September 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The Latvian Competition Authority imposes interim measures suspending concession agreements concluded between a municipality and two waste management companies (Riga Municipality / Getliņi EKO / Tīrīga)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The Competition Council adopts a decision imposing interim measures regarding waste management in Riga* On September 9th the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) adopted a decision imposing interim measures on Riga Municipality and the limited liability company owned by it – SIA Getliņi (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines 14 banks for exchange of information (BBVA, BIC, BPI, BCP, BES, BANIF, Barclays, CGD, Caixa de Crédito Agrícola, Montepio, Santander, Deutsche Bank and UCI)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC imposes a fine of 225 million euros to 14 banks* The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência - AdC) fined 14 banks in the total amount of 225 million euros in connection with the concerted practice of exchanging sensitive commercial data, during a period of more than (...)

The French Competition Authority and the Austrian Competition Authority carry out unannounced inspections in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Dawn raids* The General Rapporteur of the Austrian competition authority and the General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicate that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector. Following judicial (...)

The Danish Competition Authority informs that demolition companies and its management members payed fines after they entered into settlement agreements with the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (G. Tscherning / Villy C. Petersen / Brandis)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Demolitions companies and management members pay fines in settlement agreements for bid rigging* Three demolition companies and three management members have entered into settlement agreements with the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for infringing (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to operators of mobile telephony regarding their network sharing agreement in the Czech market (O2 / CETIN / T-Mobile)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to O2 CZ, CETIN and T-Mobile CZ for their network sharing agreement* The European Commission has informed Czech operators of mobile telephony O2 CZ and T-Mobile CZ, as well as the Czech telecom infrastructure provider CETIN of its preliminary (...)

The Danish Competition Authority informs that an association of camera distributors accepts fine for price coordination and information exchange (Team DS)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Team DS a.m.b.a., Denmark, accepts fine for price coordination and information exchange”* On 6 August 2019, the Danish association of camera distributors Team DS a.m.b.a. accepted to pay a fine of DKK 1,300,000 (€ 174,300) for coordination of prices and information exchange between the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes the highest fines ever applied for a cartel in the financial sector (Lusitania - Companhia de Seguros / Zurich Insurance)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The first cartel sanctioned by the AdC in the Portuguese financial sector has the highest fines ever applied* The AdC applied a fine totalling more than €54 million on insurance companies, board members and directors involved in the “insurer cartel”. The proceedings is now concluded with the (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes a record-breaking £3.7 million fine for online resale price maintenance (Casio)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 1 August 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) imposed a fine of £ 3.7 million (approximately € 4.1 million) on piano supplier Casio Electronics (“Casio”) for online resale price maintenance (RPM). Between the years 2013 and 2018, Casio reportedly (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes record fine of € 54 million for a cartel in the insurance market (Lusitania / Zürich)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 August 2019, the Portuguese competition authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, “AdC”) published a press release in which it announced that it had imposed total fines of € 42 million on two insurance companies (Lusitania and Zürich), two board members and two directors for, inter alia, (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rules that a car supplier was free to terminate a selective car distribution contract with distributor despite meeting selection criteria (Garage Richard Drevet / Hyundai)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 31 July 2019, the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court”) ruled that Hyundai did not discriminate against retailer Garage Richard Drevet by terminating its car distribution contract. The Court essentially ruled that each car supplier is free to determine whether to grant access to its selective (...)

The EU Commission changes its preliminary view on the inspection of a Slovak rail company and closes the infringement proceedings as a result (ZSSK)
Havel, Holasek & Partners (Brno)
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Havel, Holasek & Partners (Bratislava)
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Havel, Holasek & Partners (Prague)
European Commission changed its preliminary view on the inspection in Slovak rail company ZSSK and closed the infringement proceedings* On 25 September 2018, the European Commission (“ Commission ”) published a press release that it sent a statement of objections to Slovak rail company ZSSK for (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines companies for price fixing cartel in the sewage treatment market (Daska / Krtolin / Jole / Garma-promet / Kula)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Price fixing cartel in the sewage treatment market – CCA imposes fines* The Croatian Competition Agency detected a prohibited agreement – cartel between five undertakings in the Šibenik region who fixed the price in the provision of pumping out, transportation and disposal of human waste from (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several companies having implemented two anticompetitive agreements in the market for corrugated cardboard sheets and in the market for corrugated cardboard packaging (Pro-Gest, Cartonstrong Italia, Ondulato Trevigiano, Ondulati Maranello...)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: corrugated cardboard, fines of over €287 million for the main manufacturing companies* On 17 July 2019, the Antitrust Authority concluded an investigation, finding that two separate agreements had been implemented to distort the competitive dynamics in the market for corrugated cardboard (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice annuls a judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf imposing a fine on a drugstore for engaging in resale price maintenance (Rossmann)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 July 2019, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) annulled a judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the “Court”) which had increased a fine imposed on drugstore Rossmann for engaging in resale price maintenance (“RPM”) from € 5.25 million to € 30 million. In December 2015, the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Mexican Competition Authority fines an airport for refusal to deal in the market for federal land transportation (Cancun Airport)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions the Cancun Airport for refusal to deal in the market for federal land transportation* The Cancun International Airport conducted a set of actions to prevent new participants from providing services, as the only agent that can rent and grant spaces for taxi access. • The harm (...)

The Competition Commission of Mauritius orders two multinational financial companies to reduce their banking interchange fees in order to promote competition (Visa / MasterCard)
Nortons (Sandton)
Mauritius: Competition Commission orders VISA and MasterCard to lower interchange fees* On 13 August 2019, the Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) has, following a lengthy investigation, ordered VISA and MasterCard (Respondents) to reduce their banking interchange fees from 1% to 0,5%. (...)

The Competition Commission of India orders investigation into multinational technology company with the aim of protecting Micro-processors importers from the company’s discriminatory practices (Intel)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
On 9th August 2019, the Competition Commission of India directed the Director General to carry out investigations against Intel Corporation for allegedly violating Section 3 and 4 of the Indian Competition Act, 2002 (the ‘Act’). The case in hand was filed by Matrix Info Systems Pvt. Ltd. (the (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines an electricity provider for abuse of dominance (National Electricity Company EAD)
Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (Sofia)
The Commission for Protection of Competition imposed to the National Electricity Company EAD pecuniary sanctions in a total amount of 315 612 BGN for infringements of Art. 21, p. 1 of the LPC. NEK abused its dominant position on the market of balancing of electricity producers from renewable (...)

The Munich District Court issues an anti-suit injunction in patent litigation (Nokia)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
On July 11 2019, the Munich I District Court (Landgericht) issued an anti-suit injunction in patent litigation, preventing an automotive company from further pursuing proceedings in the United States. The Munich decision might become a landmark case because German courts have historically not (...)

The Antwerp Enterprise Court refers request for preliminary ruling to the EU Court of Justice in excessive pricing case between festival organisers (SABAM / BVBA / Wecandance)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 May 2019, the Antwerp Enterprise Court (the “Court”) referred a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) in two separate cases between Belgian festival organisers Weareone. World BVBA (the organisers of Tomorrowland) and Wecandance NV (the (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the markets of cosmetics and perfumes (Colgate Palmolive / Laboratoires Filorga Cosmétiques)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Cosmetic products* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Laboratoires Filorga Cosmétiques by Colgate Palmolive On 7 August 2019, Colgate-Palmolive notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to take over Laboratoires Filorga Cosmétiques . By a decision issued today, the (...)

The French Competition Authority closes the ex officio proceedings to verify the compliance of remedies concerning a merger in the telecom sector (Altice France / SFR)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Telecoms* The Autorité closes the ex officio proceedings it had started to ensure compliance with the commitments concerning the sale of Completel’s DSL network made by Altice France when it acquired SFR. The Autorité considers that there is no evidence to characterise Altice France’s actions (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the postal delivery market (Sandd / PostNL)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM does not grant a license for the acquisition of postal operator Sandd by PostNL* Having conducted a thorough investigation, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has decided not to grant a license for the acquisition of postal operator Sandd by rival operator PostNL. (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the men’s clothing and footwear retail markets (SMCP / De Fursac)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Clothing and shoes* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of the group De Fursac by the group SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot) On 24 July 2019, the group SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot brands) notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to take over the group De (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the market for the transfer of professional players, which had never been defined before by decision-making practice (OGC Nice / Ineos)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Professional football* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of OGC Nice by Ineos On 22 July 2019, Ineos notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire control of SASP Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Côte d’Azur, which manages the OGC Nice football club. By a (...)

The UK Competition Authority raises competition concerns regarding a merger in the markets of supply of IT systems used by airlines and travel agents to sell airline tickets (Sabre / Farelogix)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Sabre’s takeover of Farelogix raises competition concerns* Sabre’s proposed takeover of Farelogix raises competition concerns in the supply of IT systems used by airlines and travel agents to sell airline tickets. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating the proposed (...)

The Competition Commission of India issues regulatory changes to the merger notification procedure
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
In a welcome move, on 13 August 2019, amendments to the Combination Regulations were published in The Gazette of India. With effect from 15 August 2019 (India’s Independence Day), parties to notifiable acquisitions, mergers and amalgamations (collectively referred to as “combinations”) will, if (...)

The Competition Commission of India releases amendments to its regulations, introducing a green channel mechanism for mergers and acquisitions
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
As part of the scheme of the Ease of Doing Business in India, CCI was finally able to mature its 7th set of amendment (amendment regulations 2019) to the Competition Commission of India (procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) regulations, 2011. The new set (...)

The French Competition Authority clears, subject to remedies, the creation of a TV platform by three television channels (Salto)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Pay Television Sector* The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the creation of the Salto platform by TF1, France Télévisions and Métropole Télévision (M6) Background Following a referral decision by the European Commission, TF1, France Télévisions and Métropole Télévision (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger in the supply of fuels market (PKN Orlen / Lotos)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Lotos by PKN Orlen, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger may (...)

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirms a major ticket sale company’s sole legitimacy to submit a complaint against the Competition Commission’s prohibition of the merger between its wholly owned subsidiary and another company (Ticketcorner Holding / Tamedia)
Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
In its decision of June 24, 2019, the Federal Supreme Court affirms Ticketcorner Holding AG’s sole legitimacy to lodge a complaint against ComCo’s prohibition of the merger between its wholly-owned subsidiary Ticketcorner AG and Starticket AG. The Federal Supreme Court thereby clarifies that (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court fines a company for gun-jumping in the building materials industry (WIG Wietersdorfer)
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Fine imposed for illegal merger in the building materials industry* On 14 June 2019 the Cartel Court, at the Federal Cartel Prosecutor’s request, imposed a fine of € 70,000 on WIG Wietersdorfer Holding GmbH. WIG Wietersdorfer Holding GmbH had acquired a 50% stake in the target company Calcit, (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission finds that the marketing agreements concluded between a local Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows and an airline company are illegal under EU State aid rules (Ryanair / Montpellier airport)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport* The European Commission has found that the marketing agreements concluded between the local Association for the Promotion of Touristic and Economic Flows (APFTE) and Ryanair at the airport of Montpellier (...)

Procedures

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf suspends the decision of the German Competition Authority which prevented data gathering practices from a social network company (Facebook)
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
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Ashurst (London)
On 26 August 2019, the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf suspended the German Federal Cartel Office’s (’FCO’ or Bundeskartellamt) decision to prevent Facebook from combining user data from various sources such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and unrelated sites that use Facebook analytics and (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf grants a social network company the suspensive effect to an appeal in an interim decision (Facebook)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Frankfurt)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
In February of this year the German antitrust agency, the Federal Cartel Office, issued a decision against Facebook regarding their handling of user data. Facebook appealed and on August 26, 2019, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal in an interim decision granted suspensive effect to Facebook’s (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf orders suspensive effect of an appeal against FCO decision concerning a social network company (Facebook)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 August 2019, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the “Court”) granted Facebook’s request for an injunction against the immediate application of measures imposed by the German Federal Cartel Office (the “FCO”) arising from the FCO’s finding in February 2019 that Facebook abused its dominant (...)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the seventh circuit clarifies the means by which the FTC could exercice its enforcement authority and holds that the FTC can’t seek restitution (Credit Bureau)
Morgan Lewis (Boston)
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Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Boston)
Background In the Credit Bureau Center case, the FTC sued a company and its owner for advertising “free” credit reports without adequately disclosing that consumers would be enrolled in an expensive credit monitoring service on an ongoing basis. The FTC brought its lawsuit under Section 13(b), (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on jurisdiction in private damages actions for infringement of competition law in absence of contractual link between parties to cartel (Tibor-Trans / DAF Trucks)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 July 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) handed down a judgment in which it held that a domestic court in an EU Member State has jurisdiction to rule on a follow-on competition damages claim even when no direct contractual link exists between the participant to a (...)

The French Anti-corruption Agency issues its first decision and finds no violations of the requirements of article 17 of the Sapin II Law (S et Mme C)
Squair (Paris)
The Sanctions Committee of the French Anti-Corruption Agency (’AFA’) issued its first decision on 4 July 2019. The Committee found that none of the violations of the requirements of article 17 of the Sapin II Law (loi n° 2016-1691 du 9 décembre 2016 relative à la transparence, à la lutte contre la (...)

Public sector

The Competition Commission of India fines companies for bid rigging regarding a tender for the selection of an agency to carry-out tree census (Nagrik Chetna Manch / SAAR / CADD / Pentacle / Pune)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently found that SAAR IT Resources Private Limited (OP 1), CADD Systems and Services Private Limited (OP 2) and Pentacle Consultants (I) Private Limited (OP 3), collusively manipulated the process of bidding, by rigging the bids for the tender (...)

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