January 2022

General antitrust

The US DoJ AG Merrick B. Garland issues statement of principles and commitments with the Secretary of Agriculture to protect against unfair and anticompetitive practices in the agriculture sector New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department and Agriculture Department Issue Shared Principles and Commitments to Protect Against Unfair and Anticompetitive Practices* Speaking at a White House event focused on competition in agriculture, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (...)

The US FTC, the DoJ and the EU Commission issue a joint statement on the launch of the EU-US joint technology competition policy dialogue New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Joint Statement from FTC, DOJ Antitrust Division, and European Commission Leadership on Launch of EU-US Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue* Leadership of the Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and the Directorate-General for Competition of (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its latest "Airline Competition in Australia" report which reveals that consumers will benefit from increased competition and cheaper fares on the country’s busiest routes once borders reopen New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Consumers to benefit from increased competition on busiest airline routes* Millions of Australians are set to benefit from increased competition and cheaper airfares on Australia’s busiest routes as state and territory borders reopen and the domestic airline industry prepares for a peak summer (...)

The EU Commission alongside the US FTC and DOJ launches a joint technology competition policy dialogue to foster cooperation in competition policy and enforcement in the technology sector New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: EU-US launch Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue to foster cooperation in competition policy and enforcement in technology sector* Today, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, US Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and the Assistant (...)

The Russian Competition Authority signs a cooperation agreement with the Academy of Sciences aiming to exchange knowledge on national competition law New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS RUSSIA AND RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES SIGNED A COOPERATION AGREEMENT* The document was signed by the Head of FAS Russia Maxim Shaskolskiy and the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev. The agreement provides for the involvement of the scientific community in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a company for alleged abuse of its dominant position on the Lazio market for the disposal of waste as a result of the unjustified refusal to guarantee access to its landfill site (Viterbo) New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
A549 - Italian Competition Authority: proceedings have been started against Viterbo S.r.l.* Given the seriousness of the situation for the waste emergency in the Lazio Region, the Authority has not excluded the use of interim measures The Italian Competition Authority has decided to initiate (...)

The Italian Government adopts legislation aimed at harmonising the tools and powers at the disposal of the competition authorities of the Member States and empowering them to be more effective enforcers New
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
Italy has just enacted the Legislative Decree implementing the ECN Plus Directive so providing the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) with increased enforcement powers. The following sections provide a first overview of the main novelties which include sanctions to natural persons for breach (...)

The Italian Government adopts a Legislative Decree implementing the ECN+ Directive, providing the Competition Authority with increased enforcement powers New
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
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Hogan Lovells (Milan)
Italy has just enacted the Legislative Decree implementing the ECN Plus Directive so providing the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) with increased enforcement powers. The following sections provide a first overview of the main novelties which include sanctions to natural persons for breach (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority issues a warning against potential competition and free market access risks derived from an agreement reached by the Government on projects and works considered of public interest and national security New
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE warns of possible risks in matters of competition and free market access derived from the Agreement on projects and works of the Government of Mexico considered of public interest and national security* The Agreement could generate an asymmetric regulatory regime in function of who (...)

The US FTC adopts a policy statement outlining its criminal antitrust enforcement efforts and its plans to reinforce interagency collaboration and transparency New
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On November 18, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 4-0 to adopt a new policy statement outlining the commission’s plans to expand its criminal referral program in an effort to prevent and deter corporate crime stemming from consumer protection and criminal antitrust misconduct. The (...)

The US FTC announces its plans to launch a Section 6(b) study of ongoing supply chain issues among retailers and consumer good firms as well as to expand its criminal referral programme New
Covington & Burling (Washington)
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Covington & Burling (Washington)
FTC Announces 6(b) Study of Supply Chain Disruptions and Expansion of Criminal Referral Program On November 18, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission held an open meeting to discuss the agency’s efforts to launch a Section 6(b) study of ongoing supply chain issues among retailers and consumer good (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on new challenges in competition policy, namely insisting on a progressive phase-out of the COVID-19 crisis and its efforts to deliver on the green and digital transitions New Free
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (hereinafter the “Commission”) published a Communication on “A competition policy fit for new challenges” (hereinafter the “Communication”). The Communication provides an illustrative consolidation of the current work streams – both at the enforcement and (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues its judgment concerning the question of whether a subsidiary can be held liable for the anti-competitive behaviour of its parent company (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España) New
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
Red pill or blue pill? The European Court of Justice makes its choice: subsidiaries can be held liable for the infringements of their parent companies (Case C-882/19 – Sumal)* On 6 October 2021, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its very much-awaited judgment in case C-882/19 Sumal, (...)

The US DoJ quietly walks back prior administrative-era support of standard essential patent holders over standard-setting organizations and patent licensees New
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (New York)
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White & Case (Washington)
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has taken a first step in changing its view of IP rights, particularly where Standard Essential Patents ("SEPs") are at issue. Under the Trump Administration, the Division’s policy swung in favor of SEP innovators over standard-setting organizations (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a new Green Claims Code and announces that it will start carrying out a full review of misleading sustainability and environmental claims in 2022 New
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
UK clampdown on greenwashing As the importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness grows among consumers worldwide, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concerns that an increasing number of businesses misleadingly market their products and services as environmentally (...)

The US Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers delivers prepared remarks covering several criminal enforcement topics including deferred prosecution agreements and engagement with targets on charging decisions New
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
Why I Think the Antitrust Division Should Reconsider Its Policy on No Notice/No Target Letter Indictments* Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Powers recently delivered (virtually) prepared remarks (here) covering several criminal enforcement topics including: Compliance; Deferred (...)

The UK Government alongside other European jurisdictions implements the directive on preventive restructuring frameworks New
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
When the European Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks was published by the EU on 26 June 2019, there was excitement within the insolvency community that the EU might finally have taken its first step towards harmonisation of substantive insolvency law across Europe, which was (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Australian Competition Authority issues a statement declaring that it is closely monitoring the pricing of rapid antigen tests New Free
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Media Statement on pricing of rapid antigen tests* The ACCC is aware of the significant public concern about the pricing of rapid antigen tests and is contacting suppliers and monitoring the situation very closely. The ACCC will be examining claims that the current pricing levels of rapid (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens disciplinary proceedings against several companies for bid rigging in tenders called in Spain for the supply, maintenance and upgrade of military equipment (Hernando Moreno / Casli / Inversiones Certin 5 / Grupo de Ingeniería / Reconstrucción y Recambios JPG / Star Defence Logistics & Engineering) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC opens disciplinary proceedings against several companies for bid rigging relating to military equipment.* The competition authority investigates bid rigging and sharing agreements in tenders called in Spain for the supply, maintenance and upgrade of military equipment. In June and (...)

The EU Commission fines a Spanish ethanol producer €20 million for participating in a cartel concerning the wholesale price formation mechanism in the EU ethanol market (Abengoa) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 December 2021, the European Commission issued a press release in which it reported that it had fined Spanish ethanol producer, Abengoa S.A. and its subsidiary Abengoa Bionenergía S.A. (together, “Agengoa”), € 20 million for participating in a cartel concerning the wholesale price formation (...)

The EU Commission fines a former ethanol producer €20 million in a cartel settlement (Abengoa) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines former ethanol producer Abengoa € 20 million in cartel settlement* The Commission has fined the Spanish company Abengoa S.A. and its subsidiary Abengoa Bionenergía S.A. (together ‘Abengoa’) € 20 million for participating in a cartel concerning the wholesale price (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a port management company for obstructing the investigation by failing to respond to requests for information (Mayotte Channel Gateway) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines the Nel Group from Mayotte for obstructing the investigation* The Autorité today issued a decision in which it fined Mayotte Channel Gateway (MCG), which manages and operates the port of Longoni in Mayotte, and its parent company (Société Nel Import Export) (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the fine imposed by the Russian Competition Authority on a road market cartel participant (Impulse) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
THE COURT CONFIRMED 85.4 MILLION RUB FINE IMPOSED ON A ROAD MARKET CARTEL PARTICIPANT* In July 2020, FAS Russia found that OOO Magistral, OOO Impulse, OOO Nizhegorodavtodor, OOO Nizhavtodorstroy and OOO Uraldorstroy violated the Law on Protection of Competition. [1] The competing parties (...)

The EU Commission fines multiple banks €344 million for participating in a foreign exchange spot trading cartel (UBS / Barclays / RBS / HSBC / Credit Suisse)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines UBS, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse €344 million for participating in a Foreign Exchange spot trading cartel* The European Commission has completed its cartel investigation into the Foreign Exchange (‘Forex’) spot trading market by imposing fines on five banks. (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes a fine totaling around €7 million on an audio equipment manufacturer for resale price maintenance in the distribution of their audio products through authorized dealers (Bose)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fine on audio equipment manufacturer Bose* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed a fine totaling around 7 million euros on Bose GmbH, which is based in Friedrichsdorf, on account of resale price maintenance. Bose manufactures and distributes high-end consumer electronics. (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority closes an investigation against a financial services company after it allegedly denied a competitor access to its ATM network, in contrast to the access granted to other entities (Euro 6000) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CNMC has ended proceedings for breach of Article 101 TFEU and 1 LDC against EURO 6000 on 2 November. The proceedings were opened on February 2020 because of the concern that EURO 6000 (comprising several banks) may have denied ING access to its ATM network, in contrast to the access granted (...)

The EU Court of Justice reconfirms fundamental principles regarding vertical restraints and intrabrand restrictions, by underscoring the fact that many vertical restrictions would elude Article 101 (Visma) New
University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law
Visma and the notion of vertical restrictions* On the 18th of November, the European Court of Justice delivered its Visma ruling, that regardless of some important observations, appears to have largely gone unnoticed by the anti-trust community. Probably, overshadowed by the General Court (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority is investigating potential bid rigging by the Ministry of Defense in tenders for the supply, maintenance and upgrade of military equipment New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC is investigating potential bid rigging by the Spanish Ministry of Defence* The Commission is looking into alleged agreements involving bid rigging and sharing contracts related to the supply, maintenance of upgrade of military equipment. Early this month, the Commission conducted new (...)

The Portuguese Competition Court approves a settlement between a consumer protection association and the national land surveyors association based on a class action for damages due to alleged overcharging for surveying services (Ius Omnibus / ANT)
DLA Piper (Lisbon)
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DLA Piper (Lisbon)
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DLA Piper (Lisbon)
Competition law class actions in Portugal: first court-approved settlement* On 20 September 2021, the Portuguese Competition Court approved a settlement between Ius Omnibus, a non-profit consumer protection association, and the National Association of Land Surveyors (ANT), in the context of a (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation against a pharmaceutical association and numerous pharmacies in Altamura concerning an alleged anticompetitive agreement to prevent or agree in advance on discounts applied for medicines (Interprovincial Association of Pharmacists of Bari-Barletta-Andria-Trani) New
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
I855 - Italian Competition Authority: an investigation has been launched against the Interprovincial Association of Pharmacists of Bari-Barletta-Andria-Trani and numerous pharmacies in Altamura* A possible agreement on discounts applied to medicines and OTC products is currently under the (...)

The EU Court of Justice endorses downward liability by deciding that parties harmed by anticompetitive conduct may claim damages directly against subsidiary companies (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The Judgment of the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) of 6 October 2021, Sumal, case C-882/19, addresses a request for a preliminary ruling from the provincial court of Barcelona in late 2019. The court is addressing the appeal brought by Sumal after the first instance court had dismissed (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines railway companies a total of €127.3 million for bid-rigging the main security, signaling and communications systems companies in connection with the high-speed train’s commuter network in Spain (Alstom / Bombardier / Cafs / Cobra / Nokia...) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CNMC has fined a total of €127.3 million on Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Cobra, Nokia, Siemens and Thales, and ten of their executives for their participation in a cartel prohibited by Articles 1 LDC and 101 TFEU. Specifically, the companies created a cartel that fraudulently rigged at least 82 (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against multiple global film distribution companies for exchange of sensitive information (Paramount / Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures / Walt Disney) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
This investigation was conducted against the Spanish subsidiaries of 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Rentrak, Sony, Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers and Ymagis, S.A., in connection with uniform conditions applied in the digitization of movie distribution as well as sharing of commercially (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority imposes a fine totalling USD 45.62 million on its national power connection supplier for resale price maintenance (Bull) New
Baker McKenzie (Hong Kong)
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FenXun Partners (Beijing)
The China’s State Administration for Market Regulation ("SAMR")’s local branch in Zhejiang Province on 27 September 2021 announced a fine of USD 45.62 million on Bull Group for resale price maintenance ("RPM"). The SAMR has historically taken a tough stance on RPM and its recent imposition of (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court upholds suspending the start of proceedings to determine the scope and duration of public procurement bans on grounds of competition offences (Transporte Escolar Murcia) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
The Spanish Supreme Court (SC) has delivered a judgment in which it confirmed that courts are able to issue injunctive relief to temporarily prevent decisions on penalties rendered by the National Markets and Competition Commission (the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, or (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes a fine totaling €40 million on one of the world’s largest producers of electronic devices for resale price maintenance (Samsung) New
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
Dutch ACM fines Samsung almost € 40 million for resale price maintenance* The Dutch competition authority ACM fined Samsung Electronics Benelux B.V. (“Samsung”) € 39,875,500 for coordinating the retail prices of Samsung television sets together with various retailers. The alleged coordination took (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida rules that corporate-competitor plaintiffs may recover lost profits under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Tymar Distribution / Mitchell Group) New
Jones Day (Miami)
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Jones Day (Miami)
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Jones Day (Miami)
Southern District of Florida Finds Lost Profits Recoverable for Corporate-Competitor Plaintiffs Under FDUTPA The Chief Judge of the Southern District of Florida has ruled that corporate-competitor plaintiffs may recover lost profits under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (...)

The Australian Government releases an exposure draft detailing a range of proposed reforms to the unfair contract terms regime New
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
Unfair contract terms set to become illegal and subject to penalties The Australian Government treasury released an exposure draft on 23 August 2021 detailing a range of proposed reforms to the unfair contract terms ("UCT") regime, including pecuniary penalties on companies and individuals. If (...)

The Singaporean Competition Authority issues a new general guidance note to provide businesses with more clarity on common horizontal, vertical and lateral collaborations between competitors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
Baker McKenzie (Singapore)
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Baker McKenzie (Singapore)
CCCS proposes general guidance on common collaborations between competitors Unlike the lapsed COVID-19 Guidance Note, the new Business Collaboration Guidance Note would apply to all types of products and services, and would not have an expiry date. The Competition and Consumer Commission of (...)

The EU Commission publishes a draft of the revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and Guidelines New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The European Commission publishes a draft revised Vertical block exemption Regulation (VBER) and Guidelines. The EC has published on 9 July 2021 the awaited draft proposal for a revised VBER and its Guidelines. The current rules expire on 31 May 2022. The draft rules highlight the importance of (...)

The EU Commission and UK Competition Authority propose modifications to their antitrust rules on distribution agreements which diverge significantly, creating legal challenges for agreements caught by both sets of rules 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)
1. Summary The European Union and the United Kingdom have each proposed modifications of their antitrust rules on distribution. The proposals diverge significantly on common distribution practices, creating legal challenges for distribution agreements caught by both sets of rules. Dual (...)

The EU Commission finds that three German car manufacturers colluded by deliberately limiting competition on innovation in greener technologies for diesel vehicles (BMW / Daimler / VW)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By the cartel settlement decision recently rendered in Car Emissions, the European Commission (EC) found that three German car manufacturers colluded in the market for the reduction of emission of diesel cars during the period from June 2009 until October 2014. What is noteworthy in Car (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine totalling €875 million on multiple car manufacturers for restricting competition in emission cleaning for new diesel passenger cars (BMW / Daimler / VW) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The EC has found that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) breached EU antitrust rules by colluding on technical development in the area of nitrogen oxide cleaning. Car manufacturers had technical meetings to discuss the development of the selective catalytic (...)

The US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina alleges that 2 universities violated antitrust laws by agreeing not to permit lateral moves of faculty, pushing 1 university to settle the class action lawsuit (Seaman / Duke University) New
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
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Constantine Cannon (New York)
The Middle District of North Carolina No-Poach Class Action: Duke Finally Settles* While Duke University and the University of North Carolina (“UNC”) may be fierce sporting rivals on “Tobacco Road,” their alleged agreement not to compete for medical school faculty demonstrates how easily competing (...)

Unilateral Practices

The German Competition Authority announces that two major Big tech companies will be subject to an extended abuse control by the authority over the next five years (Google / Alphabet) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Alphabet/Google subject to new abuse control applicable to large digital companies – Bundeskartellamt determines “paramount significance across markets”* The Bundeskartellamt has delivered its decision that Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, USA, and therefore also its subsidiary Google, is subject to (...)

The French Competition Authority submits for public consultation the proposed commitments of a major Big tech company (Google) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Google proposes commitments as part of the investigation into the merits of the related rights case. The Autorité submits them for public consultation* Background Following on from the interim procedure that led to the adoption of interim measures in April 2020, the Autorité continued its (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its decision finding a pharmaceutical company guilty of excessive pricing on thyroid tablets (Advanz) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published the non-confidential version of its decision in Advanz Pharma, which provides further insight into its approach to dealing with excessive pricing. As reported earlier (See Michael Clancy, Samuel Hall, Peter L’Ecluse, (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a market study interim report and finds two Big tech companies have leveraged their market power to create largely self-contained mobile ecosystems leading to a duopoly that limits competition and choice over operating systems, app stores, and web browsers (Apple / Google) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Apple and Google duopoly limits competition and choice* The CMA’s interim report into mobile ecosystems suggests that users are losing out because of Apple and Google’s duopoly. Earlier this year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a probe over concerns that Apple and Google (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes behavioral remedies and fines an e-commerce company over € 1.128 billion for abusing its dominant position in the market for e-commerce logistics services (Amazon)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
A528 - Italian Competition Authority: Amazon fined over € 1,128 billion for abusing its dominant position* The Authority found that Amazon harmed its competitors in the market for e-commerce logistics services. The Authority imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that will be subject to review (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a record fine of over €1 billion as well as behavioral remedies on an e-commerce company for abusing its dominant position through engaging in discriminatory practices and denying third-party sellers access to certain sales prospects crucial to increasing their visibility on its website (Amazon)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
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Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
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Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
The case concerned a number of companies within the Amazon group (hereafter “Amazon”), including: a) Amazon Europe Core S.r.l., with legal domicile in Luxembourg, which is the company of the Amazon group responsible for the management of the websites of Amazon’s European marketplaces and owner of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines an e-commerce company €1.128 billion for abuse of dominance by making exclusive advantages for its online marketplace conditional upon the purchase of its logistics services (Amazon) New
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On December 9, 2021, the Italian competition authority (the “ICA” or “AGCM”) has levied its highest ever administrative fine—€1.128 billion—on Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l., Amazon Services Europe S.à .r.l., Amazon EU S.à r.l., Amazon Italia Services S.r.l., and Amazon Italia Logistica S.r.l. (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a pharmaceutical company’s alleged abusive behaviour on two distinct markets (Boehringer Ingelheim) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 December 2021, the Romanian competition authority announced that it conducted a dawn raid at the premises of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to investigate allegedly abusive conduct which targeted generic rivals of two of BI’s innovative medicines (see, attached press release in Romanian and (...)

The Russian Competition Authority imposes a fine totaling 825,500 rubles on a telecommunications company for abuse of dominance (Tele2) New
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia fined Tele2 for the abuse of its dominant position* The authority initiated an administrative offense case against the company and imposed a 825,500 rubles fine on the telecom operator for the abuse of its dominant position on November 22 [1]. In January 2021, the company (...)

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 Turkish Competition Authority accepts a leading beverage company’s commitments to remedy the competition concerns raised concerning its abuse of dominance in the carbonated drinks, cola drinks and aromatic carbonated drinks markets (Coca Cola)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The changes to the Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition (“Law No. 4045”) introducing the new commitment and settlement mechanisms, entered into force on 24 June 2020 with the Amendment Law, aiming to achieve efficiency gains and allow the competition investigations to close at an earlier (...)

The Australian Competition Authority reiterates the need for additional regulation to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms New
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
ACCC continues its focus on technology and digital platforms The ACCC has reiterated the need for additional regulation to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms. On 19 August 2021, in a speech to the Global Competition Review Webinar about the ACCC’s digital platforms (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches an investigation into two Big tech companies’ possible restrictive practices in the internet sales of electronic products (Apple / Amazon) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 1 July 2021, the CNMC announced an investigation against Apple and Amazon for possible restrictive practices in the Internet sales of electronic products and the provision of marketing services to third-party retailers through online platforms in Spain. The conduct under investigation (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Competition Authority approves, subject to conditions, the creation of a joint venture in the wholesale distribution and transport of periodical publications sector (Boyacá / SGEL) New
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC approves the conditions for creating a joint venture between Boyacá and SGEL* The transaction affects the wholesale distribution and transport in Spain of periodical publications. The venturers must comply with certain conditions imposed by the CNMC, most of which they had offered (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears the takeover of a company active in the distribution of decoration and bazaar products (Zouari family / Maxi Bazar Group) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the Zouari family’s takeover of the Maxi Bazar Group (decoration and bazaar products)* On 25 November 2021, the Zouari family notified the Autorité of its plan to acquire sole control of the Maxi Bazar Group. Parties to the transaction The Zouari family is (...)

The Italian Competition Authority approves without conditions a joint venture in the sector for green mobility (Enel X / Volkswagen Finance Luxembourg) New
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By its recent decision handed down in Enel X/Volkswagen Finance Luxembourg, the Italian Antitrust Authority (IAA) has approved without conditions a joint venture incorporated by two major providers of green mobility services. The IAA took the view that the transaction was unlikely to restrain (...)

The German and Austrian Competition Authorities publish an updated joint guidance on transaction value thresholds New
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Dusseldorf)
The German Bundeskartellamt and the Austrian Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde have updated their joint guidance on the application of their respective transaction value thresholds for mandatory merger notifications (the "Guidelines") on December 23, 2021. The authorities initially published the (...)

The US FTC fines a restaurant chain owner and investment fund operator $1.4 million to settle charges that two of its acquisitions violated the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (Biglari) New
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Fines Biglari Holdings Inc. for Repeatedly Violating Antitrust Laws* Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that restaurant chain owner and investment fund operator Biglari Holdings Inc. will pay a $1.4 million civil penalty to settle charges that two acquisitions it made on March (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves the acquisition of a transcription software company active in the healthcare sector and customer engagement solutions by a global technology company (Microsoft / Nuance) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Nuance by Microsoft* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Nuance Communications, Inc. (‘Nuance’) by Microsoft Corporation (‘Microsoft’). The Commission concluded that the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between two oil and gas exploration and production companies (Woodside / BHP Petroleum) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Woodside’s proposed acquisition of BHP Petroleum not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose Woodside Petroleum Limited’s (ASX: WPL) proposed acquisition of BHP Petroleum International Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP (ASX: BHP). Woodside and BHP Petroleum supply domestic natural gas in (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds in Phase II investigation that the proposed purchase of a multinational conglomerate’s passive UK telecoms infrastructure assets by the largest national independent telecommunications infrastructure supplier would harm competition by removing the possibility for a third infrastructure supplier to emerge (Cellnex / CK Hutchison) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
UK telecoms tower merger risks higher mobile costs* The CMA has provisionally found  Cellnex’s proposed purchase of CK Hutchison’s telecoms towers would harm competition. Cellnex is an independent supplier of telecommunications infrastructure, currently active across several European countries. (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between a major US online retail platform with audiovisual content and a Hollywood film production company (Amazon / MGM) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of MGM by Amazon, after an investigation that concluded the transaction was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any market in Australia. Amazon operates a range of businesses in (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the acquisition of the three main dealership networks for leisure accommodation vehicles, subject to the sale of two dealerships by the acquiring group to resolve the identified competition-related concerns (Trigano / SLC / CLC / GLA) New
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Subject to conditions, the Autorité clears the acquisition of the three main dealership networks for leisure accommodation vehicles by the Trigano group* Following the transaction, the Trigano group will become the leading integrated player in the distribution of leisure accommodation vehicles (...)

The EU Commission approves the merger between two companies in the water and waste management sectors, subject to conditions (Veolia / Suez) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of Suez by Veolia, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Suez by Veolia. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by Veolia. (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between an airline investment consortium and a national airport (Sydney Aviation Alliance / Sydney Airport) New
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Sydney Aviation Alliance’s proposed acquisition of Sydney Airport not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose Sydney Aviation Alliance’s proposed acquisition of Sydney Airport (ASX: SYD). Sydney Aviation Alliance is a consortium of investment funds which each have investments in a range of (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two one-stop property search service providers could reduce competition (Dye & Durham / TM) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Dye & Durham’s purchase of TM Group could reduce competition* The CMA has found that Dye & Durham’s purchase of TM Group raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation. Dye & Durham and TM Group both provide a one-stop property search service to (...)

The German Competition Authority considers the acquisition of a CRM platform by a social media platform to be subject to notification (Meta / Kustomer) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt considers Meta/Kustomer merger to be subject to notification* Meta Platforms Inc., Menlo Park/USA (formerly Facebook, Inc.) has announced that it intends to acquire the company Kustomer Inc. Kustomer is a company based in New York (USA) which offers its business customers a (...)

The German Competition Authority receives withdrawal from proposed joint venture in scrap recycling sector due to competition concerns (TSR Recycling / Lünen / Rhein-Main Rohstoffe) New
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Withdrawal of merger notification in scrap recycling sector due to competition concerns* The companies TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG, Lünen, and Rhein-Main Rohstoffe GmbH, Frankfurt, withdrew their notification of the formation of a joint venture on 8 December 2021. The Bundeskartellamt had (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that the merger of 2 companies in the supply of several waste and water management services could lead to a loss of competition (Veolia / Suez) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds Veolia / Suez merger raises competition concerns* Veolia and Suez are two of the largest suppliers of waste management services to councils and businesses in the UK and global leaders in the sector. The transaction is being reviewed by a number of competition authorities globally. (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two waste management companies raises competition concerns (Veolia / Suez) New
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA finds Veolia / Suez merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that the merger of Veolia and Suez could lead to a loss of competition in the supply of several waste and water management services in the UK. Veolia and Suez are two of the largest suppliers of waste management (...)

The Saudi Arabian Competition Authority announces, following the adoption of the new Merger Review Guidelines, that it has blocked its first deal between two online food-delivery services due to their failure to provide sufficient information to enable the evaluation of the proposed acquisition (Delivery Hero / The Chefz)
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition (the “GAC”) has been ramping up its merger control activities and recently—at least initially—blocked its first transaction, signaling plans for more active merger enforcement. Although Saudi Arabia’s current merger control regime is (...)

The US FTC issues a statement following the termination of a proposed merger which would have combined two close retail competitors selling hunting, shooting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor gear (Great Outdoors / Sportsman’s Warehouse)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Expected Federal Trade Commission Opposition to Transaction Leads Great Outdoors Group, LLC and Rival Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, Inc. to Abandon Plans for Proposed Merger* Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova issued the following statement regarding the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the proposed merger between a national meat and food processing company and an agri-food producer (JBS / Rivalea)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
JBS’ proposed acquisition of Rivalea not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose JBS Australia Pty Ltd’s (JBS) proposed acquisition of Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd and Oxdale Dairy Enterprise Pty Ltd (together, Rivalea) finding that the transaction is not likely to substantially lessen competition. JBS (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two hazardous waste disposal companies, subject to conditions (K+S / REMEX)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Joint venture between K+S and REMEX for disposal of hazardous waste cleared only after implementation of extensive offsetting measures* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the formation of the joint venture REKS GmbH & Co. KG by Kali und Salz Minerals and Agriculture GmbH and REMEX GmbH, a (...)

The US FTC sues to block a $40 billion merger between a chip supplier and a chip design provider (Nvidia / Arm)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Sues to Block $40 Billion Semiconductor Chip Merger* Vertical deal between chip supplier Nvidia and chip design provider Arm would allow combined firm to stifle competing next-generation technologies The Federal Trade Commission today sued to block U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp.’s $40 (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority challenges the merger between two waste management companies due to potential price increase and reduction of quality of service for consumers (GFL / Terrapure)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau challenges GFL’s acquisition of industrial waste management and environmental services company Terrapure* To protect competition for customers of industrial waste services (IWS) and oil recycling services (ORS) in Western Canada, the Competition Bureau is challenging GFL (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority clears a merger in the healthcare sector on condition that part of the healthcare business in the cities and districts of Kaunas and Šiauliai is sold (InMedica / INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund / Litgaja / RP Pharma) New
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Merger in healthcare sector cleared subject to commitments* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba has cleared the acquisition of joint control of InMedica and, indirectly, MediCA klinika, Kardiolita, Bendrosios medicinos praktika and Svalbono klinika by the investment fund (...)

The US FTC and DoJ, which rejected the legitimacy of the "portfolio effects" doctrine over 20 years ago, could revisit their opinion over the acquisition of a brewery by a Japanese beverages company (Bell’s Brewery / Kirin)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Bell’s Brewery Sale May Tap Into Longstanding Portfolio Effects Debate* The announced acquisition of Bell’s Brewery by Japanese conglomerate Kirin provides an opportunity to reexamine the much-maligned “portfolio effects” doctrine of merger analysis. Bell’s, the Michigan-based craft brewer of (...)

The Italian Government approves a draft annual law for competition aligning national merger control rules to EU standards and extending the scope of the Competition Authority’s enforcement powers New
White & Case (Milan)
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White & Case (London)
,
White & Case (Milan)
After several delays, on November 4, 2021, the Italian Council of Ministers examined and finally approved the draft Annual Law for Competition ("Draft") pursuant to Article 47 of Law No. 99/2009. The Draft reflects most of the proposals sent to the Italian government by the Italian Competition (...)

The US FTC votes 3-2 to enact a major policy change relevant to every party involved in settling a merger investigation after signaling its intent to bring back an old practice of mandatory prior approval and notice provisions in consent orders earlier this year New
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
On October 25, 2021, a deeply divided FTC voted 3-2 to enact a major policy change relevant to every party involved in settling a merger investigation with the FTC. Earlier this year, the FTC signaled its intent to bring back an old practice of mandatory prior approval and notice provisions in (...)

The Thai Competition Authority confirms its interpretation of a "merger" in its recent decision New
Baker McKenzie (Bangkok)
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Baker McKenzie (Bangkok)
The Office of Trade Competition Commission ("OTCC") makes it clear that an acquisition of shares of a non-listed company resulting in less than a majority shareholding does not constitute a notifiable merger under Thai competition law. The transaction in the recent OTCC decision involved an (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf overturns the Competition authority’s decision to clear a joint venture between a telecommunications company and a regional utility provider (Telekom Deutschland / EWE) New
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
Last week the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf overturned a decision adopted by the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) clearing a JV between Telekom Deutschland and EWE, a regional utility company. The JV partners were looking to cooperate in the development of fibre-optic networks in parts (...)

The Vietnamese Competition Authority reports that 125 merger control notifications have been submitted since the law took effect in 2019 New
Baker McKenzie (Hô Chi Minh-Ville)
The Vietnam Competition and Consumer Authority ("VCCA") reports that 125 merger control notifications, most of which related to real estate, have been submitted since the law took effect in 2019. In particular, in July 2019 to July 2021: Approximately 10% of deals submitted were subject to (...)

The Malaysian Aviation Commission approves a proposed merger between two airline companies and issues its final decision (Korean Airlines / Asiana Airlines) New
Wong Partners (Baker McKenzie Kuala Lumpur)
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Wong Partners (Baker McKenzie Kuala Lumpur)
MAVCOM issues Malaysia’s first merger clearance decision The Malaysian Aviation Commission ("MAVCOM") took into account the failing firm defence for the first time in approving the proposed merger between Korean Air and Asiana Airlines ("Anticipated Merger"), and issued its final decision on (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces significant proposed reforms to national merger laws New
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Sydney)
The reforms, if ultimately implemented, would represent a fundamental shift in the way mergers are reviewed in Australia What you need to know The ACCC has today announced significant proposed reforms to Australia’s merger laws, saying the current regime is "not fit for purpose". The proposed (...)

The Australian Competition Authority sets the stage for debate on changes to merger control laws New
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
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Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
ACCC sets the stage for debate on changes to merger control laws The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has argued for sweeping reforms to impose significantly higher barriers to proposed mergers. Rod Sims, the Chair of the ACCC, announced the proposals during his (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines a funeral services company for gun-jumping (Albia / Tanatorios Mostoles) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Albia Gestión de Servicios, S.L.U. (Albia) failed to comply with the obligation to notify and get clearance from the CNMC prior to the acquisition of the funeral home Tanatorios Móstoles, S.L. before implementing the merger in 2019. Like most gun-jumping cases prosecuted in Spain, the (...)

The Japanese FTC publishes its annual mergers report which reveals its active enforcement and continued focus on digital markets New
Baker McKenzie (Tokyo)
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Baker McKenzie (Tokyo)
The latest FY2020 report shows active merger enforcement by the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC"), despite a decline in filings in a year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably: 266 merger control filings were submitted, a decrease of 14% as compared to the previous year (310 filings for (...)

The EU Commission concludes that the merger of a financial trading platform and a financial data provider will lead to an incentive to raise rival costs due to its dominance on the market if conditions are not met (Refinitiv / London Stock Exchange Group) New
CRA International (London)
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CRA International (Chicago)
,
CRA International (London)
LSEG/Refinitiv: Modelling of efficiencies in non-horizontal mergers* The Commission’s non-horizontal merger guidelines acknowledge that vertical mergers provide substantial scope for efficiencies but also outline an efficiencies assessment based on the framework developed in horizontal merger (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission invites comments on a proposed revision of guidelines on State aid for railway companies New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites comments on proposed revision of Guidelines on State aid for railway companies* The European Commission has launched today a public consultation on EU Survey inviting all interested parties to comment on a proposed revision of the 2008 Guidelines on State aid for (...)

The EU Commission approves a €57.4 million restructuring aid to Croatian mechanical engineering company (Ðuro Ðaković) New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €57.4 million restructuring aid to Croatian mechanical engineering company Ðuro Ðaković* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Croatia’s plans to grant mechanical engineering company Ðuro Ðaković d.d. (‘Đuro Đaković) restructuring aid to the for (...)

The EU Commission approves a €88 million German support to compensate a national railway company for damages suffered by its subsidiary due to the COVID-19 outbreak (Deutsche Bahn / DB Cargo) New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €88 million German support to compensate Deutsche Bahn for damages suffered by its subsidiary DB Cargo due to the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has found a €88 million German support measure in favour of Deutsche Bahn AG to be in line with EU State (...)

The EU Commission approves €71.4 million Portuguese measure to further compensate an airline company for damages suffered due to COVID-19 pandemic (TAP Air Portugal) New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €71.4 million Portuguese measure to further compensate TAP Air Portugal for damages suffered due to coronavirus pandemic* Today, the European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €71.4 million Portuguese aid measure to further support TAP Air (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of a Norwegian compensation scheme for cancelled and downscaled cultural events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation to Norwegian compensation scheme for cancelled and downscaled cultural events* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of a Norwegian scheme providing compensation for losses related to cancelled or downscaled (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a revised Norwegian scheme for regionally differentiated social security contributions New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves revised Norwegian scheme for regionally differentiated social security contributions* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a revised Norwegian scheme under which employers in very sparsely populated areas pay reduced social security contributions. The measure (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the renewal of a Norwegian loan guarantee scheme for businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves renewal of Norwegian loan guarantee scheme for businesses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the renewal of a Norwegian loan guarantee scheme that will help ensure access to finance for businesses facing acute liquidity shortages due to (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Priit Pikamäe suggests the Court annul the Commission’s decision declaring an aid granted as being incompatible with the internal market (Fiat) New
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Tax ruling: Advocate General Priit Pikamäe proposes that the Court allow the appeal brought by Ireland and annul the Commission’s decision declaring aid which Luxembourg granted to Fiat as being incompatible with the internal market* He proposes, however, that the appeal brought separately by (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Bulgaria New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Bulgaria* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Bulgaria’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 (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts revised State aid guidelines to promote risk finance investments and on short-term export credit insurance New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA adopts revised state aid guidelines on state aid to promote risk finance investments and on short-term export credit insurance* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has adopted two sets of revised guidelines in the field of state aid: one on the promotion of risk finance investments and (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Sweden New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Sweden* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Sweden’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 approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Germany New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Germany* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Germany’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 approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Latvia New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Latvia* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Latvia’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 approves a €150 million Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support the deployment of passive infrastructure for mobile networks New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €150 million Spanish scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support deployment of passive infrastructure for mobile networks* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €150 million Spanish scheme made available through the Recovery (...)

The EU Commission approves Greek public funding of around €217 million for the construction of the new section of the Olympia Odos Motorway New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Greek support for the construction of Patra-Pyrgos section of Olympia Odos Motorway* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Greek public funding of around €217 million for the construction of the Patra-Pyrgos section of the Olympia Odos (...)

The EU Commission approves €610 million voucher scheme to help small and medium enterprises access high-speed broadband services in Italy New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €610 million voucher scheme to support access to high-speed broadband services by small and medium enterprises in Italy* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €610 million Italian voucher scheme to help small and medium enterprises (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts revised State aid guidelines for important projects of common European interest New
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA adopts revised state aid guidelines for important projects of common European interest* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today adopted guidelines corresponding to the European Commission’s revised communication on important projects of common European interest (the IPCEI (...)

The EU Commission approves a €783 million Croatian scheme to support production of electricity from renewable energy sources New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €783 million Croatian scheme to support production of electricity from renewable energy sources* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Croatian aid scheme to support electricity production from renewable sources. The measure will help (...)

The EU Commission approves a €3 billion scheme under the Spanish "Recovery and Resilience Plan" to support research, development, innovation, environmental protection and energy efficiency in automotive value chain New
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €3 billion scheme under the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan to support research, development, innovation, environmental protection and energy efficiency in automotive value chain* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €3 billion (...)

The EU Commission approves a €133 million Swedish scheme to support rail freight and passenger operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic New Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €133 million Swedish scheme to support rail freight and passenger operators affected by the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €133 million (SEK 1,370 million) Swedish scheme to support the rail freight sector (...)

The EU Commission adopts a new version of its Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments
European Investment Fund (Luxembourg)
1. Background: consistency with respect to SMEs access to finance support The European Commission (EC) adopted a new version of the Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments (RFG 2022) on 6 December 2021, which will apply as of 1 January 2022. The background is significant, (...)

The EU Commission approves a 2022-2027 regional aid map for Italy
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Italy* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Italy’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 RAG, (...)

The EU General Court rejects an appeal by a recipient of illegal aid who requested that the Commission declare the aid compatible with the internal market even though the member state concerned had failed to notify the Commission (Solar Electric) New
Maastricht University
Illegal Aid Cannot be Regularised a Posteriori* A Commission decision finding non-notified aid to be compatible with the internal market cannot remedy the illegality that existed before the Commission decision. Introduction In November 2021, the General Court rejected an appeal by the (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority issues its first recovery order since the enactment of the Serbian State Aid Control Act (Geox) New
BDK (Belgrade)
The first recovery order since the enactment of the Serbian State Aid Control Act was issued on 1 November 2021. It directs the Ministry of Finance to recover from the Serbian subsidiary of the Italian shoe-maker Geox a total of approximately RSD 414 million (approx. EUR 3.5 million), with (...)

The EU Commission launches an in-depth investigation to assess whether the payment of an ICSID arbitral award in favor of Luxembourg and Dutch investors complies with EU rules on State aid (Antin) New
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
Key Takeaways International investment protection is based on treaty obligations between sovereign states. State parties to those treaties enter into international obligations with one another for the protection of foreign investors and their investments—including the obligation to submit to (...)

The EU General Court examines a system of levies on electricity consumers and concludes that it is likely to infringe fundamental provisions of the EU Treaty (Achema / Lifosa) New
Maastricht University
State Aid Measures May not be Funded through Discriminatory Taxes* Introduction Member States finance the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources [RES] with revenue they raise through levies or charges on consumers of electricity. On 14 April 2021, the General Court in (...)

Procedures

The US State of Delaware Chancery Court authorizes class-action claims of breach of fiduciary duty to proceed against a SPAC’s controlling shareholder and directors (Churchill Capital Corp. III / MultiPlan) New
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
In one of the first opinions addressing fiduciary duty claims in the context of a transaction involving a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), the Delaware Court of Chancery determined that the SPAC shareholders’ right to redeem can be undermined by insufficient disclosures regarding the (...)

The US DoJ files a civil antitrust lawsuit against a restaurant chain owner and investment fund operator for violating the pre-transaction notification and waiting-period requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (Biglari) New
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Biglari Holdings Inc. to Pay Civil Penalty for Repeat Violation of Antitrust Pre-Transaction Notification Requirements* The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirmes that follow-on damages actions can be brought against subsidiaries of companies found to have infringed EU competition law (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España) New
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 6 October 2021, a preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in Sumal confirmed that follow-on damages actions can be brought against subsidiaries of companies found to have infringed EU competition law. This note briefly analyzes the judgment and the (...)

The Indonesian Supreme Court issues new rules for appeal hearings of decisions of the Competition Authority at the Commercial Court New
Baker McKenzie (Jakarta)
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Baker McKenzie (Jakarta)
A new regulation extending trials to a minimum of three months may help facilitate a more thorough appeals process. On 16 September 2021, the Indonesian Supreme Court ("ISC") issued new procedural rules for the appeal of decisions of the Indonesian Competition Commission ("ICC") at the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturns on comity grounds a multi-million dollar price-fixing judgment against two Chinese exporters of Vitamin C (Animal Science Products / Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical) New
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
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Jones Day (London)
In Short The Situation: For a second time, the Second Circuit reversed on international comity grounds, due to a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law, a $148 million price-fixing judgment against two Chinese exporters of Vitamin C. The Result: Although arising in the antitrust context, (...)

The Milan Court of Appeal rules on the probatory value of the Competition Authority’s findings in follow-on actions for damages (Vodafone) New
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 June 2021, the Court of Appeal of Milan issued a judgment in a damages action initiated against telecommunications provider Vodafone. This case stemmed from an investigation carried out by the Italian competition authority (“ICA”) into an abusive margin squeeze by Vodafone on the market for (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Authority updates its guidance as the National Security and Investment Act enters into force New
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The UK’s new National Security and Investment Act (“NSIA”) entered into force on January 4, 2022. The NSIA marks a considerable change in the UK’s investment screening powers and adds to an increasingly complex European and global landscape of investment regulation (or FDI) filings necessary for (...)

The UK Government publishes an open letter to businesses providing more clarity on its upcoming national security and investment regime New
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 20 December 2021, the UK government published an open letter to businesses providing more clarity on its upcoming national security and investment regime. The new legal framework, which the UK government calls “the biggest shake-up in 20 years of the UK’s system for screening investments”, (...)

The Italian Government approves the draft annual law for competition New
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
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White & Case (Milan)
After several delays, on November 4, 2021, the Italian Council of Ministers examined and finally approved the draft Annual Law for Competition ("Draft") pursuant to Article 47 of Law No. 99/2009. The Draft reflects most of the proposals sent to the Italian government by the Italian Competition (...)

The Swiss Parliament approves a counterproposal to the fair-price-initiative, which includes almost all amendments requested by the initiative New
Schellenberg Wittmer (Zurich)
Switzerland: Successful Fair-Price Initiative introduces new rules on relative market power* In 2016, a public initiative was launched in Switzerland, requesting amendments to the Cartel Act in order to enforce non-discriminatory procurement of goods and services abroad by Swiss purchasers. (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order affirming his administration’s policy of enforcing the antitrust laws to “combat the excessive consolidation of industry” and encourages enforcers to address hospital consolidation New
McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
INTRODUCTION President Biden recently issued an executive order affirming his administration’s policy of enforcing the antitrust laws to “combat the excessive consolidation of industry” and cited healthcare markets as one of several priorities. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US (...)

The US FTC signals important changes from prior agency policy, paving the way for expanded antitrust enforcement and regulation New
Jones Day (Washington)
In Short The Situation: The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), which now has a 3-2 Democrat majority, held its first Commission meeting since President Biden appointed a new Chair, Lina M. Khan. The Commissioners voted on a number of measures that signal important changes from prior agency (...)

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