April 2021

General antitrust

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion closing the sector inquiry it launched in the payment sector in January 2020
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
The French Competition Authority (FCA) has recently issued an opinion closing the sector inquiry it launched in the payment sector in January 2020. The FCA’s report mainly focuses on the disruption brought by new technologies and new market players in the sector, in particular BigTech companies. (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its views on the competition issues arising from Fintech
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
Back in 2020, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) had announced, in its annual priorities, its interest in the competition implications of the digital revolution in the financial sector, notably in the context of the growth of FinTech, the introduction of blockchain technology and the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its report on the Fintech sector highlighting that the entry of big tech companies in the payment sector raises potential competition law risks
Bird & Bird (Paris)
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Bird & Bird (Paris)
On 29 April The French Competition Authority (FCA) published its report on the Fintech sector. This report follows its payment sector inquiry launched in January 2020, which primarily focused on the disruption brought by new technologies and new market players. In this report the Authority (...)

The Canadian Government announces that funding for the Competition Authority is set to increase by more than one third
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
More Money and New Digital Tools for Competition Bureau in Federal Budget* Funding for Canada’s Competition Bureau is set to increase by more than one third, the government announced in the federal budget for 2021-2022. The budget proposes to increase the Bureau’s budget by $96 million over five (...)

The Spanish Parliament amends the Competition Act to implement the ECN+ Directive
Jones Day (Madrid)
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Jones Day (Madrid)
In Short Background: European Parliament and Council Directive (EU) 2019/1 ("ECN+") required EU Member States to adopt, by February 4, 2021, minimum standards related to national competition authority ("NCA") antitrust enforcement. ECN+ aims to promote cooperation among NCAs and the European (...)

The Spanish Government publishes a decree which greatly amends national competition law as a result of the transposition of the ECN+ Directive
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
On 28 April 2021, Royal Decree-Law 7/2021, of 27 April, was published in Spain’s Official State Journal (RD 7/2021). RD 7/2021 has the aim of transposing into Spanish legislation a number of EU directives, including Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 (...)

The Spanish Parliament transposes the ECN+ Directive into Spanish law
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
On 29 April 2021, the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 7/2021 entered into force, modifying the Spanish Competition Act (“LDC”) due to the transposition of the Directive 2019/1 – known as the “ECN+ Directive” – which aims to achieve a more effective application of competition rules by the National (...)

The Croatian Government adopts a revised Competition Act transposing the ECN+ Directive that places fundamental guarantees of independence for the National Competition Authority
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Croatia adopts revised Competition Act 2021* The Act on the Amendments to the Competition Act was published in Official Gazette 41/2021 on 16 April 2021 and enters into force on 24 April 2021. In compliance with the rule against retroactivity, which prohibits the imposition of ex post facto (...)

The Italian Government welcomes legislative proposals on competition law reform
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Milan)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 25 April 2021, the Italian Government submitted its Recovery and Resilience National Plan ("PNRR") to the national Parliament, which included proposals on competition law reform by the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA"). Key takeaways Reforming competition law is among the priorities of (...)

The US Congress signs legislation aimed at reducing prescription drug prices by supporting generic and biosimilar alternatives to branded drugs
White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
On April 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law two bipartisan bills aimed at reducing prescription drug prices by supporting generic and biosimilar alternatives to branded drugs. The Ensuring Innovation Act supports generic drugs by clarifying the technical qualifications for earning (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes draft amendments to the confidentiality regime and invites public comments
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI announced in April that it was in the process of reviewing and revising the confidentiality regime, based on its enforcement experience over the last 10 years. It published draft amendments to the relevant provisions in the General Regulations, and has invited public comments on these (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to introduce, maintain and enforce a code of conduct regulating the provision of digital and online services
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 7 April 2021, the Digital Markets Unit ("DMU") was launched within the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA"). The DMU will, in the future, be tasked with oversight of the UK’s new digital regulatory regime, with powers and duties enshrined in legislation. Key takeaways The DMU has (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Polish Competition Authority fines an online office equipment retailer for resale price maintenance (Fellowes)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Collusion on office equipment market - decision of the President of UOKiK* Collusion on office equipment market - decision of the President of UOKiK Fellowes Poland for many years imposed minimum prices on distributors for resale of office equipment on the Internet. Tomasz Chróstny, President of (...)

The Cypriot Administrative Court annuls a decision that imposed a fine of €20,775,630 on petroleum companies (ExxonMobil / Hellenic Petroleum / Petrolina / Coral)
Trojan Economics (Nicosia)
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Trojan Economics (Nicosia)
The joined cases were brought before the Administrative Court of Cyprus (hereinafter the “Court”) by ExxonMobil Cyprus Ltd, Hellenic Petroleum Cyprus Ltd, Petrolina (Holdings) Public Ltd and Coral Energy Products Cyprus Ltd (hereinafter the “petroleum companies”) against the Commission for the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority grants an interim authorisation to a press association to collectively bargain with big tech company (Country Press Australia / Google / Facebook)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Country Press Australia members can collectively bargain with Google and Facebook* The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for Country Press Australia (CPA) members to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payments to publishers for their news content that appears on the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority considers that the commitments offered by two food retailers under the purchase alliance probe were proportionate and suitable to address potential restrictions of competition (Carrefour / Provera)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
In its decision of 28 April 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") considered that the commitments offered by Carrefour and Provera under the purchase alliance probe were proportionate and suitable to address potential restrictions of competition. Following Carrefour’s divestment offer, (...)

The EU Commission imposes total fines of €28 million on three investment banks for their involvement in a cartel in the EEA secondary trading market for SSA bonds denominated in US Dollars (Bank of America Merrill Lynch / Crédit Agricole / Crédit Suisse)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 April, the European Commission adopted a decision imposing fines on a series of investment banks relating to the trading of Supra-sovereign, Sovereign and Agency (“SSA”) bonds. SSA Bonds In the first decision, adopted on 28 April 2021, the Commission imposed total fines of € 28 million on (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of €28.5 million on banks implicated in European government bond trading cartel (Bank of America Merrill Lynch / Crédit Agricole / Crédit Suisse)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
In April and May 2021 the European Commission ("EC") announced the imposition of fines totalling almost €400 million on banks implicated in two separate cartels relating to bond trading. In a separate development, the EC took unprecedented action to exclude a number of international banks from (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates disciplinary proceedings against a national electricity company for anticompetitive practices (Audax)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against Audax Renovables S.A. for alleged practices prohibited by the Anti-Trust Law* - It is investigating if it used deceit and fraud in its favour to convince household customers of electricity and gas companies to switch their suppliers - (...)

The EU Commission fines three EU railway companies €48 million for market sharing (OBB / DB / SNCB)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines three EU railway companies €48 million for customer allocation cartel* The European Commission has fined railway companies Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Société Nationale des Chemins de fer belges / Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority announces the launch of a full-fledged investigation against thirty-two undertakings for gentlemen’s agreements in labor markets across Turkey (Yemek Sepeti / Zomato / Commencis...)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
On April 20, 2021, the Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) announced on its website that the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) had launched a full-fledged investigation against thirty-two undertakings for gentlemen’s agreements in labor markets across Turkey, in order to determine whether (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority issues statements of objections for an anticompetitive agreement in the labor market
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC issues Statements of Objections for anticompetitive agreement in the labour market for the first time* The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) has issued for the first time Statements of Objections for an agreement not to hire workers, in this case involving the Portuguese Professional (...)

The Latvian Supreme Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to fine a transportation and infrastructure company for bid-rigging (Rīgas satiksme)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The court leaves effective a decision of the Competition Council on involvement of SIA “Rīgas satiksme” in the so-called nano water acquisition bid-rigging* On 9 April, the Senate of the Supreme Court rejected the cassation claim of Riga Municipality capital company SIA “Rīgas satiksme” on the (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Pitruzzella issues the opinion that a national court may attribute liability to a subsidiary for the harm resulting from its parent company’s anticompetitive conduct by applying economic unit theory (Sumal / Mercedes Benz)
Matheson (Dublin)
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Matheson (Dublin)
Irish subsidiary companies should be aware that they may be ordered to pay fines or compensation as a result of a parent company breaching competition law, and corporate groups should take this risk into account in the design of intra-group operations and competition law compliance programmes. (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds the FTC’s decision that two pharmaceutical companies entered an anticompetitive reverse payment settlement (Endo / Impax)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On April 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s decision that Impax Laboratories entered an anticompetitive “reverse payment” settlement with Endo Pharmaceuticals. This case was the FTC’s first fully litigated reverse payment case since the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds the FTC’s decision in the first fully litigated reverse payment decision against generic pharmaceutical companies (Endo / Impax)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On April 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s decision that Impax Laboratories entered an anticompetitive “reverse payment” settlement with Endo Pharmaceuticals. This case was the FTC’s first fully litigated reverse payment case since the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rules that showing the reverse payment settlement eliminated the possibility of an earlier generic entry is enough to infer anticompetitive effect (Endo / Impax)
Jones Day (New York)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
In Short The Background: In the Supreme Court’s landmark 2013 decision in FTC v. Actavis, the Court determined that large payments by branded drugmakers to potential generic entrants to settle patent disputes could be anticompetitive. It instructed district courts to apply the "rule of reason" (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds the FTC’s ruling that the generic drug maker engaged in an anticompetitive “reverse payment” settlement with a brand manufacturer (Endo / Impax)
Hausfeld (Philadelphia)
On April 13, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling that generic drug maker Impact Laboratories, LLC (now owned by Amneal Pharmaceuticals) engaged in an anticompetitive “reverse payment” settlement with brand manufacturer Endo (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against national basketball clubs for limiting competition (Energa Basket Liga)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
The President of UOKiK brings charges of limiting competition against basketball clubs* President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny has initiated antitrust proceedings against the Energa Basket Liga and sixteen basketball clubs. The subject matter of the proceedings is the establishment of principles of (...)

The German Competition Authority terminates proceedings against a household appliances producer in response to complaints about a rebate scheme (Liebherr)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) dated 12 April 2021, the FCO terminated proceedings against household appliances producer Liebherr after Liebherr agreed to change its sales conditions. The FCO had initiated proceedings in response to complaints about a new (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court rejects the Competition Authority’s appeal and upholds the decision of the Court of First Instance which ordered to revisit the joint bid-rigging fine imposed on two container ship companies (Jadrana / Pasvalio melioracija)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Lithuanian Competition Authority will have to redecide on individualisation of fines for cartelists The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) rejected the appeal of the Lithuanian competition authority and upheld the decision of the court of first instance which ordered the (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation on the market of production and marketing of poultry meat (Transavia / Ave Impex / Vis Agri)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has opened an investigation on the market of production and marketing of poultry meat* The Competition Council has launched an investigation aimed at a possible anti-competitive behaviour of some undertakings operating on the market of production and / or marketing the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Russian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position in the distribution of mobile applications on its operating system (Apple)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia fined apple $12 million us dollars* On April 26, 2021, the FAS Russia imposed on Apple Inc. a turnover fine of 906,299,392.16 rubles (over $12 million) for violating antimonopoly legislation. In August 2020, the FAS Russia completed the consideration of the antitrust case against (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a Big Tech company regarding its store rules for music streaming providers (Apple)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple on App Store rules for music streaming providers* The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it distorted competition in the music streaming market as it abused its dominant position for the distribution (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision stating that a print circulars distributor abused its dominant position (FK Distribution)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal: FK Distribution has abused its dominant position* The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal has upheld a June 2020 decision by the Danish Competition Council stating that FK Distribution abused its dominant position on the market for distribution of (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its second interim report which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 28 April 2021, the ACCC released its second interim report as part of the five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry, which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices. In this second interim (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for abusive conduct in the digital markets (Google / Enel)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By a decision handed down in the Google/Enel X case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has fined Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy Srl (hereinafter Google) for infringing Article 102 TFEU. Google bused its dominant position because not allowing the release of JuicePass, an app (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for its refusal to publish an app developed by competitors allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving (Google / Enel)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
On 27 April 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined Google for its refusal to publish an app developed by Enel X Italia (“JuicePass”) on Android Auto allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving. Android Auto is a specific feature (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a €102 million fine on a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position by refusing to feature a competitor’s app on its digital platform (Google / Enel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 April 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of over € 102 million on Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy S.r.l. (collectively, “Google”) after concluding that Google had infringed Article 102 TFEU by refusing to include in Google’s own Android Auto app a third (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds a decision by the Competition Authority against the biggest distributor of unaddressed mail for abuse of dominant position by tying its sale of print circulars with its sale of viewing of circulars on several of its digital platforms (FK Distribution)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On the 27th April 2021, the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal (“DCAT”) upheld a June 2020 decision by the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”). The DCC concluded that FK Distribution (FK), as the biggest distributor of unaddressed mail (print circulars) in Denmark, had abused its dominant position (...)

The Delhi High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s order of directing an investigation into the privacy policy rolled out by a big tech company (WhatsApp)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere pendency of some issues before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”), or any of the High Courts does not necessarily bar CCI from exercising jurisdiction otherwise vested with it under the Act. BRIEF FACTS Whatsapp LLC (“WhatsApp”) is the proprietor of the popular (...)

The Delhi High Court reviews the Competition Authority’s inquiry into a big tech company’s data privacy policy (WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Delhi High Court Judgement on CCI Inquiry into WhatsApp’s new data privacy policy in India* While reporting on the initial media news in my earlier blog on the same topic published on 23 April 21 , I had promised to come back with a detailed reporting on the above judgment which was then not (...)

The Delhi High Court refuses to intervene in the Competition Authority’s investigation against a Big Tech company (WhatApp / / Indian Competition Authority)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
By way of its judgement dated 22 April 2021, the Delhi High Court dismissed the writ petitions filed by WhatsApp and Facebook challenging the order dated 24 March 2021 passed by the CCI under Section 26(1) of the Act (‘Impugned Order’). By way of the Impugned Order, the CCI had directed the (...)

The Russian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a Big Tech company for abuse of dominant position (Google / Youtube)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS initiated a case against Google LLC* According to the Authority, the company abuses its dominant position in the market of YouTube video hosting services The reason for the investigation was the application of the Regional Public Organization “Center for Internet Technologies” (ROCIT), (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal confirms the Competition Authority’s settlement policy following the appeal of a musical instrument company (Roland)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Roland UK ("Roland") appealed the level of the penalty imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") for engaging in resale price maintenance ("RPM") in relation to the supply of electronic drums. Roland argued that the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT") should reduce the penalty (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds that several exclusive wholesalers of country liquor did not discriminate against the suing distillery (Starlight Bruchem / Flora and Fauna Housing / Land Developments and Others)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
In the latest of a line of cases involving the liquor sector, the CCI found that a number of exclusive licensees for the wholesale trade in country liquor in the state of Uttar Pradesh had not abused their dominant position in failing to source liquor from the Informant, Starlight Bruchem Ltd. (...)

The German Competition Authority closes its investigation against a producer of household appliances, without a fine after it agreed to amend its retailer rebate scheme (Liebherr)
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
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Ashurst (Munich)
On 12 April 2021, the German competition authority ("FCO") closed its investigation against Liebherr, a producer of household appliances, without a fine after Liebherr agreed to abandon or amend certain clauses in its newly introduced distribution model which, in the FCO’s view, discriminated (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects allegations regarding an abuse of dominant position in the provision of coal terminal services (Tamil Nadu Power Producer Association / Chettinad International Coal Terminal)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
After a lengthy investigation, which started in January 2016, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected allegations by the Tamil Nadu Power Producer Association that Chettinad International Coal Terminal Pvt. Ltd. (CICTPL) had abused its dominant position in the provision of coal (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to make sure tech giants cannot exploit their market dominance
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
The UK Government has launched the long-awaited Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to “help make sure tech giants such as Facebook and Google cannot exploit their market dominance.” The DMU, based in the Competition Markets Authority (CMA), kicked off its work in shadow, non-statutory form on 7 April (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority finds competition concerns in the merger between two national secure authentication management solutions providers (Imprivata / Isosec)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Imprivata’s purchase of Isosec raises competition concerns* The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that Imprivata’s proposed acquisition of Isosec raises competition concerns. Imprivata and Isosec provide secure authentication management solutions to healthcare providers in (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority publishes a statement regarding the EU Commission’s policy change on article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 29 april 2021, following the release of the widely commented european commission guidance on art. 22 of the EU merger regulation (eumr), the Luxembourg Competition Council published a statement on the recent policy change. In addition to explaining the key characteristics of the European (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two waste management companies subject to conditions (Veolia / Suez)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to the divestment of assets in Île-de-France, the takeover of Suez RV OSIS by SARP, a subsidiary of Veolia* On 5 February 2021, the European Commission referred to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of the takeover by SARP, a subsidiary (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two semiconductor manufacturers subject to conditions (Renesas / PLC)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Semiconductor industry: Bundeskartellamt clears the proposed acquisition of Dialog Semiconductor PLC by Renesas Electronics Corporation* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared plans by the Japanese company Renesas Electronics Corporation to acquire all shares and sole control of Dialog (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two media companies subject to conditions (Vivendi / Prisma Media)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Prisma Media (Ça m’intéresse, Capital, Cuisine Actuelle, Femme Actuelle, Gala, Télé Loisirs…) by Vivendi.* On 24 March 2021, the Vivendi group notified the Autorité of the exclusive control acquisition of the Prisma Media press group. At the end (...)

The US FTC requires the divestiture of gasoline market assets as a condition to clear the merger between two convenience stores companies (Buck’s / Casey’s General Stores)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Requires Divestitures as Condition of Casey’s General Stores, Inc.’s Acquisition of Buck’s Intermediate Holdings, LLC* Order preserves competition in local fuel markets in Nebraska and Iowa Casey’s General Stores, Inc., Buck’s Intermediate Holdings, LLC, and Steven Buchanan, have agreed to (...)

The Danish Competition Authority approves the acquisition of multiple bus companies by a private equity firm (IV / Egons / Papuga Bus / Polaris Private Equity / Larsenbus)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council has approved Polaris Private Equity IV K/S’ acquisition of the bus companies Egons A/S, Larsenbus ApS, Papuga Bus A/S, and Papuga A/S On 23 March 2021, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (hereinafter “DCCA”) received a complete notification of Polaris (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of two online suppliers by a technology company providing services related to identity & access management loyalty programs, offers, and payments (Tata Digital / Supermarket Grocery Supplies / Innovative Retail Concepts)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI approved the acquisition by Tata Digital Limited (TDL) of up to 64.3% of the total share capital of Supermarket Grocery Supplies Limited (SGS) and a potential subsequent acquisition by SGC of sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited (IRC). TDL provides technology (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority conducts a detailed analysis of the merger between two funeral services providers (Altima / Funeraria Juanals)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC conducts a detailed analysis of the Altima Group’s acquisition of Funeraria Juanals* - The transaction seeks to have Elysius Europa, S.L., the parent company of the Altima Group, which is jointly controlled by Albia Gestión de Servicio S.L.U. and Grup VFV, S.L., acquire exclusive (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two national agricultural products suppliers subject to conditions (RaiWa Kassel / RWZ Cologne)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Agricultural trade: RaiWa Kassel can acquire 19 locations of RWZ Cologne – Bundeskartellamt allows merger only after changes to merger plans* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the acquisition of 19 locations of the agricultural cooperative Raiffeisen Waren-Zentrale Rhein-Main eG (RWZ), (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines an oil company for not complying with previous voluntary remedies (Repsol)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC imposes a fine of 850,000 euros on Repsol Comercial de Productos Petrolíferos, S.A.* In 2014, Repsol acquired control of Societat Catalana de Petrolis, S.A. (Petrocat) The CNMC authorised the purchase, contingent on the oil company fulfilling a series of voluntary conditions. Repsol (...)

The EU Commission reviews the merger between two biotech company specialised in genomic sequencing (Illumina / Grail)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission opens a review of Illumina’s acquisition of Grail under the procedure of Article 22 of the 2004 Merger Regulation* Background Following the referral request submitted by the Autorité de la concurrence, which was joined by several Member States of the European Economic (...)

The EU Commission unleashes new approach to article 22 referrals regarding an acquisition in the healthcare sector (Illumina / Grail)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 March 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published Guidance outlining its new approach in accepting and encouraging referrals under Article 22 of the Merger Regulation of deals that fail to meet either the EU or Member State turnover thresholds but that nonetheless affect (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two petrol station groups would raise competition concerns (Bellis / Asda)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Bellis’ purchase of Asda raises some competition concerns* The CMA has found that Bellis’ completed £6.8bn purchase of Asda could lead to higher petrol prices in some parts of the country. The Issa Brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital purchased Asda through jointly owned company Bellis. (...)

The Australian, German and UK Competition Authorities release a joint statement on merger control enforcement
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Landmark joint statement on merger control enforcement from ACCC, UK’s CMA and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt* The ACCC, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt have today issued a joint statement highlighting the importance of rigorous and effective merger (...)

The EU Commission investigates the merger between two pharmaceutical companies (Illumina / GRAIL)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
European Commission to investigate acquisition of pharmaceutical firm GRAIL by biotech firm Illumina* The European Commission will investigate the acquisition of US pharmaceutical company GRAIL by US biotechnology company Illumina. Various European countries, including the Netherlands, support (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority approves subject to conditions the merger between two producers of alcoholic beverages (Altia / Arcus)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
For the first time in Finnish merger control history, parties to a merger committed to an upfront-buyer provision. On 19 April 2021, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (“FCCA”) approved the merger between Altia Oyj (“Altia”) and Arcus ASA (“Arcus”) subject to conditions. Both Altia and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates disciplinary proceedings against a funeral services provider for gun-jumping (Albia / Tanatoria Móstoles)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against Albia Gestión de Servicios, S.L.U., a subsidiary of the Santa Lucía group.* The company did not notify the CNMC of its purchase of the funeral services company Tanatoria Móstoles, S.L. before acquiring it in 2019. Companies that exceed certain (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority clears the merger between two alcoholic beverages companies subject to conditions (Altia / Arcus)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The merger of Altia and Arcus is cleared after commitments* The Swedish Competition Authority clears the merger of Altia and Arcus. The merger is cleared on the condition that Altia and Arcus implement voluntary commitments that remedy the negative effects on competition that could have arisen (...)

The Indonesian Competition Authority imposes penalties on three companies for lodging merger filings up to eight years too late (Orix / Saratoga Investama Sedaya / Dharma Satya Nusantara)
Ashurst (Singapore)
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Ashurst (Brisbane)
On 5 April 2021, the Indonesian Competition Commission ("KPPU") imposed fines totalling IDR 3.2 billion (approximately USD 221,000) on one Japanese and two Indonesian companies for failing to notify their respective transactions in a timely fashion. Key takeaways The Indonesian merger regime (...)

The French Council of State rejects the application from a biotechnology company to suspend the referral by the French Competition Authority of its acquisition of a company developing multi-cancer early detection tests, and rules that it does not have jurisdiction to suspend a request for referral (Illumina / Grail)
White & Case (Paris)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The European Commission ("EC") is shifting its approach with respect to the referral mechanism under Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation 139/2004 (the "EUMR") and now – at least in certain circumstances – encourages referrals from Member States even where the national filing thresholds are not (...)

The French Supreme Administrative Court declines jurisdiction to review a below-threshold referral by the Competition Authority to the EU Commission (Illumina / Grail)
Addleshaw Goddard (Paris)
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Ashurst (Paris)
Responding to an appeal against the French Competition Authority’s ("FCA") first referral of a concentration below national merger control thresholds to the European Commission, the Conseil d’Etat declared it does not have jurisdiction to rule in these cases. Key takeaways The French Supreme (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves a €12 million COVID-19 damage compensation as well as a €255.5 million of liquidity support to two airline companies in Portugal and extends an ongoing in-depth investigation to planned restructuring aid (SATA / Azores) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €12 million coronavirus damage compensation and €255.5 million of liquidity support to SATA Air Açores and Azores Airlines in Portugal; extends ongoing in-depth investigation to planned restructuring aid* The European Commission has approved €12 million in Portuguese (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeal against the General Court’s judgement highlighting that essential national interests may justify deviation from the normal public procurement (Achemos & Achema)
Maastricht University
State Aid and Essential National Interest* Introduction State aid should support outcomes that the market by itself cannot achieve. This implies that State aid that is restricted to only one or a few undertakings is unlikely to be capable of delivering the desired outcome. Yet, sometimes (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a Norwegian aid scheme for alternative fuels infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves Norwegian aid scheme for alternative fuels infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a Norwegian aid scheme to support private sector investments in own-use alternative fuels infrastructure. The measure, which is (...)

The EU Court of Justice finds that Spain failed to fulfil its obligations to recover the whole amount of the incompatible State aid (Telecom CLM)
Maastricht University
The Impossibility of Proving the Absolute Impossibility to Recover Incompatible State Aid* Introduction It is rather impossible for Member States to prove that it is absolutely impossible to recover State aid that has been found by the Commission, and confirmed by EU courts, to be (...)

The EU Commission approves €2.5 million compensation to Slovenian press agency for its public service (STA)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.5 million compensation to Slovenian Press Agency STA for its public service* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €2.5 million compensation granted by Slovenia to the Slovenian Press Agency STA to fulfil its public service mission. (...)

The EU Court of Justice determines whether a company indirectly benefitted from incompatible State aid granted to another chemical company (Fortischem)
Maastricht University
Economic Continuity and Recovery of Indirect State Aid* Introduction Recipients of State aid that is found to be incompatible with the internal market have to pay it back with interest. This liability for repayment also extend to anyone else who benefits from the aid indirectly. It is (...)

The EU Commission approves a prolongation and modification of a German scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves prolongation and modification of German scheme to support electricity production from renewable energy sources* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, the prolongation and modification of a German scheme to support the production of (...)

The EU Commission approves a restructuring aid for Polish regional railways as the country commits to an accelerated opening to competition of regional passenger rail transport
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves restructuring aid for Polish Regional Railways, as Poland commits to an accelerated opening to competition of regional passenger rail transport* The European Commission has concluded that Polish measures to support the restructuring of Polish Regional Railways, (...)

The EU Commission adopts revised guidelines on regional State aid to improve regional development and attract inward investment
Matheson (Dublin)
,
Matheson (Dublin)
The European Commission has adopted revised Guidelines on Regional State Aid which will enter into force on 1 January 2022. The revised Guidelines bring about good and bad news for Irish granting authorities and prospective Regional Aid recipients. In particular, while permissible aid (...)

The EU General Court of Justice finds that the aid measures introduced by Sweden and Denmark for an airline company’s damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of flights in the wake of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic comply with EU law (Ryanair) Free
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
Aid measures introduced by Sweden and Denmark for SAS for damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of flights in the wake of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic comply with EU law* Given that SAS’s market share is much higher than that of its closest competitor in (...)

The EU General Court provides further guidance on the standard of judicial review of Commission decisions not to raise objections at the end of a preliminary examination phase (Achema / Lifosa) (Verband Deutscher Alten)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 April 2021, the General Court delivered two judgments (Achema and Lifosa, Case T-300/19, and Verband Deutscher Alten und Behindertenhilfe and CarePool Hannover, Case T-69/18, hereinafter “Achema” and “Verband Deutscher Alten”), which provide further guidance on the standard of judicial review (...)

The EU General Court rejects a company’s actions for annulment against decisions of the Commission on COVID-19 individual aid in the aviation sector (Ryanair) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 April 2020, the General Court dismissed the actions for annulment brought by Ryanair against three decisions of the Commission authorising State aid in the airline sector. These judgments were delivered by the same Tenth Chamber (extended composition), which had already dismissed in (...)

The EU General Court decides that State aid may be granted to a single company that is important for the national economy and does not need to be granted to all competitors (Ryanair) Free
Maastricht University
Individual Aid Measures to Combat Covid-19* Aid to remedy a serious economic disturbance may be granted to a single company that is important for the national economy. EU law does not extend to competitors a right to the same aid. Introduction Between March 2020 and April 2021, the European (...)

The EU General Court dismisses three challenges against decisions of the Commission approving individual aid measures granted by Finland, Denmark and Sweden in the COVID-19 crisis (Ryanair) Free
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 14 April 2021, the General Court ("GC") handed down three judgments dismissing Ryanair’s challenges against decisions by the European Commission, approving individual aid measures granted by Finland to Finnair (Case T-388/20) and by Denmark and Sweden to SAS in the context of the COVID-19 (...)

Procedures

The US Supreme Court blocks the FTC from obtaining monetary remedies in most antitrust and consumer protection cases (AMG Capital Management / FTC)
Jones Day
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in AMG Capital Management v. FTC that Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTCA") Section 13(b) does not authorize the FTC to obtain monetary remedies such as restitution or disgorgement. The Court’s decision is a significant setback for the FTC, particularly in (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that the FTC lacks the authority to seek equitable monetary relief in cases brought in federal court under FTC Act Section 13(b) (AMG Capital Management)
Morgan Lewis (Philadelphia)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Boston)
In a unanimous 9-0 decision authored by Justice Breyer, the US Supreme Court has held that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lacks the authority to seek equitable monetary relief in cases brought in federal court under FTC Act Section 13(b). The Court’s April 22, 2021, decision in AMG Capital (...)

The US Supreme Court decides that the FTC is not authorized to seek monetary relief from defendants in federal court, in consumer fraud and antitrust cases (AMG Capital Management)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (FTC Act) does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek monetary relief from defendants in federal court. We had anticipated (...)

The US Supreme Court unanimously holds that FTC Act Section 13(b) does not authorize equitable monetary relief (AMG Capital Management)
Baker Botts
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Baker Botts (Washington)
This morning, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC, finding that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. 539 U.S. ___ (2021), Slip Op. (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that the FTC does not have authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act to seek disgorgement or restitution from defendants (AMG Capital Management)
Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Philadelphia)
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not have authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act to seek disgorgement or restitution from defendants. The agency has increasingly relied on this authority to seek monetary penalties from defendants in antitrust cases, (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement (AMG Capital Management)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
On April 22, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously held that section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act - which authorizes “a permanent injunction”- does not authorize the Federal Trade Commission to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. (...)

The Polish Competition Authority publishes its guidelines on the rules for imposing and calculating fines for companies breaching competition law
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Earlier this year the Polish Competition Authority (“UOKiK”) published its guidelines on the rules of imposing and calculating fines for companies breaching competition law (the “New Guidelines”) replacing guidelines issued in 2015. According to the New Guidelines, to determine the amount of the (...)

Regulatory

The UK Parliament welcomes the National Security and Investment Act to review transactions on national security grounds, and potentially prohibit their completion or require remedies to allow them to proceed
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 29 April 2021 the National Security and Investment (NSI) Bill received Royal Assent. The NSI Act 2021 introduces significant legislative reforms which will overhaul the ability of the UK Government to review transactions on national security grounds, and potentially prohibit their completion (...)

The UK Parliament adopts the National Security and Investment Act
Bird & Bird (London)
On 29 April 2021, the UK National Security and Investment Bill was granted Royal Assent and has therefore formally become law. The new National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), is not yet in force but it is expected to become effective later this year. The NSIA establishes a new security (...)

The UK Parliament enacts the National Security and Investment Act
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
The UK’s much publicised National Security and Investment Bill has now been granted Royal Assent – passing into law an Act which will significantly affect the way investments in the UK can be reviewed by the Government where they raise national security considerations. The Act introduces a (...)

The UK Parliament’s Act on foreign direct investment receives Royal Assent
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK National Security and Investment Act 2021 (NSI Act) received royal assent on 29 April 2021. Expected to come into force in late 2021, the NSI Act will introduce a standalone UK foreign direct investment and national security screening regime, replacing the current regime that links (...)

The UK Parliament enacts the National Security and Investment Act after receiving the Royal Assent
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
On 29 April 2021, the principal legislation establishing the UK’s new national security regime – the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the Act ) – received Royal Assent. Although the new regime is not expected to come into force until much later in 2021, the granting of Royal Assent is a (...)

The UK Parliament approves the National Security and Investment Act
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
On 29 April, the UK Parliament adopted the National Security & Investment Law (“NS&I Law”). The law received Royal Assent the following day and will come into legal effect in late 2021. The NS&I Law will introduce mandatory notification and pre-clearance requirements for transactions (...)

The UK Parliament receives Royal Assent for the National Security and Investment Act
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Introduction A new national security new regime On 29 April 2021, the UK National Security and Investment Act ("Act") received Royal Assent. When brought into force, which is not expected until late 2021, the Act will significantly strengthen the UK Government’s powers to investigate and (...)

The German Government passes a revised regulation on foreign investment control
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Regulators are becoming increasingly active in imposing measures on deals or prohibiting them altogether under FDI rules – with prohibitions happening in the EU’s largest economies Germany, France, and Italy in the past months. Against this backdrop, Germany is moving forward on its plans for (...)

The German Government introduces a significant amendment of foreign direct investment rules
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
Germany is continuing to tighten and develop its FDI regime: After various legislative actions in the course of 2020, the German Federal Government agreed on significant amendments of the existing FDI rules which will enter into force with its publication in the Federal Gazette (...)

The German Government adopts a 17th amendment to the Foreign Trade and Payment Ordinance
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
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Jones Day (Paris)
,
Jones Day (Milano)
The 17th amendment to the German Foreign Trade and Payment Ordinance ("AWV") adopted by the federal government on April 27, 2021, included—compared to the original draft—a number of changes relevant to M&A transactions with a nexus to Germany. A draft 17th amendment to the AWV was published (...)

The US Congress proposes a package of bills on drug pricing, including changes to the treatment of reverse payments, product hopping, sham petitions, and patent dancing
White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (New York)
What’s next for drug pricing in the US? Proposals to alter antitrust and patent laws may signal a renewed focus on drug pricing by federal lawmakers, while the growing web of state laws is expected to increase compliance challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. What’s changing? A new (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority alongside other Nordic countries publishes a joint report on online pharmacy markets and calls for removing the requirement to have physical pharmacies
Norwegian Competition Authority
Nordic Competition Authorities: Online pharmacies can increase competition in the pharmacy sector* The Nordic Competition Authorities have 14.4.2021 published a joint memorandum on online pharmacy markets in the Nordics. The memorandum finds that the size and regulation of online pharmacy (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority concludes that the restrictions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic cause competition inequality for beauticians and beauty specialists in cosmetology Free
Konkurences padome (Riga)
Restrictions in the beauty sector during COVID-19 cause competition inequality* Having examined the application of the Latvian Association of Beauticians and Cosmetologists and the Latvian Association of Beauty Specialists, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) concludes that the (...)

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