Latest News issue: November 2021 - II

General antitrust

The EU Commission adopts a Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, including for the Single Market’s COVID-19 recovery, and for the green and digital transitions New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: Commission outlines contribution of competition policy and its review to green and digital transition, and to a resilient Single Market* The European Commission has adopted a Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, which frames the important role of (...)

The UK Competition Authority invites views on commitments proposed by major national chargepoint operator to pave the way for opening up competition in charging of the electric vehicles sector (Gridserve / Electric Highway) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to open up electric vehicle charging competition on motorways* CMA action is paving the way for greater investment, greater choice, and competition on prices for electric vehicle drivers, by opening up competition in the charging sector. CMA Chief Executive says “Healthy competition is key (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services* Currently many users are concerned about how safe their personal data are in messenger and video services. Should legislators and authorities ensure the possibility for users to easily (...)

The EU Commission adopts a work programme for 2022 including a review of competition policy
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
On 19 October 2021, the Commission adopted its Work Programme for 2022 of key initiatives for the coming year and how these will be concretely pursued, particularly towards promoting a greener, more resilient, and digital post-COVID-19 Europe. The Work Programme contains 42 new initiatives (...)

The EU Commission publishes a competition policy brief on how competition rules can complement environmental and climate policies more effectively New
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 10 September 2021, the European Commission published a Competition Policy Brief ("Policy Brief") on how EU competition rules can complement environmental and climate policies more effectively. The Policy Brief recognises that further guidance is needed on the application of competition law (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases draft report on competition in the retail grocery sector, finding that competition is not working well, and proposing a number of policy options for improvement New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission releases draft report on competition in the retail grocery sector* The Commerce Commission’s draft report into competition in the retail grocery sector has found that competition is not working well for consumers. “If competition was more effective, retailers would face stronger (...)

The Russian Competition Authority clarifies its process of reviewing economic entities’ antimonopoly compliance programs New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS clarifies application of the legislation on Antimonopoly Compliance* The document is posted on the agency’s website The explanations set out the position of the FAS Russia on the issues of certain powers of the agency in terms of the introduction of antimonopoly compliance systems by (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority carries out studies into whether consumers and businesses could benefit from better price-quality ratios for their broadband, television, fixed telephony, and data connections New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM explores regulation of access to telecom networks* Over the past few months, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has carried out studies into whether consumers and businesses could benefit from better price-quality ratios for their broadband, television, fixed (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority assesses 4 digital sectors in order to evaluate their characteristics and impact on competition New
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council assesses the online commerce* The Competition Council assesses four digital sectors, in Romania, in order to evaluate their characteristics and impact on the competition. The four sectors analysed are the following: online delivery intermediation services, online (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority changes the analyzing manner of cases in the sector of pharmaceuticals and parapharmaceuticals retail New
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council Changes the Analyzing Manner of Cases in Sector of Pharmaceuticals and Parapharmaceuticals Retail* The Competition Council will change the analysing manner of the cases in the sector of pharmaceuticals and Para pharmaceuticals retail through specialized stores (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission fines an Italian canned food retailer €20 million for participating in a canned vegetable cartel (Conserve Italia) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Conserve Italia €20 million for participating in canned vegetables cartel* The European Commission has fined Conserve Italia Soc. coop. agricola and its subsidiary Conserves France S.A. (together ‘Conserve Italia’) a total of € 20 000 000 for breaching EU antitrust (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority concludes its disciplinary proceedings against a company’s ATM network, and imposes on all its member entities several binding commitments and 3-year monitoring (Euro 6000) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC concludes its disciplinary proceedings against EURO 6000* The CNMC investigated Euro 6000 over its alleged strategy of denying ING access to its ATM network under the same terms and conditions as other entities. The case was concluded through a “commitment decision”, a formula that (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces that a national pharmaceutical company has pleaded guilty to criminal cartel charges (Alkaloids of Australia) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Pharmaceutical ingredient company pleads guilty to criminal cartel charges* Alkaloids of Australia Pty Ltd, a company which produces a pharmaceutical ingredient used in anti-spasmodic medication, has today pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court. (...)

The French Competition Authority indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the food retail sector New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the food retail sector* Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the investigation services of the Autorité de la concurrence have raided yesterday the (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a video surveillance manufacturer and its wholesalers € 1.4 million for concluding anticompetitive agreements (Mobotix) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines video surveillance manufacturer Mobotix and its wholesalers for anticompetitive agreements* Background Following an investigation report sent by the French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), the Autorité (...)

The Australian Competition Authority warns public agencies on the risks of potential collusion between bidders during procurement processes New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Warning on cartel conduct risk in public sector tenders* The ACCC is warning public sector agencies to be alert to the potential for collusion between bidders during procurement processes, following a recent ACCC investigation where departmental processes contemplated cooperation by competing (...)

The EU Court of justice AG Rantos clarifies the temporal scope of the directive on the compensation of victims of anticompetitive practices (RM / AB Volvo / DAF Trucks) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Truck cartel in Spain: Advocate General Rantos clarifies the temporal scope of the directive on the compensation of victims of anti-competitive practices* On 19 July 2016, the European Commission found that a number of truck manufacturers, including AB Volvo and DAF Trucks, had participated (...)

The EU Commission plans a series of dawn raids to investigate anticompetitive practices in labor markets New
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Washington)
No-poach agreements on the European Commission dawn raid radar* In a speech on 22 October 2021, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager revealed that the European Commission was planning a series of dawn raids for the months to come. She highlighted that the European Commission is not (...)

The Swedish Patent and Market Court rules that a company active in the cheese and dairy industry should pay an administrative fine for having participated in unlawful cooperation ahead of a dairy product procurement (Arla Foods) New
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Arla Foods to pay administrative fine for unlawful cooperation* The Patent and Market Court has in a judgment decided that Arla Foods is to pay an administrative fine for having participated in an unlawful cooperation ahead of a procurement. The fact that Arla Foods has cooperated with the (...)

The French Competition Authority states objections to 14 professional organisations and 101 companies in the foodstuff sector for agreeing not to communicate on the presence of Bisphenol A in their products New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Bisphenol A in food containers: the general rapporteur indicates having stated objections to 101 companies and 14 professional organisations* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that objections were stated a few days ago in the manufacture and retail of foodstuffs (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a sportswear company for resale price maintenance introduced through contractual clauses with its franchisees (Espace Foot) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines ESPACE FOOT for imposing the prices of the sporting goods sold in the stores on its franchisees* Background Following a report sent by the French Ministry of the Economy, the Autorité de la concurrence today fined ESPACE FOOT €25,000 for imposing on its (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes new guidelines on its leniency program and the setting of fines in cartel proceedings New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has published new guidelines on its leniency programme and on the setting of fines in cartel proceedings. Unfortunately, both guidelines are so far available only in German. The previous guidelines date from 2006 and 2013 respectively. The FCO has now (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes fines totaling almost €4 million on two major national collectors of used cooking oil for making price-fixing purchase agreements (Rotie / Nieuwcom) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM imposes fines for price-fixing agreements involving the purchase of used cooking oil* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed fines, totaling almost four million euros, on two major collectors of used cooking oil, for making cartel agreements regarding the (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority sanctions several companies, as well as nine natural persons who acted on their behalf, for colluding in the market of baby diapers, female sanitary products, and incontinence (Essity México / Kimberly Clark de México / Productos Internacionales) New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions several companies and natural persons for colluding in the market for baby diapers, products for feminine sanitary protection and incontinence* The economic agents that produce and commercialize these products in the wholesale markets colluded to manipulate sale prices for (...)

The EU General Court dismisses five separate appeals in an electrolytic capacitors cartel case, including on increased fines for repeat offenses and partial immunity from fines (NEC / Nichicon / Tokin / Rubycon / Nippon Chemi-Con)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 September 2021, the European General Court (“EGC”) dismissed in five separate judgments appeals lodged by Japanese producers, namely NEC Corporation, Nichicon Corporation, Tokin Corporation, Rubycon and Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation, against a decision adopted by the European Commission (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine totaling €39 million on a television manufacturer for influencing the online prices of television sets (Samsung) New
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM fines Samsung over 39 million euros for influencing the online prices of television sets* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) imposes a fine of over 39 million euros on Samsung Electronics Benelux B.V. (Samsung). From January 2013 through December 2018, Samsung (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority proposes that the Market Court impose penalty payments totaling close to €1.9 million on six companies operating in Turku subregion public transport services for submitting joint tenders that severely restricted competition (Jalon Liikenne / Lehtisen Linja / Linjaliikenne Muurinen / Linjaliikenne Nyholm) New
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
The FCCA proposes that nearly EUR 1,9 million in penalty payments be imposed on six companies operating in Turku subregion public transport services and their joint venture for severe restrictions on competition* Based on investigations of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (...)

The Chinese SAMR fines a national power connection supplier for resale price maintenance (Bull)
Hogan Lovells (Shanghai)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 27 September 2021, just a few days before the week-long National Day break, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) issued its decision against Bull, a supplier of power connection and extension products from Ningbo in East China. In its decision, SAMR fined Bull for resale (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority sanctions 17 clubs of the national football federation and 8 natural persons for colluding in the market for soccer players’ draft (Liga MX) New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE sanctions 17 clubs of the Liga MX, the Mexican Football Federation and 8 natural persons for colluding in the market of women and male soccer players’ draft* One of the sanctioned conducts consisted of an agreement to set a maximum wage cap for women players, which eliminated competition (...)

The Danish Eastern High Court upholds a decision by the City Court of Roskilde and sentences an electric utility company to pay a fine for market sharing (Sydkystens Automatik) New
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
High Court upholds fine for Electrician Company in competition case on market sharing* The Danish Eastern High Court has upheld a December 2020 decision by the City Court of Roskilde and has sentenced the company Sydkystens Automatik to pay a fine of DKK 400.000 (€ 53.800) in a competition (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority receives an application from a chicken growers association seeking authorization on behalf of its members to collectively negotiate with a leading poultry company (Tegel Growers Association / Tegel Foods) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
New Zealand Tegel Growers Association seeks authorisation for its members to engage in collective bargaining with Tegel Foods* The Commerce Commission has received an application from the New Zealand Tegel Growers Association Incorporated (TGA) seeking authorisation on behalf of its members to (...)

The Indonesian Competition Authority fines a national airline for discriminatory conduct (Garuda Airlines) New
Ashurst (Abū Dhabī)
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Ashurst (Singapore)
The Indonesia Competition Commission ("ICC") has imposed a penalty of IDR 1 billion (approx. USD 70,000) on Garuda Indonesia Airlines ("Garuda") for engaging in conduct in violation of Article 19 of the Indonesian Competition Law. The ICC held that Garuda engaged in discriminatory conduct for (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority launches an administrative proceeding against 42 companies and 43 individuals to investigate allegations of a cartel in public and private procurement for outsourced services New
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE launches proceeding to investigate cartel in outsourced services procurement* More than 50 procurement processes had signs of collusion On Tuesday (14 September), the Office of the Superintendent General of CADE (SG) launched an administrative proceeding against 42 companies and 43 (...)

The Australian Competition Authority accepts a court-enforceable undertaking after a bathroom ware supplier admits to likely resale price maintenance (Nero Bathrooms) New
Ashurst (Sydney)
Nero Bathrooms International Pty Ltd (trading as Nero Tapware) ("Nero"), a national supplier of bathroom-ware products, admitted it likely engaged in resale price maintenance by withholding supply of its products from a retailer when that retailer refused to raise its advertised prices. Key (...)

The New Zealand High Court fines a container company and its director who attempted to reach an agreement with a competitor to charge the same “vehicle booking system” fee to customers (SCS Christchurch) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Penalties imposed in container depot price fixing case* The High Court has ordered Specialised Container Services (Christchurch) Limited (SCS Christchurch) and its director Grant Tregurtha to pay penalties in relation to an attempted price fix of “vehicle booking system” fees. The Commission (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority issues an anti-collusion reminder to businesses supplying essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission issues anti-collusion reminder to businesses supplying essential services* The Commerce Commission is reminding all businesses supplying essential services in the current nationwide COVID-19 lockdown of their obligations under the Commerce Act. The Commission recognises that the (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal certifies the first competition class action on behalf of 46 million consumers who suffered loss as a result of anti-competitive interchange fees imposed by a payment company between 1992 and 2008 (Merricks / MasterCard) New
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 18 August 2021, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") certified the application by Mr Walter Merricks CBE to bring an opt-out class action on behalf of 46 million UK consumers who suffered loss as a result of anticompetitive interchange fees imposed by Mastercard between 1992 and 2008. (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority signs a settlement with a municipality and two waste management companies and fines them for committed competition distortions in the waste management market (Riga Municipality / Getliņi EKO / Tīrīga) New
Latvian Competition Council (Riga)
The CC concludes a settlement with Riga Municipality and SIA “GETLIŅI EKO” on the committed competition distortion in the waste management area in the so-called “Tīrīga case”* On 16 July, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) signed a settlement with Riga City Municipality and SIA “Getliņi EKO” (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates a preliminary investigation into whether a manufacturer of cleaning products has been imposing minimum resale prices on distributors of professional cleaning equipment and systems on the Internet (Kärcher) New
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Overpriced Kärcher equipment?* Have Kärcher products been overpriced for many years? President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny initiated a preliminary investigation into the matter, while Office employees conducted a search at the premises of Kärcher. The (...)

The Russian Competition Authority proposes to develop systematic UN guidelines on international cooperation in order to counter cartels New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Competition community has to find effective methods of combating cross-border cartels* FAS proposes to develop a systematic UN guidelines on international cooperation in the sphere of countering cartels Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia told about this at the 19th session of the (...)

The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court of Moscow upholds the Russian Competition Authority’s decision finding six companies guilty of engaging in cartel activity through the setting and maintenance of high prices (Trives Trade / MedExpert / Optomed / Maltri / Orto) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Appeal supported FAS in the case of orthopedic products cartel* Six companies set recommended prices and sanctions for non-compliance with them in order to maintain the highest possible cost of products sold. The authority imposed fines on companies in the amount of more than 31 million rubles (...)

The EU Commission imposes a first-ever fine for collusion relating solely to technical development on three car manufacturers in the area of emission cleaning (BMW / Daimler / VW)
Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Uncharted legal territory? – European Commission fines Volkswagen and BMW for colluding on technical development in the area of emission cleaning* On 8 July 2021, the Commission found that Daimler, BMW and the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) violated competition law by colluding (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a possible anti-competitive behavior of undertakings operating in the archiving services market (Enterprise Software Development / All Businesses Management / Cityplan Studio) New
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council carries out an investigation into the archiving services market* The Competition Council has opened an investigation on a possible anti-competitive behavior of some undertakings operating on the market of electronic / digital and physical archiving of documents, as well (...)

The US Supreme Court affirms lower court decisions that certain restrictions imposed by a national sports association on educational benefits for student-athletes violate antitrust laws, a decision that may help future antitrust defendants (NCAA / Alston)
Bona Law (Detroit)
On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions and held that certain NCAA restrictions on educational benefits for student-athletes violated Sherman Act Section 1. The unanimous opinion was a clear win for the plaintiff class and almost certainly will lead to big (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU General Court largely dismisses a Big Tech company’s appeal against the Commission’s decision finding it had abused its dominant position by favoring its own comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services* The General Court upholds the fine of €2.42 billion imposed on (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a sugar and molasses producer for abuse of dominance through excessively limiting supply contracts with rum distilleries (Tereos Océan Indien) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines Tereos Océan Indien for abuse of a dominant position* Background Following a complaint lodged by the company Réunionnaise du Rhum, the Autorité de la concurrence has fined the sugar and molasses producer Tereos Océan Indien (TOI) 750,000 euros for abusing its (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority issues a draft paper on its approach to abusive price discrimination New
University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law
Discriminatory Abuse – Time to clear up the ambiguities!* The Norwegian Competition Authority has issued a draft paper on abusive (price) discrimination, outlining how the agency plans to approach the matter, which should be most welcome. Essentially, the legal position is at best unclear, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its third digital platform services inquiry interim report and proposes that it be given the power to develop and implement a mandatory search engine choice screen in web browsers (Google) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Benefits from more competition in internet search* Measures addressing Google’s dominance in search engine services, including a choice screen that provides consumers with a selection of search engines, should be introduced in Australia, as set out in the ACCC’s third Digital Platform Services (...)

The Italian Administrative Court of First Instance annuls a national telecommunications company’s margin squeeze fine due to the Competition Authority incorrectly applying the "as efficient competitor" test (Vodafone) New
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Milan)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 15 September 2021, the Italian administrative court of first instance ("TAR Lazio") upheld the appeal brought by Vodafone Italia S.p.A. ("Vodafone") against the decision of the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") of 13 December 2017 in case A500(A). The TAR Lazio found that the ICA had (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority investigates possible monopolistic practice in the commercialization, storage and transport of oil products New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE notifies an economic agent of a statement of probable responsibility for a possible relative monopolistic practice in the commercialization, storage and transport of oil products* With this notification of a statement of probable responsibility, the trial-like procedure initiates, in (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules that a car manufacturer’s selective distribution system limiting the supply of new vehicles and spare parts to tuning services providers is a by-object restriction (Porsche Tuning II) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 July 2021, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) upheld an injunction against Porsche and its German distributor (“Porsche” or the ”Defendants”) in favor of an industry association whose members manufacture and distribute customized parts for tuning purposes (the “Association”). The (...)

Mergers

The Australian Competition Authority issues a draft determination to allow joint marketing arrangements for natural gas produced from the Northern Territory’s Mereenie gas field New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Mereenie gas joint marketing to be allowed under ACCC draft determination* The ACCC has issued a draft determination to allow joint marketing arrangements for natural gas produced from the Northern Territory’s Mereenie gas field. The Mereenie oil and gas field is located in the Amadeus Basin, (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two helicopter services companies raises competition concerns (CHC / Babcock) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Helicopter services deal raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that CHC’s completed purchase of Babcock’s oil and gas offshore helicopter business raises competition concerns in the UK. CHC and Babcock’s oil and gas offshore helicopter business (the Babcock Business) both provide (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between a Big Tech company and a CRM platform (Meta / Kustomer) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Meta’s proposed acquisition of Kustomer* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc. Kustomer is a small customer relationship management (CRM) software-as-a-service provider based in the USA that focuses on (...)

The US FTC approves modifications to a pharmaceutical company’s divestiture agreement in the context of its previous acquisition of its competitor (Bristol Meyers Squibb / Celgene) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Modifications to Bristol Meyers Squibb Divestiture Agreement* The Federal Trade Commission has approved certain modifications to Bristol Meyers Squibb’s, or BMS’s, Divestiture Agreements that the FTC approved and incorporated into its order as part of a consent that was required (...)

The US DoJ requires substantial divestitures and waiver of the non-compete agreement before clearing a merger between two information providers (S&P / IHS Markit) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Substantial Divestitures and Waiver of a Non-Compete for S&P to Proceed with its Merger with IHS Markit* Divestitures Will Preserve Competition Among Commodity Price Reporting Agencies and Waiver of Non-Compete Will Promote Competition for the Sale of Retail Gas (...)

The US FTC approves a final order requiring a national convenience stores chain to divest itself of several of its gas stations for impeding competition in several States (7-Eleven / Speedway) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Divestitures of Hundreds of Retail Gas and Diesel Fuel Stations Owned by 7-Eleven, Inc.* Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that 7-Eleven’s acquisition of Marathon’s Speedway subsidiary (...)

The US DoJ requires divestitures following the proposed merger between a national dairy company and a food and beverage producer (Lactalis / Kraft Heinz) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Lactalis’s Acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s Natural Cheese Business in the United States* Divestitures of Kraft Heinz’s Athenos and Polly-O Businesses Will Preserve Competition in the Sale of Feta and Ricotta Cheese The Department of Justice announced (...)

The US FTC requires two generic drug marketing companies to divest rights and assets to two generic products as a condition for the merger (ANI Pharmaceuticals / Novitium Pharma) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Requires Generic Drug Marketers ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Novitium Pharma LLC to Divest Rights and Assets to Two Generic Products as Condition of Merger* Order preserves competition in U.S. markets for generic sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim oral suspension and generic dexamethasone The (...)

The UK Competition Authority orders a sneaker and apparel retailer to sell one of its companies to preserve competition (JD Sports / Footasylum) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA requires JD Sports to sell Footasylum* The CMA has instructed JD Sports to sell Footasylum after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the takeover could lead to a substantial reduction in competition and a (...)

The US DoJ files a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the merger of two of the "Big 5" publishers (Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster) New
Constantine Cannon (New York)
DOJ Seeks to Close the Book on Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster* On November 2, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) once again demonstrated its renewed resolve to block anticompetitive concentrations by filing a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Penguin Random (...)

The US DoJ prohibits a merger between two competing national publishing companies (Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Rival Publisher Simon & Schuster* Merger Would Create Publishing Behemoth, Harming Authors and Consumers The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block Penguin Random House’s proposed (...)

The US FTC Commissioners Christine S. Wilson and Noah Joshua Phillips issue a dissenting statement on the use of prior approval provisions in merger orders New
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Republican FTC Commissioners Issue Dissenting Statement on Use of Prior Approval Provisions in Merger Orders* As this blog has discussed, the FTC announced last week it is restoring a policy of “routinely requiring merging parties subject to a Commission order to obtain prior approval from the (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for breaching an order to hold separate an acquisition target pending its review of the merger (Facebook / Giphy) New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined Facebook £50.5 million for breaching an order to hold separate its acquisition target, Giphy, pending the CMA’s review of the merger. Takeaways The U.K. merger control regime allows acquirers the flexibility to close prior to completion of a (...)

The EU Commission refers the merger of two toy stores to the French Competition Authority for evaluation (Maxi Toys / Prenatal Retail / Fijace) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission refers to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of Maxi Toys stores in France takeover by Prenatal alongside Fijace* On 26 October 2021, the European Commission referred to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of Maxi Toys stores in France takeover by (...)

The US FTC establishes broad policy to require prior approval provisions in all merger divestiture orders New
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
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Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 25 October, the FTC released a Statement on the Use of Prior Approval Provisions in Merger Orders (Prior Approval Statement) making clear that the agency intends to include in all divestiture orders a requirement that the merging parties obtain prior approval from the FTC before closing any (...)

The US FTC resurrects the unilateral pre-approval in merger investigation settlements to halt future anticompetitive mergers New
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Jones Day (Houston)
In Short The Development: The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") revived a long-abandoned policy requiring that Commission orders settling FTC merger investigations include a "prior approval" clause that grants the FTC the unilateral authority to approve (or deny) certain future transactions (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a national power transmission equipment manufacturer (Končar-Ulaganja / Construction line / Dalekovod) New
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA clears the concentration between Končar-Ulaganja and construction line limited / Dalekovod* The concentration between the undertakings concerned will predominantly affect two relevant markets: the provision of services relating to design, construction and maintenance of substations and the (...)

The EU General Court issues its judgment upholding the Commission’s decision to fine a telecommunications company for gun-jumping (Altice / PT Portugal) New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On September 22, 2021, the European General Court issued its judgment upholding the decision by the European Commission (Commission) to fine Altice for gun-jumping in the acquisition of Portugal Telecom (PT) in 2015. The General Court did grant Altice a limited 5% reduction of part of the €124.5 (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority obtains court orders obliging companies to communicate information related to the provision of waste disposal services for its challenge of a merger between suppliers of oil and gas waste services (Secure / Tervita) New
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau obtains court orders related to its challenge of Secure’s acquisition of Tervita* The Competition Bureau has obtained court orders to further inform its challenge of Secure Energy Services Inc.’s acquisition of Tervita Corporation before the Competition Tribunal. The court (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears, subject to binding commitments, a proposed acquisition in the waste sector after an extensive Phase I investigation (Pandagreen / Exomex) New
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC requires commitments from Pandagreen to acquire waste company Exomex* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to binding commitments, the proposed acquisition of Exomex by Pandagreen. Exomex, which trades under the name ‘McElvaney’s Waste and (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority clears a merger between two Latvian companies active in the IT and communications services sector (Santa Monica Networks / Latvijas Mobilais Telefons) New
Latvian Competition Council (Riga)
Latvian companies receive merger clearance* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has cleared the acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares of the Latvian company Santa Monica Networks and indirect control of the Lithuanian company Santa Monica Networks by Latvijas Mobilais (...)

The US FTC introduces 5 process changes for second requests in its merger reviews New
Constantine Cannon (New York)
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Constantine Cannon (New York)
What to Expect During Antitrust Merger Reviews and Investigations Under the Biden Administration (Part 1)* Antitrust enforcers are revising the gamebook for firms that hope to get their mergers through the federal merger review process. As this blog has previously reported on increased (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority clears the merger of two electricity and gas retailers (Mercury / Trustpower) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Mercury cleared to acquire Trustpower’s retail business* The Commerce Commission has granted clearance for Mercury NZ Limited to acquire Trustpower Limited’s retail business. Deputy Chair Sue Begg said the Commission is satisfied that the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority decides to launch a full investigation into a merger in the market related to the storage and management of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (VLPG Plant / Yugen / Hellenic Petroleum) New
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition has decided to launch a full investigation of the merger regarding the acquisition of part of the share capital of VLPG PLANT Ltd by YUGEN LIMITED and the merger of Hellenic Petroleum S.A Group activities’ related to the storage and management of (...)

The EU Commission issues a statement of objections in view of imposing interim measures to two pharmaceutical companies (Grail / Illumina) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
The Illumina/GRAIL case saga continues. As we reported in our previous briefing, the Illumina / GRAIL deal provides the first illustrative example of the European Commission’s ("Commission") new approach to try and “catch” transactions using the referral mechanism in Article 22 EU Merger (...)

The Vietnamese Competition Authority issues a report looking back on the merger control filings 2019-2021 since the entry into force of the new national competition law New
Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Hanoi)
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Hogan Lovells (Hanoi)
July 2021 marked the two-year anniversary of the entry into force of Vietnam’s new Competition Law (Law No. 23/2018/QH14). Among other things, the Competition Law established a brand-new merger control regime implemented by the Vietnamese Competition and Consumer Authority (“VCCA”) under the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorizes a merger between multiple payment service providers subject to court-enforceable conditions (BPAY / eftpos / NPPA) New
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
On 9 September 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") authorised the proposed amalgamation of three payment service providers, BPAY Group Holding Pty Ltd ("BPAY"), eftpos Payments Australia Limited ("EPAL") and NPP Australia Limited ("NPPA"), subject to a court (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears a merger between two funeral services insurance companies after a Phase II investigation subject to conditions (Santa Lucía / Funespaña) New
Ashurst (Madrid)
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Ashurst (Madrid)
On 7 September 2021, the Spanish Competition Authority ("CNMC") cleared, subject to commitments and conditions, the acquisition by Santa Lucía of exclusive control of almost all assets of Mapfre Group subsidiary Funespaña. The transaction affects the funeral services and funeral planning sectors. (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority unconditionally clears an acquisition of a retail management and distribution company by a media company (Ovato Retail Distribution / Are Media) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission grants clearance for Are Media Limited to acquire Ovato Retail Distribution NZ Limited* The Commission has granted clearance for Are Media Limited to acquire 100% of the shares in Ovato Retail Distribution NZ Limited (ORD NZ). Are Media Limited is the New Zealand subsidiary of (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority publishes a statement of preliminary issues relating to the merger of two electricity retailing companies (Mercury / Trustpower) New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Statement of Preliminary Issues released on Mercury’s application to acquire Trustpower’s retail business* The Commerce Commission has published a statement of preliminary issues relating to the clearance application from Mercury NZ Limited seeking to acquire Trustpower Limited’s retail business. (...)

The Polish Competition Authority raises objections to the merger of two hypermarket chains for possible reduction of competition in the local market (Carrefour / Polska) New
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Objections to the concentration of Carrefour - Tesco* The President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny has raised objections to the takeover by Carrefour Polska of the retail space of Tesco hypermarket in Bielany Wrocławskie. The transaction may lead to reduced competition in the local market. The (...)

The Russian Competition Authority grants a retail company’s application to merge with a competitor subject to a number of strict limitations (Tander / Dixy) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS: MAgnit/Dixy merger is possible if a number of fundamental conditions are met* FAS issued the most strict order aimed at preventing creation of a unified network that occupies a dominant position The company undertakes to comply with the order, as well as to establish zero trade margins (...)

The Russian Competition Authority clears the merger of two petroleum and petrochemicals companies subject to a number of mandatory conditions (Sibur / Taif) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS: Sibur/Taif deal will be possible if a number of mandatory conditions are met* The conclusion of this transaction, subject to the fulfillment of all the conditions of the Authority’s order, will strengthen Russia’s position in the world market of petroleum products and petrochemicals, while (...)

The Russian Competition Authority refuses a merger of the largest two producers of crushed stone in the Siberian Federal District (NNK / Barzasskiy karyer) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS refused to agree on petition for the acquisition of Barzasskiy Kar’yer LLC* According to the FAS, the transaction might result in a restriction of competition in the crushed stone market The group of persons of Nacional’naya nerudnaya kompaniya JSC (NNK) is one of the largest producers of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority issues objections to the hypermarket chain’s acquisition of the right to commercial space used by its competitor (Kaufland Polska Markety / Wanship / E.Leclerc) New
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Objections to the Kaufland - E.Leclerc concentration* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny has issued objections to the acquisition by Kaufland Polska Markety of the right to commercial space used by the E.Leclerc hypermarket in Kielce. The transaction may lead to reduced competition in the local (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Estonia New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Estonia* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Estonia’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 EU Commission launches a targeted public consultation on a proposed revision of the Guidelines on State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State Aid: Commission invites comments on proposed revision of EU State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks* The European Commission has today launched a targeted public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on a proposed revision of the Guidelines on State aid (...)

The EU Commission sets out the future of the Temporary Framework to support economic recovery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission sets out future of Temporary Framework to support economic recovery in context of coronavirus outbreak* Today, the European Commission has decided to prolong until 30 June 2022 the State aid Temporary Framework (currently set to expire by 31 December 2021). In order to (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority concludes that no State aid was provided to two of Iceland’s state-owned banks (Landsbankinn / Íslandsbanki) New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA concludes no state aid was provided to Iceland’s Landsbankinn and Íslandsbanki* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today closed a complaint case brought by Arion Banki, a privately owned bank, in which it alleged that Iceland’s two state-owned banks – Landsbankinn and Íslandsbanki – (...)

The EU Commission approves a €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €4.5 billion Italian scheme to support companies and the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission’s decision on State aid granted by Austria to an airline company due to an expired ten year limitation period (Ryanair) New
Maastricht University
Market Economy Operator* Comparing prices charged by different airports is not a suitable method for detecting the existence of selective advantages. Introduction Airports enter into complex agreements with airlines. When airports are in public ownership or operate under a mandate by the (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation on State Aid granted by the Romanian government to an airline company (Tarom) New
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Investigation opened by European Commission in Tarom Case is a procedural step of State aid Assessment* The Romanian Government granted Tarom an individual rescue state aid, amounting Euro 36.7 million that was approved by the European Commission in February 2020, given that the company (...)

The UK Competition Authority introduces a new Subsidy Advice Unit which will provide non-binding advice to authorities on State subsidies and replace the former notification requirement
Gleiss Lutz (Brussels)
For many Britainophiles in the EU, the noise of the Brexiteers and their shouting about “world-beating Britain” during the last five years of the departure process have been hard to bear. However, the constant banging has also at times obscured the excellent work still being carried out by legal (...)

Procedures

The Latvian Senate sends the case of a car distribution cartel back to the Regional Administrative Court for reconsideration due to procedural issues (Moller Auto Latvia / Moller Auto Ventspils / Moller Auto Krasta...) New
Latvian Competition Council (Riga)
The Senate annuls the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court in the case of the Volkswagen car distribution cartel* On 23 September, the Senate of the Republic of Latvia annulled the judgment of the Administrative Regional Court in the case of the Volkswagen car distribution cartel, by (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues a preliminary ruling clarifying the single economic unit doctrine in private enforcement providing an analysis that has far-reaching consequences on future damages claims across the EEA (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España)
EDEM Escuela de Empresarios
Abstract: The determination of the liability of a subsidiary for the anticompetitive conduct of its parent company ignited, long time ago, a sharp debate between those advocating for the single economic unit doctrine and those supporting the corporate separability doctrine. This paper, after (...)

The EU Court of Justice delivers several judgments dismissing appeals brought against a ruling of the General Court that upheld the Commission’s decision declaring the tax rule on amortization of financial goodwill in Spain as incompatible State aid (Deutsche Telekom / Banco Santander / Sigma Alimentos Exterior / Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad / Duty Free Group / Santusa) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 October 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ” or the “Court”) delivered a number of judgments (Case C-50/19 P Sigma Alimentos Exterior v Commission; Joined Cases C-51/19 P World Duty Free Group v Commission and C-64/19 P Spain v Commission; Case C-52/19 P Banco Santander v Commission; (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals against judgments rendered by the General Court that partially annulled the Commission’s decision regarding the financing of an infrastructure project between Denmark and Germany and provides guidance on the assessment of distortion of competition in case of statutory monopolies (Scandlines Danmark / Scandlines Deutschland) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 October 2021, in joined Cases C-174/19 and C-175/19, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) dismissed the appeals against the judgments rendered by the European General Court (“EGC”) that partially annulled the Commission decision SA.39078 (2014/N) regarding the financing of an infrastructure (...)

The EU Court of Justice establishes in a long-awaited ruling conditions under which the victim of a competition law infringement may seek compensation from a subsidiary of the perpetrator (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 October 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) sitting in Grand Chamber clarified the notion of “undertaking” for the purposes of EU competition law in a long-awaited ruling (Case C-882/19, Sumal). The judgment establishes the possibility for the victim of a competition law infringement (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that a victim of anticompetitive conduct is entitled to seek damages from the subsidiary of an infringing parent company (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
In its judgment of 6 October 2021, following a reference by the Provincial Court of Barcelona, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) held that a victim of anti-competitive conduct is entitled to seek damages from the subsidiary (not referred to in the infringement decision) of an infringing (...)

Regulatory

The New Zealand Competition Authority releases a draft determination proposing to continue the regulation of number portability services for both local and mobile telephone numbers for another five years as it is a key enabler of competition in telecommunications markets New
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission proposes extending regulatory protections for phone number portability* The Commerce Commission has today released a draft determination proposing to continue the regulation of number portability services for both local and mobile telephone numbers for another five years. (...)

The EU Commission proposes an updated list of projects and programs of EU interest annexed to the FDI Screening Regulation New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 September 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted a draft delegated regulation updating, for the second time, the list of projects and programmes of Union interest annexed to the EU Regulation establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the (...)

The US Congress introduces a package of bills seeking changes to antitrust and patent law in the pharmaceutical industry New
White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (New York)
The pharmaceutical industry, like the technology sector, has become as a focus of U.S. lawmakers seeking to revise competition law. In April 2021, House and Senate lawmakers introduced a package of legislation targeting conduct that supposedly prevents or slows competition from less expensive (...)

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