Latest Special issue: UK & Covid-19

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority takes part in a paper exploring the consequences for competition of the COVID-19 pandemic Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
How should competition policy react to coronavirus?* IPPR has today published a paper by CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie, discussing how competition policy can contribute to a robust and sustainable post-crisis recovery. The paper - How should competition policy react to coronavirus? - explores (...)

The OECD reports on foreign direct investment flow regulation in EU member states during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Addleshaw Goddard (London)
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Addleshaw Goddard (London)
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Addleshaw Goddard (London)
UK FDI Hub: COVID-19 and foreign direct investment regulation* Introduction The OECD reports that even if economies begin recovering in the second half of the year, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows are expected to fall more than 30% in 2020 from 2019 levels, as a result of the policy (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues its annual plan for 2020/2021 which aims to give clarity to the Competition Authority’s objectives for the next year and clarifies its position during the social and economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") recently issued its Annual Plan for 2020/2021, which aims to give clarity to the CMA’s objectives for the next year. The report acknowledges that its publication comes out at a time of massive social and economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 (...)

The UK Cabinet Office publishes a procurement policy note in response to the COVID-19 impact on the supply of goods, services, and works to the public sector Free
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
Clearly the spread of COVID-19 and the measures imposed by the Government will have a significant impact on the supply of goods, services and works to the public sector. Supplies and services may be required urgently and/or existing procurement processes may be delayed to accommodate issues (...)

The UK Government issues guidance on using public procurement policy to respond to the COVID-19 emergency situation Free
University of Bristol - Law School
EXTREME EMERGENCY PROCUREMENT AND COVID-19 — RE TODAY’S UK GUIDANCE* The UK Government has issued guidance on using public procurement to respond to the COVID-19 emergency earlier today (see PPN 1/20). This follows other EU countries’ introduction of emergency legislation and guidance on the same (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The UK Parliament adopts a dairy produce order which aims at relaxing UK competition law on certain aspects of cooperation between dairy suppliers and service producers to deal with the issues in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK Parliament on May 1 adopted the Dairy Produce Order, which temporarily relaxes the application of UK competition law to certain types of cooperation between either dairy produce suppliers or logistic service providers to address issues in the supply chain caused by the ongoing (...)

The UK Government’s dairy produce order which relaxes the application of competition law in the dairy sector during COVID-19 pandemic has expired Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK government’s Dairy Produce Order of May 1, 2020, which temporarily relaxed the application of UK competition law to certain types of cooperation in the dairy sector between dairy produce suppliers or dairy logistic service providers during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, (...)

The UK Government publishes an order to the Competition Act in order to exclude certain arrangements in the healthcare sector to tackle the COVID-19 pressures Free
Hill Dickinson (Leeds)
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Hill Dickinson (London)
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Hill Dickinson (Leeds)
Healthcare providers - suspension of competition law provisions to tackle coronavirus pressures* To ensure that healthcare providers can work together effectively to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, an order has been made to exclude certain arrangements within the healthcare sector from (...)

The UK Secretary of State announces temporary competition law arrangements in the groceries sector Free
RPC (London)
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RPC (London)
COVID-19 - The Groceries Sector: Temporary Competition Law Exemption Comes into Force* In light of "exceptional and compelling reasons of public policy" arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Secretary of State (the "SoS") has announced temporary competition law arrangements in the groceries (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues guidance on business cooperation during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
New guidance from UK Competition and Markets Authority allows coordination between businesses in certain circumstances, such as to avoid shortages, protect the public interest, and safeguard health, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the guidance also underscores that the UK (...)

The UK Competition Authority lays its guidances of approach to business cooperation in response to COVID-19 outbreak Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Introduction The focus of the CMA in the next few months will be to protect UK consumers from the adverse consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to the greatest extent possible. The CMA is conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on cooperation between businesses especially grocers during the COVID-19 crisis Free
Bristows (London)
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Bristows (London)
COVID-19: The UK Government’s temporary relaxation of competition law for grocers* On 19 March 2020, the UK Government announced that it would be temporarily waiving certain competition laws in order to allow grocers to coordinate their responses to supply issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on forms of cooperation considered as temporarily permissible during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
Competition/antitrust laws generally require rival firms to operate on the market independently of each other and tolerate cooperation between competitors only in limited circumstances where any resulting loss of competition is clearly offset by consumer benefits. But as businesses scramble to (...)

The UK Competition Authority welcomes the Governments’ relaxation of competition law for supermarkets during the COVID-19 outbreak and promises no enforcement action against businesses engaging in cooperation to supply essential products and services Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
COVID-19: CMA approach to essential business cooperation* The CMA is very conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between businesses to deal with the current crisis and ensure security of supplies of essential products and services, such as (...)

The UK Government announces measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK government announced on March 19 that as part of a package of measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, elements of competition law will be temporarily relaxed for the food sector. Authorities, however, stressed that (...)

The UK Government and the Competition Authority announce they will formally waive UK competition law for a limited period to allow supermarket retailers to share data on stock levels Free
McGuireWoods (London)
All companies are scrambling to respond to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and in various sectors cooperation between competitors is seen as part of the solution. However, cooperation — or in some cases contact or information exchange — between competitors potentially raises (...)

The UK Government and the Competition Authority adopt two recent measures against shortages and high prices during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Greenberg Traurig (London)
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Greenberg Traurig (London)
The rapid spread of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and the measures being implemented to counter the disease have resulted in an unprecedented surge of consumer demand for groceries and other essential supplies. Safeguarding consumers against shortages and high prices is at the heart of two (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Authority opens investigations against four pharmacies and convenience stores for suspected breaches of antitrust rules by charging excessive and unfair prices for hand sanitiser products during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority on June 19 announced that it had opened investigations against four pharmacies and convenience stores in relation to suspected breaches of antitrust rules by charging excessive and unfair prices for hand sanitiser products during the coronavirus (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes update on its COVID-19 taskforce, including a number of excessive pricing complaints and investigations Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA publishes update on COVID-19 Taskforce* The CMA has today published an update from its COVID-19 Taskforce, set up to monitor and respond to consumer and competition problems arising from the pandemic. As part of the Taskforce’s work, it asked the public for information about businesses (...)

The UK Competition Authority writes an open letter to the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries warning them not to exploit the COVID-19 outbreak to charge prices that might be deemed excessive Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): CMA open letter to pharmaceutical and food and drink industries.* The Competition and Markets Authority has published an open letter for businesses in the pharmaceutical and food and drink industries. Details We have written an open letter to the pharmaceutical and (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates four pharmacies and convenience stores for excessive and unfair pricing of hand sanitiser products to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating four pharmacies and convenience stores for suspected breaches of competition law. The investigations, under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (CA 98), relate to suspected charging of excessive and unfair prices for hand sanitiser (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority clears at phase II an acquisition of a minority shareholding and certain rights in a food delivery company in its first application of “failing firm” defence (Amazon / Deliveroo) Free
CRA International (London)
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CRA International (London)
On 4 August 2020 the CMA cleared Amazon’s proposed minority investment in Deliveroo. Having previously been concerned that the investment could damage competition by discouraging Amazon from re-entering restaurant food delivery in the UK and altering its competitive incentives in respect of (...)

The UK Government introduces measures allowing it to intervene in merger transactions to mitigate the effects of public health emergencies following the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On 22 June 2020, the UK Government introduced new measures allowing it to intervene in merger transactions “to maintain in the United Kingdom the capability to combat, and to mitigate the effects of, public health emergencies." The Government will be able to intervene on these grounds in any (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger in the online secondary ticketing market raises competition concerns even after accounting for the COVID-19 difficulties (StubHub / viagogo) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Merger of viagogo and StubHub raises competition concerns* viagogo’s purchase of StubHub raises competition concerns in the online secondary ticketing market in the UK, a CMA investigation has found. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the loss of competition brought (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks a sports-fashion retailer acquisition finding that even with COVID-19 significantly impacting the relevant sector, the transaction would lead to a substantial lessening of competition nationally (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 May 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) blocked the sports-fashion retailer JD Sports’ already completed purchase of sportswear retailer Foot- asylum. The CMA concluded that the parties were close competitors and the transaction would lead to a substan- tial lessening of (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks sports-fashion merger finding that even with COVID-19 significantly impacting the relevant sector there would still be negative effects on the competition if the merger proceeded (JD Sports / Footasylum) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks sports-fashion merger* The CMA has blocked JD Sports’ purchase of close competitor Footasylum after finding it would leave shoppers worse off. Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that this transaction would lead to a (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears merger between 2 online food delivery undertakings ahead of the statutory deadline for decision despite COVID-19 pandemic (Just Eat / Takeaway.com) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA gives Just Eat and Takeaway.com deal the green light* The CMA has cleared the £6.2 billion merger between 2 food delivery companies. Just Eat plc (Just Eat) is one of the main food delivery firms in the UK market, while Takeaway.com N.V (Takeaway.com) operates in 11 countries overseas, (...)

The UK Competition Authority clarifies its general approach to assessing mergers and its specific approach to assessing "failing firm" claims during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
COVID-19: CMA approach to merger assessments* The CMA has today provided more detail on its general approach to assessing mergers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Following its statement about working practices issued on 18 March, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has set (...)

The UK Competition Authority warns that it will not relax its substantive or evidentiary standards for merger investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
New guidance from the UK Competition and Markets Authority warns that it will not relax its substantive or evidentiary standards for merger investigations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Statutory deadlines will not be altered, although aspects of investigations may be subject to (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on its approach to merger control during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on its approach to merger control during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance deals with procedural issues as well as substantive assessment, and makes it clear that on the whole the CMA’s approach remains one of ‘business as (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes guidance on its approach to merger assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic and confirms that it does not intend to change either merger control assessments or deadlines despite the outbreak Free
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
The CMA has published new guidance on its approach to merger assessments during the Coronavirus pandemic, confirming that it does not intend to change either merger control assessments or deadlines, despite the outbreak. The guidance acknowledges that merging parties may have difficulty (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its guidance on merger assessments during COVID-19 pandemic Free
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 22 April 2020, the UK Competition and Market Authority (“CMA”) published its guidance on ‘Merger assessments during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ (“the guidance”). Prior to the publication of the guidance, there was some speculation about whether the CMA would be more willing to accept (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces its provisional clearance of a proposed acquisition of a stake in a food delivery company in its first application of “failing firm” defence during the COVID-19 pandemic (Amazon / Deliveroo) Free
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 17 April 2020 the CMA announced its provisional clearance of Amazon’s proposed acquisition of a stake in Deliveroo. The transaction was referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation in December 2019, in light of concerns about the impact on competition for the supply of online restaurant (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally clears acquisition of an online food delivery business by a global online shopping company to prevent it from bankruptcy likely to happen due to economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak (Amazon / Deliveroo) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA provisionally clears Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo* In light of a deterioration in Deliveroo’s financial position as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), the CMA has provisionally cleared Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo. After completing an initial, Phase 1, investigation, the Competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally clears the acquisition of a delivering food company despite COVID-19 (Deliveroo / Amazon) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 April 2020, approximately one week after the CMA found COVID-19 not to be an obstacle to its decision to block the Sabre/ Farelogix transaction, the CMA announced its provisional clearance of the acquisition by Amazon of a minority shareholding and certain rights in Deliveroo “in light of (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks a proposed merger in the market for the supply of merchandising solutions and distribution systems to airlines despite the COVID-19 pandemic (Sabre / Farelogix) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Despite the uncertain future facing the global travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 9 April 2020, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced its decision to block the proposed Sabre/Farelogix transaction, citing concerns that “UK passengers [would] miss out on (...)

The UK Competition Authority blocks merger between online airline booking providers despite their sector being significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak (Sabre / Farelogix) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA blocks airline booking merger* Following an in-depth investigation, the CMA has blocked Sabre’s proposed takeover of Farelogix. Among other products and services, Sabre and Farelogix supply software solutions which help airlines to sell flights via travel agents including those that (...)

The UK Competition Authority states that a private hospital merger will be cleared if it can address local competition concerns, and recognizes the difficulty faced by merging parties due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Circle Health / BMI Healthcare) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Private hospital merger to be approved if local concerns addressed* The CMA has found that the completed merger between Circle and BMI does not raise UK-wide competition concerns but could reduce competition in 2 local areas. Both Circle and BMI provide elective care to NHS and privately (...)

The UK Competition Authority recognizes that merging construction companies might be heavily affected by COVID-19 pandemic, but still requires them to address competition concerns before clearing the merger (Kingspan / Building Solutions) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Construction products merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Kingspan’s anticipated purchase of Building Solutions raises competition concerns in the supply of specialist insulation panels. Kingspan is the leading provider in the UK of standard foam sandwich panels, which (...)

The UK Competition Authority clarifies that the UK merger control regime is still operating despite the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Whilst Covid-19 is not expected to lead to changes to the core legal and policy principles underpinning merger control regimes around the world, it is worth noting that: merger control regimes are still in operation, albeit filing processes and regulatory reviews may take a bit longer and some (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves € 10.3 billion UK scheme to support self-employed individuals and members of partnerships during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves € 10.3 billion UK scheme to support self-employed individuals and members of partnerships during the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a GBP 9 billion (approximately € 10.3 billion) UK aid scheme to support self-employed individuals and (...)

The EU Commission approves a £50 billion umbrella UK State aid scheme to support SME’s and large corporates affected by the COVID-19 Free
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The European Commission has approved a £50 billion (EUR 57 billion) “umbrella” UK state aid scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporates in the United Kingdom affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The umbrella scheme was approved on April 6, 2020, under the (...)

The EU Commission approves a £50 billion umbrella UK scheme to support companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves £50 billion UK “umbrella” scheme to support the economy in the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a £50 billion (approximately €57 billion) “umbrella” UK scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates in the (...)

The EU Commission approves two separate UK State aid schemes to support SMEs in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
The European Commission has approved two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 (...)

Procedures

The UK Competition Authority publishes a third update on its COVID-19 taskforce Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
The CMA has published a third update from its COVID-19 taskforce, which monitors and responds to competition and consumer problems arising from the pandemic.* As part of the taskforce’s work, it has been asking the public for information about businesses behaving unfairly, for example regarding (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a second update from its COVID-19 taskforce Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Update on CMA COVID-19 Taskforce* The CMA has published a second update from its COVID-19 Taskforce, which monitors and responds to competition and consumer problems arising from the pandemic. As part of the Taskforce’s work, it is asking the public for information about businesses behaving (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces that it received a lot of complaints about cancellations and refunds through its COVID-19 Taskforce Free
Macfarlanes (London)
Covid-19: CMA to tackle unfair cancellation policies* The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that through its Covid-19 Taskforce, which was launched on 20 March 2020, it has received a significant number of complaints in relation to cancellations and refunds. The (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a COVID-19 taskforce to ensure compliance in markets affected by the public health emergency and to advise the Government on competition law matters during the outbreak Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA launches COVID-19 taskforce* The CMA is today launching a taskforce to tackle negative impacts within its remit of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge that has prompted many concerns that businesses might exploit the situation (...)

The UK Competition Authority switches to telework, suspends almost all physical shipments of documents, but promises to continue processing cases by set deadlines amid COVID-19 pandemic Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
COVID-19: CMA working arrangements* Along with other businesses and organisations, the CMA continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and has adjusted its working arrangements in response. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned above all to ensure the safety and (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Authority consults on commitments offered by two major airlines in the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement to resolve competition concerns over airline routes with consideration for the effects of COVID-19 pandemic (American Airlines / British Airways) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA consults on BA and American Airlines commitments* British Airways and American Airlines have offered commitments to resolve the CMA’s competition concerns over an agreement about airline routes between the UK and US. The airlines will make slots available at London Heathrow or Gatwick (...)

The UK Government passes emergency legislation to amend the UK Competition Law to help healthcare, grocery, and ferry companies during the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
Emergency Amendments to UK Competition Law to Help Maintain Supply of Essential Goods & Services in Face of COVID-19 Outbreak* The UK Government passed emergency legislation to amend UK competition law on 27th March 2020 to help healthcare, grocery and ferry companies maintain the (...)

The UK Competition Authority releases provisional findings of its review of air traffic control charges and invites views from stakeholders on how it should take account of the impact of COVID-19 in its final determination (CAA / NERL) Free
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA review of air traffic control charges* The CMA has released and is consulting on its provisional findings into a dispute between the CAA and NERL regarding air traffic control charges. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has acted as the independent body charged with looking into (...)

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