The ancillary restraint to a concentration operation, a circumscribed immunity

Under European Union (’EU’) Law, the principle governing the assessment of restrictions directly related and necessary to concentrations - known as ancillary restraints - is that of self-evaluation by the parties. In other words, a decision authorizing a concentration is not a blank check that would validate any prior restriction set in place by the parties. Therefore, the parties must make sure the restriction in question has an ancillary character and complies with antitrust rules. Some national authorities take different approaches by either explicitly examining the restrictions when assessing the main transaction, or by considering that ancillary restraints are never covered by a decision authorizing a concentration. However, the introduction in EU law of a principle of self-assessment has led the Commission to establish a precise framework of analysis of restrictions directly related and necessary to concentrations. Consequently, and as shown by the compared analysis of the recent Telefónica case with the earlier Quantel case, the jurisprudence regarding ancillary restraints is consistent and increasingly strict [1].

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. An ancillary restraint is a restriction on the parties to an agreement which does not implement the principal object of the agreement but is directly related and necessary to its execution [2]. Although the concept of ancillary restraints exists both in antitrust law and in merger control, it is particularly developed and regulated in merger control. The European Commission (hereafter "the Commission") published in 2005 a Notice on restrictions directly related and necessary to the implementation of concentrations (hereafter "the Notice") which states that: "All agreements which carry out the principal object of the concentration, such as those relating

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