October 2021

General antitrust

The French Competition Authority opens a public consultation on a new framework document on compliance programs New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens a public consultation with a view to publish a new framework document on competition compliance programmes* Update of the 2012 compliance framework document A group of experts from the private sector (companies, professional associations and law firms) and (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its responses to two Government consultations on reforming competition policy and on adopting a new pro-competition regime for digital markets New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA welcomes government proposals on new powers* The CMA has responded to the government’s proposals to enhance its ability to tackle breaches of competition and consumer law and empower the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). Changes would see the CMA given the power to declare companies in breach of (...)

The EU Commission launches a public consultation on the reform of pharmaceutical legislation New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 September 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) launched a public consultation that probes for stakeholders’ views on the reform of the pharmaceutical regulatory framework. The consultation will run until 21 December 2021 and marks a new milestone in a long-running debate (...)

The EU Commission sheds light on the relationship between competition policy and the Green Deal objectives New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
On 10 September 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a competition policy brief in which it provides more detail on its policy approach in its upcoming sustainability guidance. Following a call for contributions last year and a conference bringing together relevant stakeholders (...)

The Austrian Government amends the Cartel and Competition Act introducing new rules on merger control and digital platforms New
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
Earlier this month, an extensive amendment of the Austrian Cartel Act came into force. The changes relate to merger control (thresholds and substantive review), digital platforms and the role of sustainability in competition law. In this blog post, we focus on the changes to the merger control (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes the final report on its sector inquiry into hospitals
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Final report on the sector inquiry into hospitals: Merger control guarantees competition and quality* Today the Bundeskartellamt has published the final report on its sector inquiry into German hospitals. The outcome of the inquiry confirms the important role played by competition in ensuring (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority publishes new guidelines on its leniency program and the setting of fines New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes new guidelines on its leniency programme and the setting of fines* The Bundeskartellamt has published new guidelines on its leniency program and on the setting of fines in cartel proceedings. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Key witnesses still play (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a champagne company for setting up an exclusive import agreement in La Réunion contrary to the Lurel Act (Cattier) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution in La Réunion: Cattier company fined for setting up an exclusive import agreement on the distribution of its champagne in La Réunion* Background Following a report sent by the French Minister of Economy (DGCCRF), the Autorité de la concurrence established that the Cattier company (...)

The EU Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by telecommunication companies concerning their network sharing agreements (T-Mobile CZ / CETIN / O2 CZ) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by T-Mobile CZ, CETIN, and O2 CZ concerning the Czech telecommunications market* The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by T-Mobile CZ, CETIN, O2 CZ, and their respective parent companies, Deutsche Telekom and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €127 million for their participation in a cartel that fraudulently divvied up at least 82 tenders in the railway sector (Alstom / Bombardier / Cafs / Cobra / Nokia...) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC imposed fines of more than 127.8 million euros on the main security, signaling and communications systems companies of AVE’s medium-distance and commuter network in Spain.* For 15 years, these companies made up a cartel that divvied up tenders called for by Adif, with a value of more (...)

The EU General Court maintains the fines imposed by the Commission on several undertakings for their participation in a cartel on the market for aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors (NEC / Nichicon / Tokin / Rubycon / Nippon Chemi-Con) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
The General Court maintains the fines imposed by the Commission on several undertakings by reason of their participation in a cartel on the market for aluminium electrolytic capacitors and tantalum electrolytic capacitors * By decision of 21 March 2018 [1], the Commission imposed a total fine (...)

The US FTC reaches proposed settlement with a State dental licensing agency to charges that it unreasonably excluded lower-cost online and teledentistry providers from competition (Alabama Board of Dental Examiners) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Alabama Board of Dental Examiners Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Unreasonably Excluded Lower Cost Online and Teledentistry Providers from Competition* To settle FTC charges that its actions violated the antitrust laws, the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama has agreed to stop requiring (...)

The New Zealand High Court imposes a $150K penalty for taxi cartel conduct for pick-up trips from Wellington Airport (Hutt / City Taxis) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Penalty imposed for taxi cartel conduct* The High Court has ordered Hutt and City Taxis Limited (Hutt & City) to pay a penalty of $150,000 in relation to fixing the prices of taxi fares. Statement of Preliminary Issues released on EROAD/Coretex clearance application The Commission filed (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority publishes a final report and best practices guide on anticompetitive agreements in the labor market New
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC publishes final Report and Best Practices Guide on anticompetitive agreements in the labor market* The AdC publishes final Report and Best Practices Guide on anticompetitive agreements in the labor market The Competition Authority has published the final version of the Report and Best (...)

The Russian Competition Authority and Federal Tax Service check prices in the construction materials markets and find a significant increase in financial indicators in several markets New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS AND FEDERAL TAX SERVICE CHECK PRICES IN THE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS MARKETS* Based on the results of joint work, a significant increase in financial indicators was revealed in a number of markets Due to the increase in prices for building materials in 2021 and a large number of incoming (...)

The US DoJ and FTC issue joint statement to preserve competition in post-hurricane relief efforts New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts* The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking (...)

The US FTC and DoJ issue joint statement to preserve competition in post-hurricane relief efforts New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts* The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part (...)

The US FTC streamlines consumer protection and competition investigations in eight key enforcement areas to enable higher caseload New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Streamlines Consumer Protection and Competition Investigations in Eight Key Enforcement Areas to Enable Higher Caseload* Agency to Focus on Service Members and Veterans; Children; Algorithmic and Biometric Bias; Deceptive and Manipulative Conduct on the Internet; and Repair Restrictions; (...)

The Australian Competition Authority grants interim authorization to medicine wholesalers to continue to cooperate in providing fair and efficient access to essential medication and pharmacy products as the COVID-19 pandemic continues Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Medicine wholesalers to continue to co-operate on COVID-19 response* The ACCC has granted interim authorization to medicine wholesalers to continue to co-operate in providing fair and efficient access to essential medication and pharmacy products as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The new (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes to authorize a national union of commercial radio broadcasters to collectively bargain with two Big Tech companies (Commercial Radio Australia / Google / Facebook)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes to authorise Commercial Radio Australia to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook* The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payment for their member stations’ (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several players in the road freight transport sector €500K for boycotting digital intermediation platforms (H2P / Astre / Tred Union / Evolutrans...)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines several players in the road freight transport sector for boycotting digital intermediation platforms* Background The Autorité opened an investigation following a referral from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (DGCCRF), followed by dawn raids in 2018. (...)

The US DoJ indicts a commercial flooring executive for a money laundering charge as part of a long-running bid-rigging investigation (Michael Zmijewski)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Commercial Flooring Executive Indicted on Money Laundering Charge as Part of a Long-Running Bid Rigging Investigation* A federal grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois returned a one-count indictment charging Michael Zmijewski for his role in a money laundering conspiracy involving (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces that a bathroomware company admitted to likely resale price maintenance (Nero Bathrooms)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Bathroomware brand Nero admits to likely resale price maintenance* Bathroomware brand, Nero Bathrooms International Pty Ltd, trading as Nero Tapware, has admitted it was likely to have engaged in resale price maintenance by withholding supply of its products from a small independent building (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority authorizes a company to engage in resale price maintenance to its proposed online stores and marketplaces (HP)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commerce Commission issues determination on HP New Zealand’s application to engage in resale price maintenance* The Commerce Commission has authorized HP New Zealand Limited (HP) to engage in resale price maintenance (RPM) in relation to its proposed HP online stores and HP online marketplace (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into potential anti-competitive conduct by a company engaged in the manufacturing and sale of commercial vehicles (Tata Motors) New
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Even if there is a delay in the filing of information on behalf of the informants, the Act does not envisage any period of limitation as inquiries conducted by CCI are proceedings in rem. There can be no limitation period in competition law as in a changing and evolving market (...)

The Irish Competition Authority seeks a High Court order on its proposed agreement with a national furniture retailer to avoid RPM (Coach House) New
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC seeks High Court order on Coach House agreement* In April 2019, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices by Chairs Limited, which trades under the name “Coach House” in the Republic of Ireland. Coach House is (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Australian Competition Authority reports a standstill in the domestic airline industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and cautions airports against using their market power to try to recoup losses after the pandemic through excessive prices New Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
COVID restrictions bring domestic airline industry to a standstill* Travel restrictions as a result of the recent COVID-19 Delta outbreaks have brought the majority of domestic flying to a stop and delivered a significant blow to the local airline industry, the ACCC’s latest Airline Competition (...)

The Australian Competition Authority publishes a report on advertising technology and identifies significant competition concerns namely due to a Big Tech company’s dominance of the sector (Google) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Google’s dominance in ad tech supply chain harms businesses and consumers* An ACCC inquiry into the advertising technology (or ‘ad tech’) sector has identified significant competition concerns and likely harms to publishers, advertisers, and, ultimately, consumers. The report, published today, (...)

The EU Commission approves Greek commitments to remove the distortion created by the state-owned electricity provider’s exclusive access to lignite-fired generation (PPC)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission approves Greek measures to increase access to electricity for PPC’s competitors* The European Commission has made legally binding, under EU antitrust rules, measures proposed by Greece to allow the competitors of Public Power Corporation (PPC), the Greek state-owned (...)

The Japanese FTC closes the investigation against a Big Tech company for allegedly restricting business activities of digital app developers on its app store after the company agreed to update the store’s guidelines, including on payment methods and app review process (Apple) New
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Closing the Investigation on the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Apple Inc.* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “JFTC”) has investigated Apple Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Apple”) in accordance with the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act since (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint against two regional development authorities and clarifies that a statutory body exercising economic functions cannot be guilty of abuse of dominance for policy-making decisions which apply equally to all market participants (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority / New Okhla Industrial Development Authority) New
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS A statutory body exercising economic functions can not be said to have abused its dominant position in a particular relevant market for any decisions taken as part of the policy-making process, which apply equally to all market participants. BRIEF FACTS Three separate informations (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses antitrust complaint against a paint manufacturer because simply filing a criminal complaint against its competitor is not considered abuse of dominance (Asian Paints) New
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Filing a criminal complaint against another enterprise in the same sector cannot be said to have been done with a view to oust competition from the relevant market in the absence of any additional evidence to indicate contraventions of Section 3 and/or 4 of the Act. BRIEF FACTS (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds an abuse of dominance in the market for wholesale procurement of branded alcoholic beverages within the State of Uttarakhand (International Spirits and Wines Association of India / Uttarakhand Agricultural Produce Marketing Board) New
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Cutting off supply/distribution of particular brands, thereby allowing market access to only a dominant entity leads to abuse of its dominant position by such entity. An effective push to competition happens when the efficiency of slower-moving products is enhanced such that a (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the dairy sector between an agricultural cooperative and an ultra-fresh dairy products producer (Yoplait / Sodiaal) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Yoplait by Sodiaal (Candia, Entremont, Régilait…)* Sodiaal cooperative group notified the Autorité de la concurrence on 3 September 2021, of its plan to acquire control of the Yoplait group (excluding US activities). After its review, the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority gives its green light to a proposed acquisition in the healthcare transcription sector (Microsoft / Nuance) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Nuance not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Nuance Inc. by Microsoft Corporation. Nuance supplies speech recognition and transcription software primarily to the healthcare market, as well as customer engagement software that (...)

The Australian Competition Authority investigates the impact of a completed acquisition on the supply chain for bulk grain export through the Port of Newcastle (Qube Logistics / Newcastle Agri Terminal) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC investigates Qube’s completed acquisition of Newcastle Agri Terminal* The ACCC will conduct an investigation into potential competition issues arising from Qube’s (ASX: QUB) completed acquisition of the Newcastle Agri Terminal. As the investigation relates to a completed acquisition it will (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two retail clothing shops (Caroll / Beaumanoir) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Caroll by Beaumanoir* The Beaumanoir Group notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire all the Caroll shops located in France. Parties to the transaction The Beaumanoir Group owns clothes shops in France and abroad, (...)

The UK Government proposes to accept revised national security undertakings offered under the acquisition of a telecommunications equipment company by a Chinese radio manufacturer to ensure maintenance of the TETRA Airwave Network used by national emergency services (Sepura / Hytera) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Acquisition of Sepura plc by Hytera Communications Corporation Limited: revised national security undertakings* Consultation description The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, announced on 28 September 2021 that he is proposing to accept (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority authorizes two concentrations in the banking and insurance sectors related to a previously approved merger (Bankia / Caixabank) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC has authorized two concentrations in phase 1 without commitments related to the CAIXABANK/BANKIA merger approved on 23 March 2021 (See Spanish Competition Authority, The Spanish Competition Authority clears a merger between the third and fourth-largest banks in the country subject to (...)

The EU General Court dismisses a French telecommunications company’s action against the Commission’s decision to impose two fines totaling €124.5 million in connection to its acquisition of a Portuguese competitor (Altice / PT Portugal) New
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court dismisses Altice Europe’s action against the Commission decision imposing two fines totalling €124.5 million in connection with the acquisition of PT Portugal* However, it orders the amount of the fine relating to the breach of the obligation to notify the concentration to the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorizes two national healthcare companies to form and operate a health services buying group (Honeysuckle / Nib Health Funds) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Honeysuckle Health, nib buying group authorised with condition* The ACCC has authorised Honeysuckle Health and nib Health Funds (ASX: NHF) to form and operate a health services buying group. The authorisation has been granted with a condition that major insurers Medibank, Bupa, HCF and HBF in (...)

The US DoJ blocks an unprecedented domestic alliance between two national airline companies (American Airlines / Jetblue) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block Unprecedented Domestic Alliance Between American Airlines and JetBlue* Alliance Eliminates Competition in New York and Boston and Harms Air Travelers Nationwide The U.S. Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in six states and the District of (...)

The EU Commission raises the stakes by issuing a statement of objections against a healthcare company in which it threatens to adopt interim measures to prevent potentially irreparable damage on competition (Illumina / Grail) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Less than a month ago, the European Commission (the Commission) announced that it would open an investigation to determine whether Illumina’s decision to acquire Grail pending its review of that transaction under Regulation 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (the (...)

The EU Commission announces interim measures following a breach of the standstill obligation between two healthcare companies specialized in genomic sequencing (Illumina / Grail)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: The Commission adopts a Statement of Objections in view of adopting interim measures following Illumina’s early acquisition of GRAIL* The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Illumina and GRAIL informing them of the interim measures it intends to adopt following (...)

The Australian Competition Authority launches an investigation into a proposed merger between three meat and food processing companies (JBS / Rivalea / Oxdale Dairy) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
JBS’ proposed acquisition of Rivalea raises preliminary competition concerns* The ACCC has outlined its preliminary competition concerns about JBS Australia Pty Ltd’s (JBS) proposed acquisition of Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd and Oxdale Dairy Enterprise Pty Ltd (together, Rivalea) in a statement of (...)

The US FTC publishes a report summarizing findings from a study of unreported Big Tech acquisitions New
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 15 September 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published findings from its retrospective study of the non-reported acquisitions by five large technology companies from 2010-2019 (the Report). Focusing on 616 transactions valued at above US$1 million, the Commissioners noted four key (...)

The US DoJ issues a statement following the FTC’s vote to withdraw from the Vertical Merger Guidelines New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Issues Statement on the Vertical Merger Guidelines* Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division issued the following statement today after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to withdraw from the 2020 Vertical Merger (...)

The US FTC votes to withdraw its approval of the Vertical Merger Guidelines with no plans to replace it New
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently voted to withdraw its approval of the Vertical Merger Guidelines (the 2020 VMGs), which, as we covered in the past, the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) issued over a year ago on June 30, 2020. The vote on September 15, 2021 to rescind the (...)

The US FTC presents a report on nearly a decade of unreported acquisitions by Big Tech companies New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Staff Presents Report on Nearly a Decade of Unreported Acquisitions by the Biggest Technology Companies* Report analyzes acquisitions by Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft At an open Commission meeting today, the Federal Trade Commission staff presented findings from (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation into the merger of two national furniture stores (Conforama / But)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Takeover of Conforama France by the Mobilux Group (BUT): the Autorité opens an in-depth examination* The Mobilux Group (hereinafter "Mobilux"), which controls the But group, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of the acquisition of sole control of 172 Conforama and Confo! stores after the (...)

The US FTC withdraws Vertical Merger Guidelines and commentary to prevent industrial and judicial reliance on unsound economic theories New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Federal Trade Commission Withdraws Vertical Merger Guidelines and Commentary* 2020 guidance withdrawn to prevent industry and judicial reliance on unsound economic theories; FTC to work with DOJ to update merger guidance The Federal Trade Commission voted to withdraw its approval of the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority finds that the proposed coordination of Japanese and Australian flights between two airlines is not in the public interest (Qantas / Japan Airlines)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC finds Qantas and Japan Airlines alliance not in the public interest* The ACCC has denied authorisation for Qantas (ASX:QAN) and Japan Airlines to coordinate flights between Australia and Japan under the terms of a joint business agreement. The ACCC found that the agreement would likely (...)

The French Competition Authority conditionally clears the acquisition by a food distributor of 100 stores previously owned by a competitor and for the first time recognizes the existence of a market for organic products (Bio c’ Bon / Carrefour)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Conditionnal green light to the acquisition of 100 Bio c’ Bon stores by Carrefour* For the first time, the Autorité has recognized the existence of a market for organic products The Autorité clears the takeover of 100 Bio c’Bon stores by Carrefour, subject to the divestiture of eight stores On (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves after a Phase II investigation the terms and conditions of a merger in the funeral services market (Santa Lucía / Funespaña)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC approves the terms and conditions of Santa Lucía’s acquisition of virtually all the assets of Funespaña, Mapfre Group’s funeral plan provider* The transaction affects the funeral services and prepaid funeral plan sectors. Authorisation is contingent on compliance with four terms and (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a payment systems merger after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking offered by the parties (BPAY / eftpos / NPPA)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC authorises payment systems merger after undertaking* The ACCC has authorised the proposed merger of BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries (together, BPAY), eftpos Payments Australia Ltd (eftpos) and NPP Australia Ltd (NPPA), after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces its concerns about a proposed merger between two plagiarism softwares (Turnitin / Ouriginal) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Preliminary concerns about anti-plagiarism software merger* The ACCC has preliminary competition concerns with Turnitin’s proposed acquisition of Ouriginal. Turnitin and Ouriginal are international providers of anti-plagiarism software, primarily overlapping in the supply of this software to (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that the merger between a national music distributor and a Japanese technology company raises competition concerns (Awal / Sony)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Sony’s purchase of AWAL raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Sony’s completed purchase of AWAL raises competition concerns, following a Phase 1 investigation. Deal could lead to worse terms for artists and less innovation in the music sector The music industry is evolving, with (...)

The UK Competition Authority prepares a report on the merger between a material manufacturer and a telecommunications company in light of a public interest intervention notice issued over the proposed acquisition (Perpetuus / Taurus)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Public interest intervention notice issued over proposed acquisition of The Perpetuus Group by Taurus International Ltd and others* A notice was issued today relating to the proposed acquisition of The Perpetuus Group by Taurus International Ltd and others. On 5 September, acting on official (...)

The UK Competition Authority reassesses a merger in the activewear sector and provisionally finds it raises competition concerns (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Competition concerns remain over JD Sports merger* The CMA has provisionally found JD Sports’ takeover of Footasylum could lead to a worse deal for shoppers, after reassessing the merger. Following the CMA’s final decision to block the merger between JD Sports and Footasylum in May 2020, JD (...)

The US DoJ requires divestitures for a proposed merger between two banks (BancorpSouth Bank / Cadence Bank)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Divestitures in BancorpSouth Bank’s Merger with Cadence Bank* Divestiture of Seven Mississippi Branches will Protect Consumers in Rural Communities and Small Towns The Department of Justice announced today that BancorpSouth Bank and Cadence Bank have agreed to sell (...)

The US DoJ announces the fining of a Wall Street bank CEO for gun-jumping (Richard Fairbank / Capital One)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Capital One CEO to Pay Civil Penalty for Violating Antitrust Pre-Transaction Notification Requirements* The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, (...)

The US FTC fines the CEO of a Wall Street bank for repeatedly violating antitrust laws by illegally finalizing stock acquisitions (Capital One / Richard Fairbank)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Fines Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank for Repeatedly Violating Antitrust Laws* On multiple occasions, Wall Street banker failed to comply with federal antitrust laws when he illegally finalized stock acquisitions Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Richard Fairbank, CEO of (...)

The French Competition Authority conditionally clears an acquisition between two suppliers specialized in the trade-in wood and panels for construction professionals (Chausson Matériaux / Saint-Gobain)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Wood and panel trade: the Autorité conditionally clears the acquisition of Panofrance (Chausson Matériaux) by Distribution Matériaux Bois-Panneaux (Saint-Gobain)* On 6 July 2021, Distribution Matériaux Bois-Panneaux (DMBP) notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a magazine publisher’s plans to participate in the joint venture with a distribution company (MZV / Klambt)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears Klambt’s participation in MZV* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared plans by the magazine publisher Klambt to participate in the joint venture MZV Moderner Zeitschriften-Vertrieb previously controlled by FUNKE Mediengruppe and Burda. The authority specifically examined the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority proposes substantial changes to national antitrust merger review including introducing mandatory review and increased scrutiny of companies with substantial market power New
Jones Day (Melbourne)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
In Short The Situation: The leadership of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has put forward a series of sweeping proposals that, if implemented, would be the most substantial changes to Australian antitrust merger laws in nearly 30 years. The Context: Today, merger (...)

The EU Commission opens a new front by investigating a possible violation of a standstill obligation under the EU Merger Regulation against a concentration that is below usual EU and national thresholds for review (Illumina / Grail) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 August 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) announced that it would investigate whether Illumina’s decision, made public on 18 August 2021, to acquire Grail pending the Commission’s review of that transaction under Regulation 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between (...)

The US FTC initiates proceedings against two hospitals to prevent their proposed merger (Hackensack Meridian Health / Englewood Healthcare) New
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 4 August 2021, the District Court of New Jersey granted the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) motion for preliminary injunction, preventing Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) and Englewood Healthcare (Englewood) from closing their proposed merger pending an administrative trial before an FTC (...)

The US AG Merrick Garland gives a statement on the decision to terminate the planned $30 billion merger of the second and third largest insurance brokers in the world (Aon / Willis Tower Watson) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Statement on Aon and Willis Towers Watson Decision to Terminate Merger Agreement* Decision Follows DOJ Lawsuit to Prevent Harmful Consolidation and Preserve Competition Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today released the following statement on Aon plc’s (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger between two gas companies (Primagaz / Benegas) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears acquisition of gas company Primagaz by rival company Benegas* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of gas company Primagaz Nederland by rival company Benegas. ACM does not expect the acquisition to lead to any price increases. The gas (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority further investigates a merger between two national clinics (Eurocept and Excellent Clinics / Mediq) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Further investigation needed into the acquisition of Eurocept and Excellent Clinics by Mediq* Mediq Nederland wishes to acquire Eurocept Homecare and Excellent Clinics. Mediq and Eurocept supply, among other products, medical aids and medical nutrition to patients that receive care at home. In (...)

The EU Commission plans on reviewing a transaction even though EU and national turnover thresholds are not reached (Illumina / Grail) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a controversial move, the European Commission (the Commission) announced on 20 April 2021 that it would review the proposed acquisition of cancer detection test start-up Grail by genomics firm Illumina, both of the US. The Commission acted on a request of France, which was backed by three (...)

The Dutch District Court of Rotterdam annuls the acquisition of a distributor of educational materials by a publisher and orders the Competition Authority to assess the anticompetitive effects of potential product bundling by a would-be merged entity (Iddink / Sanoma Learning) New
Van Doorne (Amsterdam)
,
Van Doorne (Amsterdam)
The District Court of Rotterdam has annulled a decision in which the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) approved the acquisition of Iddink by Sanoma Learning. This is the second time in 12 months that an approval decision by the relevant Dutch authorities has been annulled by the (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission invites comments on draft amendments to the General Block Exemption Regulation to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites comments on draft proposal to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition* The European Commission is inviting Member States and all other interested parties to comment on certain proposed amendments to the General (...)

The EU Commission in two separate decisions clears Italian public support for a ferry service and closes the investigation on another ferry service that has since been put into liquidation (Laziomar) (Saremar) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission clears Italian public support for Laziomar ferry service; closes investigation concerning support to Saremar* The European Commission has concluded that the public service compensation granted since 2011 to Laziomar S.p.A. (‘Laziomar’) for the operation of ferry services in (...)

The EU Commission approves the 2022-2027 regional aid map for Poland New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Poland* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Poland’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027, within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (“RAG”). The revised (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to the Norwegian compensation scheme for organizers of canceled or downscaled cultural events due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves amendments to Norwegian compensation scheme for organisers of cancelled or downscaled cultural events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a Norwegian scheme to compensate organisers and subcontractors for losses related to (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves amendments to a Norwegian compensation scheme for businesses suffering financial losses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves amendments to Norwegian compensation scheme for businesses suffering financial losses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved changes to a Norwegian support scheme for businesses seeking compensation for COVID-19-related financial difficulties. (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a renewal of temporary amendments to Norwegian tax refund scheme for seafarers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of temporary amendments to Norwegian tax refund scheme for seafarers* The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today approved the renewal of temporary amendments to a Norwegian aid scheme granting tax refunds to shipping companies aimed at off-setting the (...)

The EU Commission approves an award of slots at the Paris-Orly airport to a low-cost airline company in the context of its competitor’s recapitalisation due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Vueling / Air France) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves award of slots at Paris-Orly airport to Vueling in context of Air France’s recapitalisation* The European Commission has ranked Vueling first among the air carriers that have applied for the portfolio of up to 18 daily slots at Paris-Orly airport. These will be (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Hungary
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Hungary* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Hungary’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027. The Hungarian regional aid map is among the first maps approved by the Commission (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Slovakia
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Slovakia* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Slovakia’s map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027. The Slovak regional aid map is among the first maps approved by the Commission (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a production grant scheme for private media outlets in Iceland in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves production grant scheme for private media outlets in Iceland* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a grant scheme for private media outlets in Iceland. The scheme aims to improve operating conditions and strengthen the media’s role in providing factual (...)

The EU Commission approves a €3 billion French scheme to provide debt and capital support to companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €3 billion French scheme to provide debt and capital support to companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, French plans to set up a €3 billion fund that will invest through debt, hybrid and equity (...)

The EU Commission concludes after an in-depth investigation that Italian loans worth €900 million granted to a national airline are illegal aid (Alitalia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission concludes Italian loans worth €900 million to Alitalia are illegal aid* The European Commission has concluded that two State loans for an amount of €900 million, granted by Italy to Alitalia in 2017, are illegal under EU State aid rules. Italy must therefore recover the (...)

The EU Commission finds that a new Italian airline company is not an economic successor and therefore is not liable to repay an illegal State aid received by another national air carrier (ITA / Alitalia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds new air carrier ITA is not Alitalia’s economic successor and Italy’s capital injections into ITA are market conform* The European Commission has found that Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A. (“ITA”) is not the economic successor of Alitalia and, hence, it is not liable to (...)

The EU Commission finds that Denmark and Sweden need to recover €66 million of incompatible aid resulting from two capital injections granted to a postal company (PostNord / Post Danmark)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: €314.6 million capital injection from PostNord to Post Danmark does not constitute State aid; Denmark and Sweden need to recover €66 million of incompatible aid from PostNord* The European Commission has found that an internal capital injection of DKK 2.34 billion (approximately (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeals brought against the judgments of the General Court upholding the classification of the Spanish tax rules on the amortization of financial goodwill as State aid incompatible with the internal market (Deutsche Telekom / Banco Santander / Sigma Alimentos Exterior / Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad / Duty Free Group / Banco Santander / Santusa) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice dismisses the appeals brought against the judgments of the General Court upholding the classification of the Spanish tax rules on the amortisation of financial goodwill as State aid incompatible with the internal market* In 2007, after a number of written questions had (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Bobek proposes to include protected legal interests within the threefold conditions for the ne bis in idem principle thereby allowing the Belgian Competition Authority to pursue a fine against a postal incumbent which had already been fined by its sectoral regulator (bpost / Nordzuck)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 September 2021, Advocate General (AG) Bobek delivered his opinion in case C-117/20, bpost SA v. Autorité belge de la Concurrence, on the conditions of application of the ne bis in idem principle, pursuant to which one cannot be tried or punished for an infringement for which one has already (...)

EU Court of Justice AG Bobek proposes a unified test for the protection against double jeopardy (ne bis in idem) under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (bpost / Nordzuck) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Advocate General Bobek proposes a unified test for the protection against double jeopardy (ne bis in idem) under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights* That test should rely on a threefold identity: of the offender; of the relevant facts; and of the protected legal interest A Belgian and an (...)

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