”) by Austria’s largest brewery, Brau Union (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf dismisses an appeal brought by two producers of hydrodynamic slide bearings against a decision of the Competition Authority prohibiting them to create a joint venture (Miba / Zollern) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 August 2020, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (“the Court”) dismissed as inadmissible an appeal by Miba and Zollern, two producers of hydrodynamic slide bearings, against a January 2019 decision of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibiting them from creating a joint venture (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines an e-commerce platform for delayed compliance with document request after merger approval (Amazon / Deliveroo) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 September 2020, the UK’s Competition and Market Authority (“CMA”) issued a decision fining Amazon for failing to provide 189 documents by the deadline set by the CMA. The document request came during the CMA’s investigation of Amazon’s purchase of a 16% stake in the food-delivery company (...)

The French Competition Authority updates its merger control guidelines
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
,
Latham & Watkins (Paris)
New French Competition Authority Merger Control Guidelines* On 23 July 2020, the French Competition Authority (FCA or Authority) published new merger control guidelines, which replace the previous guidelines dated 4 July 2013. In the new guidelines, the Authority clarifies and completes (i) (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds in Phase II investigation that customers could lose out in merger between window blind companies (Hunter Douglas / 247 Home Furnishings) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Customers could lose out in merger between window blind companies* The CMA has provisionally found that Hunter Douglas’ purchase of 247 Home Furnishings Ltd raises competition concerns. Hunter Douglas is a leading global supplier of blinds and other window coverings, which generated global (...)

The UK Competition Authority revises its original findings of failing firm defence due to COVID-19 after firm’s improved performance and instead provisionally clears acquisition of 16% of the firm’s stock based on SLC test findings (Amazon / Deliveroo) New Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA revises provisional findings in Amazon/Deliveroo case* The CMA has provisionally cleared Amazon’s 16% investment in Deliveroo, on the basis that it is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition. In its initial provisional findings, published in April, the Competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority cancels its Phase II investigation as building supply companies abandon merger (Kingspan / Building Solutions) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Building supply companies abandon merger during CMA investigation* Kingspan has abandoned its proposed deal with Building Solutions during an in-depth CMA probe. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has therefore today confirmed that it will be cancelling its Phase 2 merger (...)

State Aid

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves aid to an agricultural and trade fair in Norway due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Dyrsku’n) New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves aid to Dyrsku’n agricultural and trade fair in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved aid to Dyrsku’n, Norway’s largest agricultural and trade fair. The aid aims to compensate for pandemic-related losses following the cancellation of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Kokott agrees with the General Court that the Polish tax on the retail sector and the Hungarian advertisement tax do not infringe State aid rules (Commission / Poland) (Commission / Hungary) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
According to Advocate General Kokott, the Polish tax on the retail sector and the Hungarian advertisement tax do not infringe EU State aid rules* State aid rules do not preclude taxation of turnover of undertakings at a progressive rate Following the international trend, Poland and Hungary (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of support to airlines in Norway due to the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of support to airlines in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the extension of the current guarantee scheme for airline operators in Norway until 31 December 2020. Strict containment measures, including travel (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves renewal of Norwegian support to event organisers in the sports and voluntary sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of support to event organisers in the sports and voluntary sector* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved renewal and amendments of a scheme to cover losses following cancellation and postponement of events. Events across Norway have (...)

The EU Commission extends for the fourth time the State aid temporary framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On October 13, the Commission extended and expanded for the fourth time the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (the “TF”).. Based on this amendment, all TF provisions are extended until June 30, 2021 while the section on (...)

The EU Commission publishes a fourth amendment to the State aid temporary framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
,
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
,
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
On 13 October 2020, the Commission decided to extend the coverage of the Temporary Framework and prolong it for six months until 30 June 2021, except for the section on recapitalisation support, which was extended for three months until 30 September 2021 (4th Amendment). In March 2020, the (...)

The EU Commission prolongs and expands Temporary Framework to further support companies facing significant turnover losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission prolongs and expands Temporary Framework to further support companies facing significant turnover losses* The European Commission has decided to prolong and extend the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework adopted on 19 March 2020 to support the economy in the (...)

The EU Commission approves €1.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies affected by COVID-19 outbreak in Southern Italy Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak in Southern Italy* The European Commission has approved a €1.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies operating in regions of Southern Italy affected by the coronavirus outbreak, (...)

The EU Commission consults Member States on a proposal to prolong and adjust State aid Temporary Framework in the context of the changing COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to prolong and adjust State aid Temporary Framework* Today, the European Commission has sent to Member States for consultation a draft proposal to prolong until 30 June 2021 the State aid Temporary Framework, adopted on (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the actions for annulment in the "Spanish tax lease" saga (Spanish tax lease system) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 September 2020, the General Court delivered another judgment in the “Spanish tax lease saga”, concerning certain aid measures granted through tax provisions applicable to agreements put in place for the financing and acquisition of vessels in Spain. This judgment follows the annulment and (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the scope for State aid rules in the nuclear energy sector covered by the Euratom Treaty, as well as their relationship with the general principles of environmental law (Hinkley Point C) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 September 2020, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (the “Court”) dismissed the appeal brought by Austria against the judgment of the General Court (case T-356/15) that rejected its application for annulment against Commission Decision (EU) 2015/658 of 8 October 2014 on the aid (...)

The EU Commission adopts guidelines on State aid measures in the context of the system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading post-2021 New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 September 2020, the Commission published new Guidelines on certain State aid measures in the context of the system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading post-2021 (the “Guidelines”). These Guidelines follow the European Green Deal Communication adopted in 2019 (11.12.2019, COM(2019) (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies some aspects of State aid related to social security contributions (Ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation / Compagnie de pêche de Saint-Malo) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 September 2020, the Court of Justice (the “ECJ” or “Court”) answered several questions raised by a request for a preliminary ruling from the French Conseil d’État, with regard to the interpretation of Commission Decision 2005/239/EC (the “Decision at issue”). This Decision concerned certain aid (...)

The EU Commission clears financial support granted by Romania to an airport as a compensation for the damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak (Timisoara airport) New Free
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
Introduction Applying Article 107(2)(b) TFEU the European Commission has cleared financial support granted by Romania to Timisoara Airport as compensation for damage caused by the outbreak of Covid-19. Background Following the declaration of a state of emergency in Romania on 16 March 2020, (...)

Procedures

The Swedish Government submits a draft bill to the Council on Legislation regarding a proposal for enhanced powers for the Swedish Competition Authority’s administration of investigations and fines
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Draft bill submitted to the Council on Legislation regarding a proposal for enhanced powers of the Swedish Competition Authority* In a draft bill submitted to the Council on Legislation, the Government proposes that the Swedish Competition Authority’s decision-making powers should be extended (...)

The UK Competition Authority lowers discount in fines for resale price maintenance leniency applicants New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 September 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) modified its leniency guidelines so that companies that apply for leniency after the opening of a retail price maintenance (“RPM”) investigation should only expect to receive a maximum 50% discount in fines. Previously, the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts fining guidelines which extend the scope to include the sanction for abuse of economic dependency New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 September 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority adopted new guidelines on the method of setting fines for competition law infringements (the “Fining Guidelines”). The Fining Guidelines were published in the Belgian Official Journal on 16 September 2020 and entered into force immediately. (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that the Spanish Competition Authority cannot be characterized as a "court or tribunal" (Anesco) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 September 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) delivered a judgment in which it ruled on the status of “court or tribunal” within the meaning of Article 267 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union of a body which has submitted a reference for a preliminary (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe considers that the special jurisdiction rule for tort disputes under Brussels I Bis applies to civil liability actions based on an infringement of competition law (Wikingerhof) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 September 2020, Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe rendered his non-binding opinion in the context of a preliminary reference request from the German Federal Court of Justice on the interpretation of Article 7(2) of Regulation 1215/2012 (“Brussels I Bis”). This Article provides that in (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on intellectual property New
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
In August 2020, the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation released four long-awaited sets of anti-monopoly guidelines addressing issues relating to leniency, commitments, the automobile industry, and intellectual property rights. The subjects of this White (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on leniency and commitments New
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
The Anti-Monopoly Bureau of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) released four sets of long-awaited anti-monopoly guidelines. This White Paper addresses the Guidelines on Application of Leniency Program in Horizontal Monopoly Agreement Cases and the Guidelines on (...)

The Turkish Constitutional Court rules that the principle of legality of crimes and punishments violated with respect to determination of administrative fine by the Competition Authority (Onmed) New
ACTECON (Istanbul)
,
ACTECON (Istanbul)
,
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction On 30 September 2020, the Constitutional Court’s long-awaited decision as regards the controversies arisen from the application of the most favorable law in competition law cases was announced in the Turkish Official Gazette. This decision appears to be a crucial one as it is the (...)

Regulatory

The New Zealand Competition Authority consults on draft report by national dairy co-operative on its 2020/21 milk price manual New
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Commission consults on draft report on Fonterra’s 2020/21 Milk Price Manual* The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Farmgate Milk Price Manual for the 2020/21 dairy season. This year’s review focused on the changes Fonterra has made to the (...)

The US DOJ issues positive Business Review Letter to financial derivatives trade organization for its proposed amendments to address interest rate benchmarks (International Swaps and Derivatives Association)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Issues Favorable Business Review Letter To ISDA For Proposed Amendments To Address Interest Rate Benchmarks* The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced today that it has completed its review of the proposal by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (...)

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce adopts rules on handling complaints of foreign-invested enterprises New
Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China
The Ministry of Commerce revised and adopted the Rules on Handling Complaints of Foreign-Invested Enterprises* Recently, the Ministry of Commerce revised and adopted the Rules on Handling Complaints of Foreign-Invested Enterprises (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), which shall come into (...)

The Chinese State Council advances the opening of the financial sector to enhance foreign investments New
Chinese State Council (Beijing)
China to advance orderly opening-up of financial sector: official* BEIJING — China will resolutely push forward the opening-up of the financial sector in an orderly manner as it is a rational choice in line with the needs of development, an official with the central bank said on Aug 25. The (...)

The UK Competition Authority reaches its final price control determination on a dispute between the aviation regulator and air traffic control service provider without taking into account the effects of COVID-19 until they are more definitely known (Civil Aviation Authority / NERL) New Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA final decision on air traffic control charges* The CMA has sent the CAA its final price control determination on a dispute between the aviation regulator and NERL regarding air traffic control charges. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has acted as the independent body charged (...)

The UK Competition Authority proposes reforms to the Scottish legal services sector New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA proposes reforms to Scottish legal services sector* The CMA has completed a research project to examine competition and regulation in the Scottish legal services sector. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is recommending a series of measures to improve the information made (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues