July 2022

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority publishes update in music and streaming market study
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On 26 July the CMA published an Update Paper in its music and streaming market study (launched 27 January). The Update Paper sets out the CMA’s preliminary findings halfway through its study into how well competition works in music streaming. This comes further to a call from the Department for (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its Guidance for the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
Long awaited developments over the summer provided some appreciable clarity on the refreshed UK distribution regime (following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU). In particular, pursuant to a consultation process that ran almost in parallel to the equivalent EU process, and also adopting the same (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a discussion paper and accompanying evidence review on "online choice architecture”
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
Introduction The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published a Discussion Paper and accompanying Evidence Review on “Online Choice Architecture” (OCA). This provides a helpful overview of the CMA’s approach to analysing choice architecture, recognising that some practices (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Austrian Competition Authority applies to the Cartel Court to review its ruling on a recent construction cartel following new evidence which may vitiate the award of leniency (STRABAG)
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Construction cartel: AFCA applies for review of STRABAG decision by Cartel Court* By decision of 21.10.2021 (27 Kt 12/21y), the Cartel Court imposed a fine of EUR 45.37 million on two companies of the STRABAG Group (STRABAG) for infringement of section 1 (1) of the Austrian Cartel Act (KartG) (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority opens unannounced inspection into companies active in the importation and distribution of breast pumps and breast pump accessories
Hellenic Competition Commission (Athens)
Unannounced inspections in companies active in the import and distribution of breast pumps and breast pump accessories* Subject: Unannounced inspections of the Hellenic Competition Commission in companies active in the import and distribution of breast pumps and breast pump accessories Today, (...)

The US DOJ files a lawsuit alleging that the tournament system of determining the pay for poultry processors constitutes an abusive exchange of information (Cargill / Jonathan Meng / Sanderson Farms / Wayne Farms)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Justice Department Files Lawsuit and Proposed Consent Decrees to End Long-Running Conspiracy to Suppress Worker Pay at Poultry Processing Plants and Address Deceptive Abuses Against Poultry Growers* Decree Provisions Would Stop the Exchange of Compensation Information, Ban President of Data (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines ferry companies operating on the Igoumenitsa-Lefkimmi ferry connection (Lefkimmi Lines / Macedonia IV / Sarris Kerkyraikes Grammes)
Hellenic Competition Commission (Athens)
Fine to the companies of the ferry connection Igoumenitsa - Lefkimmi Corfu* Subject: HCC no. 793/2022 Decision on the ex officio investigation of the General Directorate of Competition in the ferry connection Igoumenitsa - Lefkimmi in accordance with article 29A of Law 3959/2011 and HCC (...)

The Polish Competition Authority carries out a tender collusion investigation against 8 entrepreneurs in the public transportation sector
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Tender collusion? Investigation and searches* Is the provision of public transport bus services in Silesia in breach of competition law? The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny, opened an investigation into the case, and the Office’s employees, after (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority welcomes the Competition Tribunal’s judgement which orders price fixers in the travel industry to pay substantial fines, even after leniency reductions (Gray Line / Tak How / Wu)
Hong Kong Competition Commission (Hong Kong)
Competition Commission welcomes Tribunal’s orders on travel services sector price-fixing case* The Competition Commission (“Commission”) welcomes the orders granted by the Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) in proceedings concerning price-fixing in relation to the sales of tickets to tourist (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott proposes that the Court should set aside the ruling of the General Court and declare that the pay-for-delay agreements concluded by a pharmaceutical firm constituted an abuse of dominance (Servier)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Marketing of perindopril: Advocate General Kokott proposes that the Court of Justice should rule that all agreements concluded by the Servier group with generic pharmaceutical companies constituted restrictions of competition by object and that it should set aside the General Court’s findings (...)

The US DoJ fines a military contractor for bid rigging in Texas and Michigan (Leveritt)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Military Contractor Pleads Guilty to Rigging Bids for Public Contracts in Texas and Michigan* A Texas military contractor pleaded guilty yesterday to rigging bids on public military contracts in Texas and Michigan. Yesterday, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority allows two broadband providers to amend cooperation agreements to accelerate broadband rollout following a restructuring of one of the firms (Telstra / NBN)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Proposal to allow Telstra and NBN Co to amend broadband agreements* The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to authorise Telstra and NBN Co and their related entities to amend agreements that they entered into from 2011 and 2014 which facilitated the rollout of the national (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sanctions bid-rigging cartel in the security sector
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions bid-rigging cartel in the security sector* The decision The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) sanctioned a bid-rigging cartel active in the provision of surveillance and security services in public tenders. The cartel involved the 2045 Group, Comansegur, Grupo 8, Prestibel, (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority eliminates price fixing by audio equipment dealers (Yamaha)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH eliminated price fixing by audio equipment dealers* 12 July 2022, Budapest – The GVH has imposed a fine of around HUF 100 million on several domestic and one Slovakian audio equipment retailer for price fixing. The investigation has revealed that Yamaha, one of the most diversified (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments from three mobile phone operators on Czech network sharing (T-Mobile / CETIN / O2)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments from T-Mobile CZ, CETIN and O2 CZ on Czech network sharing* The European Commission has made commitments offered by T-Mobile CZ, CETIN and O2 CZ, as well as their parent companies Deutsche Telekom and PPF Group, legally binding under EU antitrust (...)

The Australian Competition Authority gives the go ahead to agreements between an airline and its partners allowing the partners to set flight prices which the airline then sells on their behalf (Virgin Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC proposes to authorise Virgin Australia’s codeshare arrangements* The ACCC has issued a draft determination, proposing to grant authorisation for Virgin Australia to enter into codeshare pricing arrangements with its international airline partners for 5 years. Under the arrangements, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority opens an investigation into whether antitrust laws were breached when distributors and producers of animal feed cooperated (Empire Brands)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Animal feed market - actions of the President of UOKiK* Did dog and cat food producer Empire Brands break the antitrust law? Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, launched a preliminary investigation in the case and the Office staff conducted a search at the company’s registered office. The (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority investigates public tender procedures for the acquisition of electoral material and documentation
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece investigates public tender procedures for the acquisition of electoral material and documentation* The Investigative Authority has indications of the possible realization of conducts that might constitute absolute monopolistic practices, such as the manipulation of prices, restriction of (...)

The EU Commission sends a Statement of Objections to two ethanol producers over alleged benchmarking cartel (Alcogroup / Agroetanol)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Alcogroup and Agroetanol over alleged ethanol benchmarks cartel* The European Commission has informed Alcogroup S.A. and its subsidiary Alcodis S.A. (together ‘Alcogroup’) as well as Lantmännen ek för and its subsidiary Lantmännen Agroetanol (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines construction companies €203.6M for altering the competitive process in infrastructure construction tenders for more than 25 years (Acciona Construcción / Dragados / FCC Construcción / Ferrovial Construcción / Obrascón Huarte Lain / Sacyr Construcción)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC has fined 6 of the main construction companies in Spain 203.6 million euros for altering the competitive process in infrastructure construction tenders for more than 25 years The sanctioned companies are: Acciona Construcción S.A., Dragados S.A., FCC Construcción, Ferrovial Construcción, (...)

The US District Court for the District of Denver acquits five executives in the chicken rearing industry in a price fixing and bid rigging cartel case (Jayson Jeffrey Penn / Roger Born Austin / William Wade Lovette / Mikell Reeve Fries / Scott James Brady)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On July 7, 2022, a federal jury in Denver acquitted five executives who faced criminal charges for conspiring to fix prices in the chicken industry. The not-guilty verdict, which acquitted current and former executives of top chicken producers Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry Farms, provides (...)

The EU Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the online food delivery sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the online food delivery sector* The European Commission carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the online ordering and delivery of food, groceries and other consumer goods in two Member States. The (...)

The German Competition Authority green-lights planned automated driving development cooperation between two automobile competitors (Volkswagen / Bosch)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt greenlights start of automated driving development cooperation between VW and Bosch* The Bundeskartellamt will not initiate a proceeding against a planned development cooperation between Robert Bosch GmbH and Volkswagen AG to advance automated driving. Andreas Mundt, (...)

The Danish Competition Authority adopts a decision concerning market sharing between members of an association of undertakings in the market for home textiles (Boligtextilbranchens Indkøbsservice)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council has adopted a decision concerning market sharing between members of an association of undertakings* On June 22 2022 the Danish Competition Council (DCC) adopted a decision concerning Boligtextilbranchens Indkøbsservice A.M.B.A. (Botex). In the decision, it is (...)

The Australian Competition Authority green-lights temporary cooperation in the energy industry to address the crisis caused by the Russo-Ukrainian war
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Interim authorisation for energy industry co-operation to address crisis* The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for a range of measures allowing participants in the gas and electricity markets to work together to support Australia’s energy supply and systems during the current crisis. An (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sanctions hospitals and respective association for concerted behaviour (Portuguese Private Hospitals Association / Grupo Trofa Saúde / Hospital Privado da Trofa / Trofa Group / Hospital Particular do Algarve...)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions hospitals and respective association for concerted behavior* The decision The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) sanctioned the Portuguese Private Hospitals Association (APHP), G.T.S - Grupo Trofa Saúde, SGPS, S.A. and Hospital Privado da Trofa, S.A. (jointly, the Trofa (...)

Unilateral Practices

The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upholds a District Court decision to dismiss a case alleging exclusionary practices on the grounds that consumer welfare is unaffected and demonstrable intention to exclude in some situations is legitimate (Sanofi-Aventis / Mylan) New
Hausfeld (Philadelphia)
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Hausfeld (San Francisco)
On July 29, 2022, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to defendants by the District of Kansas in an important, albeit at times misguided, monopolization opinion. The antitrust claim by Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC against Mylan, Inc. and Mylan Specialty, LP, arose from (...)

The Israeli Competition Authority fines an importer of power tools for setting a minimum resale price (Argentools)
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
NIS 5.5 Million imposed on the Israeli Importer of the Power Tools brand Makita, for setting a Minimum Resale Price* Administrative fines, in the sum of approximately NIS 250,000-320,000 were also imposed on three senior executives in the company A few days ago, the Director General of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority accuses a corporate group of abusing its dominant position in the payments sector
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC accused a corporate group of abusing its dominant position in the payments sector* The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, AdC) issued a Statement of Objections against a corporate group for tying behavior which may restrict competition and innovation in the (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines two pharmaceutical firms €70M for charging excessive prices to the National Health Service (Pfizer / Flynn)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week fined pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Flynn £63 million and £6.7 million for engaging in excessive pricing. In the CMA’s view, the companies charged unfairly high prices for Phenytoin capsules, a genericised anti-epilepsy drug, in (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines two pharma companies £70M for overcharging the National Health Service (Pfizer / Flynn)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
£70 million in fines for pharma firms that overcharged NHS* After reassessing part of the case, the CMA has found that Pfizer and Flynn abused their dominant positions to overcharge the NHS for a life-saving epilepsy drug. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Flynn fined £63 million and £6.7 (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts an antitrust investigation against the incumbent operator for abuse of dominance in the markets for regional and intercity rail links (Trenitalia)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
The facts of the case In the High Speed and Regional Rail Transport case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has decided to open an Article 102 TFEU enquiry against Trenitalia Spa (TI). In addition to being a high-speed (HS) train operator in competition with Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (...)

The EU Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by an online retail platform concerning marketplace seller data and access to certain features (Amazon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Amazon concerning marketplace seller data and access to Buy Box and Prime* The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Amazon to address competition concerns over its use of non-public marketplace seller data (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens investigation against a Big Tech for abuse of dominant position in data portability (Google)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
A552 - Italian Competition Authority, investigation opened against Google for abuse of dominant position in data portability* According to the Italian Competition Authority, Google allegedly hindered interoperability in sharing individuals’ data with other platforms, and particularly with the (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates a Big Tech company’s online marketplace over suspected anti-competitive practices (Amazon)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA investigates Amazon over suspected anti-competitive practices* The CMA is investigating Amazon over concerns that practices affecting sellers on its UK Marketplace may be anti-competitive and could result in a worse deal for customers. This new investigation follows a current European (...)

The German Competition Authority declares an online marketplace platform to be of ’paramount significance for competition across markets, subjecting the undertaking to stricter regulation (Amazon)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Amazon now subject to stricter regulations – Bundeskartellamt determines its paramount significance for competition across markets (Section 19a GWB)* Yesterday, the Bundeskartellamt formally determined that Amazon.com, Inc. based in Seattle, USA, is an undertaking of paramount significance for (...)

Mergers

The New Zealand Competition Authority clears the acquisition of six building product shops and a manufacturing plant by a large supplier of building products (Fletcher Distribution / Tumu)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Fletcher Distribution cleared to acquire Tumu stores and a frame and truss plant* The Commission has granted clearance for Fletcher Distribution Limited (FDL), (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fletcher Building Limited that operates the national network of Placemakers stores), to acquire six (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority receives notice of a concentration concerning the merger between two Spanish hospitality companies (Internet Tourism Solutions / Hoist Group Spain)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition has received a notification of a concentration concerning the proposed acquisition of the share capital of Internet Tourism Solutions, S.L. by Hoist Group Spain, S.A.U.. Hoist Group Spain, S.A.U. is a company duly registered in (...)

The EU Commission opens in-depth investigation into a proposed acquisition of two suppliers of retail fixed and mobile telecommunication services by a large French telecommunications company (VOO / Brutélé / Orange)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of VOO and Brutélé by Orange* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of VOO and Brutélé by Orange under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that (...)

The US FTC seeks to block a Big Tech company’s acquisition of a popular virtual reality fitness app (Meta / Within)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Seeks to Block Virtual Reality Giant Meta’s Acquisition of Popular App Creator Within* Agency Alleges that Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are Attempting Illegal Acquisition to Expand Virtual Reality Empire The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block virtual reality giant Meta and its (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves takeover of a concrete manufacturing company by a cement production company (Romcim / Simbeton)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
THE COMPETITION COUNCIL APPROVED THE TAKING OVER OF SIMBETON BY ROMCIM* The Competition Council approved the transaction by which Romcim SA takes over Simbeton SRL. Romcim is a producer of cement, aggregates, concrete and different components of precast concrete. Romcim owns and operates two (...)

The Georgian Competition Authority initiates administrative proceedings over the implementation of a merger in the fuel market (Sun Petroleum Georgia)
Georgian Competition Authority (Georgia)
The National Competition Agency has started administrative proceedings regarding the concentration implemented in the fuel market* The National Competition Agency of Georgia has launched administrative proceedings regarding the concentration implemented by “Sun Petroleum Georgia” (Gulf) in the (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority receives notice of a concentration concerning the merger between two maritime companies (Fameline Technologies Group/ Mariapps Marine Solutions)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
Notification of a concentration concerning the acquisition of the share capital of Fameline Technologies Group Ltd by Mariapps Marine Solutions Cyprus Ltd* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition has received a notification of a concentration concerning the acquisition (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority receives notification of the merger between two marine engineering and technology companies (Ensign Holdco 1 / Lloyd’s Register)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
Notification of a concentration regarding the acquisition of the share capital of Ensign Holdco 1 Ltd by Lloyd’s Register Group Ltd* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that is has received a notification in relation with the acquisition of the share (...)

The Irish Competition Authority proposes to undertake a phase 2 investigation of a merger between two oil producers (East Cork Oil / Misty Lane Holdings)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC to carry out a Phase 2 investigation of East Cork Oil’s proposed acquisition of Misty Lane Holdings* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has decided to carry out a full Phase 2 investigation into the proposed acquisition by East Cork Oil Company Unlimited Company of (...)

The German Competition Authority signals that there are no competition concerns over a partial acquisition by an oil producer of a rival (Alcmene / PCK Raffinerie)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
No concerns under merger control law about Liwathon Group’s potential participation in PCK Raffinerie GmbH, Schwedt* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared plans by Alcmene GmbH, a member of the Liwathon Group, to acquire 37.5 per cent of the shares in PCK Raffinerie GmbH, Schwedt (PCK). (...)

The German Competition Authority approves the creation of a joint venture between three entities active in the defence industry, allowing for collaboration on a new weapons system (Airbus / German FCMS / MBDA Deutschland)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt approves creation of joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, German FCMS GbR and MBDA Deutschland GmbH* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the creation of a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, German FCMS GbR and MBDA Deutschland GmbH. For (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines two undertakings for gun jumping in three mergers (Santa Lucía / Funespaña)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC fines Albia Gestión de Servicios S.L.U. and Funespaña S.A. for failing to notify three mergers prior to their execution* Albia (a subsidiary of the Santa Lucía Group) acquired exclusive control of the funeral homes Funeraria Tanatorio La Paz S.L. and Tanatorio de Marín S.L. in 2019. (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears the acquisition of certain bank assets by a rival bank (Permanent TSB / Ulster Bank)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC clears Permanent TSB acquisition of certain Ulster Bank assets* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared the proposed acquisition of certain assets of Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (Ulster Bank) by Permanent TSB PLC (PTSB). These assets consist of Ulster Bank’s (...)

The EU Commission approves an acquisition of an engineering firm by a rival, subject to a divestment of the acquirer’s railway installation business (Bouygues / Equans)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Bouygues’ acquisition of Equans, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, Bouygues’ acquisition of Equans. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments offered by Bouygues. Executive (...)

The EU Commission issues a Statement of Objections to two American firms which concluded a merger in defiance of the standstill obligation potentially opening themselves up to substantial fines (Illumina / GRAIL)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Illumina and GRAIL breached EU merger rules by early implementation of their acquisition* The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections alleging that Illumina and GRAIL breached the EU Merger Regulation by implementing the acquisition while the (...)

The EU Commission continues to pursue "gun jumping" merger control proceedings against two pharmaceutical companies on EU merger control referral thresholds (Illumina / GRAIL)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 August 2021, the European Commission (the Commission ) said that it would investigate whether Illumina’s decision, made public on 18 August 2021, to acquire Grail pending the Commission’s review of that transaction under Regulation 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between (...)

The UK Competition Authority raises concerns over a merger between two bidders to provide the electricity supply to a large high speed railway (Bouygues / Equans)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
HS2 bidder merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that a merger between 2 businesses currently bidding for the installation of overhead power cables for HS2 could raise competition concerns. Bouygues and Equans (part of Engie Group) are both large and well-established players (...)

The UK Government clears the acquisition of a national aerospace company by an American motion control technology company subject to commitments to remedy national security concerns (Meggitt / Parker-Hannifin)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Update on the proposed acquisition of Meggitt plc by Parker-Hannifin Corporation* Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng updates on the proposed acquisition of Meggitt plc by Parker-Hannifin Corporation. Following advice from the Ministry of Defence and the Competition and Markets Authority and (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the takeover of an engineering firm by one of the largest construction companies in the country (Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau / ZECH Group)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears takeover of Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG by the ZECH Group* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the acquisition of Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG, Frankfurt am Main, (“Wayss & Freytag”) by ZECH Building SE, Erkrath, (“ZECH”), a member of the ZECH Group. (...)

The US FTC settles charges that an acquisition of a company that manufactures a rare injectable steroid would harm competition (Hikma Pharmaceuticals / Custopharm)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Preserving Competition for Development and Marketing of Steroid Injectable Drug* Unremedied, Acquisition could have Caused Significant Harm for Patients Who Use Triamcinolone Acetonide to Treat Severe Skin Conditions, Allergies, and Inflammation Following a public (...)

The Australian Competition Authority will not oppose the acquisition of a company that sells TV set-top-boxes by a broadband provider (Telstra / Fetch)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Telstra’s proposed acquisition of majority stake in Fetch TV not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of 51.4% of Media Innovations Holdings Pty Ltd (Fetch TV) by Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS). Telstra and Fetch TV both supply content aggregation services through (...)

The Australian Competition Authority greenlights the acquisition of a rail haulage firm operating in the coal transportation sector by a rival, subject to a divestment (Aurizon / One Rail)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Aurizon’s proposed acquisition of One Rail not opposed, subject to divestiture* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of One Rail by Aurizon (ASX: AZJ), after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking from Aurizon to divest One Rail’s east coast business. “Without the divestment of (...)

The EU General Court rules that the Commission has the power to review a merger despite the fact that the turnover thresholds have not been triggered (Illumina / GRAIL)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
In Illumina v Commission, the General Court has confirmed the authority of the European Commission (EC) under Article 22 EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) to examine a transaction that does not have a European dimension, but which is the subject of a referral request made by a Member State – even if (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s merger referral policy, thereby expanding the Commission’s jurisdiction over non-reportable transactions (Illumina / GRAIL)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
In a significant judgment rendered on July 13, 2022 (“Judgment”), the EU’s General Court validated the position taken by the European Commission (“EC”) in a March 2021 Guidance Paper encouraging national competition authorities (“NCAs”) to use Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”) to refer (...)

The EU General Court endorses the Commission’s revised approach to review transactions below EU and national merger thresholds via Article 22 EUMR referrals (Illumina / GRAIL)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
In its judgment of 13 July 2022 the General Court endorsed the EU Commission’s revised approach to Article 22 EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) referrals as set out in its March 2021 Guidance. The case relates to an appeal brought by Illumina against the Commission’s decision to accept the referral by (...)

The EU General Court declares that the Commission may review concentrations that do not meet the relevant threshold set out in Article 22 of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 provided that a Member State refers the merger to the Commission (Illumina / GRAIL) New
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The General Court (GC) has issued its judgment on case T-227/21 between Illumina, Inc., and the European Commission. This much awaited decision adjudicated on the issue of whether or not Article 22 of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004, on concentrations between undertakings (EUMR) empowers (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission may review a merger between two biotech companies despite the fact that EU and national turnover thresholds are not reached (Illumina / GRAIL)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Yesterday, the General Court of the European Union came down on the side of the European Commission (the Commission ) in that agency’s dispute with genomics firm Illumina and held that the Commission has jurisdiction to examine Illumina’s acquisition of cancer detection test start-up Grail, (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority publishes a preliminary report on its public consultation on the introduction of a national merger control regime
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 13 July 2022, the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy (the “Ministry”) published a preliminary report on its public consultation on the introduction of a merger control regime in Luxembourg (the “Report”). Background Merger control seeks to scrutinise concentrations of competitive power by (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority issues a Statement of Preliminary Issues over the proposed acquisition of a video game publisher by a Big Tech company (Microsoft / Activision Blizzard)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Statement of Preliminary Issues released for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard* The Commerce Commission has published a Statement of Preliminary Issues relating to the clearance application for Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) to acquire 100% of the shares in Activision Blizzard (...)

The EU General Court endorses the Commission’s new approach to Article 22 EUMR allowing the capture of mergers below the thresholds (Illumina / GRAIL)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
In a judgment dated 13 July 2022 (T-227/21), the General Court of the European Union (the “General Court” or the “Court”) upheld the decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) whereby the latter accepted to assert its (merger control) jurisdiction over the “below-the-thresholds” (...)

The US FTC and DOJ signal stronger approach to merger enforcement in public call for comments on merger guidelines
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
Key points U.S. antitrust regulators at the DOJ and FTC embarked on a joint review of merger enforcement by soliciting public input on modernizing federal merger guidelines. While public comments ran the gamut from pro-enforcement to pro-merger, some key voices, including a collection of state (...)

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy clears the proposed acquisition of a UK defence company by a US defence, aerospace, and communications company (Ultra Electronics Holdings / Cobham Ultra Acquisitions)
Department for Business, Energy and lndustrial Strategy (BEIS) (London)
Update on the proposed acquisition of Ultra Electronics Holdings plc by Cobham Ultra Acquisitions Limited* The acquisition of Ultra by Cobham has been cleared to proceed. Following advice from the Ministry of Defence and after careful consideration of responses to a consultation, the Business (...)

The US FTC approves final order requiring two enamel production companies to sell off three facilities amid concerns that the merger would increase concentration in North American market for porcelain enamel frit (Prince International / Ferro)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Prince International Corp. and Ferro Corp. to Sell Off Three Facilities amid Concerns that Deal would Increase Concentration in North American Market for Porcelain Enamel Frit* FTC also Acts to Preserve Competition in Markets for Forehearth Colorants and (...)

The UK Competition Authority raises concerns over the merger between two foam production companies (Carpenter / Recticel)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Foam merger raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that the merger of 2 firms that make foam used in products like bedding and cleaning sponges could lead to higher prices and less choice. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the loss of competition brought (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority consults on proposed divestments in a merger between two tourism companies (THL Group / Apollo)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission consults on proposed divestments in THL/Apollo merger* The Commerce Commission is consulting on a divestment proposal it has received from THL Group (Australia) Pty Ltd relating to its application seeking clearance to acquire 100% of the shares in Apollo Tourism & Leisure Ltd (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of a pharma firm and a personal care products producer by a conglomerate (Pavăl Holding / Farmacia Tei / Bebetei)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
THE COMPETITION COUNCIL APPROVED PAVĂL HOLDING’S ENTRY INTO THE SHAREHOLDING OF FARMACIA TEI* The Competition Council approved the transaction through which Pavăl Holding enters the shareholding of Farmacia Tei and Bebetei Investments Group. Pavăl Holding SRL bought 30% of the social capital of (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves an Italian scheme worth €2.9B to support companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2.9 billion Italian scheme to support companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €2.9 billion Italian scheme to support the liquidity needs of companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The scheme (...)

The EU Commission approves a German support scheme worth €215M to compensate the German national rail company for damages suffered by its subsidiaries due to the coronavirus pandemic (Deutsche Bahn) Free
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €215 million German support to compensate Deutsche Bahn for damages suffered by its subsidiaries due to the coronavirus pandemic* The European Commission has found a €215 million German support measure in favour of Deutsche Bahn AG to be in line with EU State aid (...)

The EU Commission clears financing of the Czech postal service on the grounds that it is a service of general economic interest (Czech Post)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission clears financing of Czech Post’s universal service obligation* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Czechia’s plans to compensate Czech Post for its universal postal service obligation over the period 2018-2022. Executive Vice-President Margrethe (...)

The EU Commission approves an Irish scheme worth €500M to support investment towards a sustainable recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic Free
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €500 million Irish scheme to support investment towards a sustainable recovery* The European Commission has approved a €500 million Irish investment support scheme aimed at incentivizing companies to accelerate or expand capital investment in Ireland, including in (...)

The EU Commission amends the Temporary Crisis Framework to support the economy in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission amends the Temporary Crisis Framework* Today, the European Commission adopted an amendment to the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, initially adopted on 23 March 2022 to support the economy in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Executive Vice-President (...)

The EU Commission approves an Italian scheme worth €700M to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €700 million Italian scheme to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €700 million Italian scheme to support companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the (...)

The EU Commission approves an Italian scheme worth €10B to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €10 billion Italian scheme to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €10 billion Italian loan guarantee scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The scheme (...)

The EU Commission approves €634M in compensation to the Belgian postal service to continue providing a service of general economic interest (bpost)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Belgian postal service compensation to bpost* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Belgium’s plans to compensate bpost for providing postal services of general economic interest between 2022 and 2026. Executive Vice-President Margrethe (...)

The EU Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Belgium
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves 2022-2027 regional aid map for Belgium* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules Belgium’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 up to €5.4B of State aid from 15 Member States for an Important Project of a Common European Interest in the hydrogen technology value chain
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State Aid: Commission approves up to €5.4 billion of public support by fifteen Member States for an Important Project of Common European Interest in the hydrogen technology value chain* The Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Important Project of Common European Interest (...)

The EU Commission approves a Finnish scheme worth €2B to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €2 billion Finnish scheme to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €2 billion Finnish loan and guarantee scheme to support small and medium enterprises (‘SMEs’) and large companies in the context of (...)

The EU Commission approves a Czech scheme worth €20.2M to support agricultural producers in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €20.2 million Czech scheme to support agricultural producers in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €20.2 million (CZK 500 million) Czech scheme to support primary agricultural producers in the context of Russia’s (...)

The EU Commission approves a German scheme worth €5B to support energy and trade-intensive companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €5 billion German scheme to support energy and trade intensive companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €5 billion German scheme to support energy and trade intensive companies across industrial sectors in the (...)

The EU Commission approves an Italian scheme worth €526.5M to support the road haulage sector in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €526.5 million Italian scheme to support the road haulage sector in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €526.5 million Italian scheme to support the road haulage sector in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (...)

The EU Commission approves a Dutch scheme to support the filling of the gas storage facility in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Bergermeer)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Dutch scheme to support the filling of the gas storage facility Bergermeer in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved an up to €406.4 million Dutch scheme to support the filling of the gas storage facility Bergermeer in the (...)

The EU Commission consults Member States on a proposal to amend the Temporary Crisis Framework which seeks to deal with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission consults Member States on proposal to amend Temporary Crisis Framework* The European Commission has sent to Member States for consultation a draft proposal to adjust the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, initially adopted on 23 March 2022 to support the economy in the (...)

The EU Commission approves an Italian scheme worth €1.2B under the Recovery and Resilience Facility to support investments in photovoltaic panels in the agricultural sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €1.2 billion Italian scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support investments in photovoltaic panels in agricultural sector* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €1.2 billion Italian scheme made available through the (...)

The EU Commission approves a Croatian scheme worth €500M to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €500 million Croatian scheme to support companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved an up to €500 million Croatian scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The scheme was (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority finds that aid to construct a football stadium did not breach EU State aid rules (Sandnes Ulf Arena)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA finds financial aid to Sandnes Ulf Arena in Norway to be in line with EEA state-aid rules* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today concluded that financial aid provided by the Municipality of Sandnes for the construction of Sandnes Ulf Arena is in line with EEA rules. ESA has (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority finds the financing of street lighting in Bergen incompatible with EU State aid rules (BKK Group)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA finds financing of streetlighting in Bergen incompatible with EEA state-aid rules* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today concluded that parts of financing granted for the running of streetlight infrastructure in Bergen do not comply with EEA state-aid rules. ESA in 2017 received (...)

The EU Commission proposes new rules to simplify procedures for State aid to green transport projects
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission proposes rules to simplify procedures for State aid to green transport* The European Commission has proposed a Council Regulation enabling the Commission to exempt from prior notification under EU State aid rules certain types of aid for rail, inland waterway and (...)

The EU Commission approves a Swedish scheme worth €154M to support livestock and greenhouse producers in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €154 million Swedish scheme to support livestock and greenhouse producers in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €154 million (SEK 1,635 million) Swedish scheme to support the livestock sector and the greenhouse production (...)

The EU Commission approves a French scheme worth €5B to support energy-intensive companies in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €5 billion French scheme to support energy intensive companies in context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine* The European Commission has approved a €5 billion French scheme to support energy intensive companies across sectors in the context of Russia’s invasion of (...)

Regulatory

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy prohibits the acquisition of British intellectual property by a Chinese Company (Beijing Infinite Vision Technology / University of Machester)
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
The UK Government this week prohibited the acquisition of intellectual property owned by the University of Manchester by a Chinese company – marking the first time the UK Government has exercised its powers to block a transaction under new national security rules. On 20 July 2022, the UK’s (...)

The UK Government publishes new market guidance notes in relation to the National Security and Investment Act
Clifford Chance (London)
,
Clifford Chance (London)
On 19 July 2022, the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy ("BEIS") published new market guidance notes in relation to the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (the "NSIA"). BEIS’ market guidance notes provide acquirers and their legal representatives with advice on (...)

The UK Parliament publishes market guidance for the implementation of the National Securities and Investment Act
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
The UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act entered into force on 4 January 2022, introducing a new standalone UK regime for the review of qualifying transactions and investments on national security grounds (see our detailed briefing on the regime here). On 19 July 2022, the UK (...)

The EU Council approves the final text of the Digital Markets Act following approval by the EU Parliament
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On July 18, the European Council approved the final text of the DMA, marking the final step before the DMA enters into force. This followed the European Parliament approving, on July 5, the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), by 588 votes to 11. The DMA is likely to enter the EU’s (...)

The UK Competition Authority provides its guidance for the newly finalised framework for vertical agreements
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On July 12, the CMA published its final guidance (the Guidance) accompanying the UK’s block exemption for vertical agreements (VABEO). The VABEO came into force on June 1, replacing the retained EU framework. The Guidance supplements the VABEO for agreements not covered by the block exemption. (...)

The EU Parliament steps up enforcement against foreign state-backed companies
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
If you (i) receive some form of financial support from foreign (non-EU) governments, and (ii) have activities or are planning to acquire a business in the EU, then you will want to read on. Following political agreement among legislators, the European Union (EU) Foreign Subsidies Regulation (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority renews the block exemption order for vessel-sharing agreements in the liner shipping industry
Hong Kong Competition Commission (Hong Kong)
Competition Commission renews block exemption order for vessel sharing agreements in liner shipping industry* The Competition Commission (“Commission”) today announced its decision to renew the block exemption order for vessel sharing agreements (“VSAs”) between liner shipping companies (“Order”) (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on draft proposals for the future of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and Supplementary Guidelines
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission invites comments on draft proposals for the future of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and Supplementary Guidelines* The European Commission launched today a public consultation and a call for evidence inviting all interested parties to comment on its draft (...)

The EU Commission commences revision of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation and supplementary guidelines
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
Distribution and after-sales service agreements in the motor vehicle sector are currently governed by Regulation (EU) No. 461/2010 of May 27, 2010 on the application of Article 101 para. 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) to categories of vertical agreements and (...)

The EU Parliament approves the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On July 5, 2022, the European Parliament approved the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), by 588 votes to 11, marking the penultimate step before the DMA enters into force. The DMA now needs to be ratified by EU ministers, who will vote on July 18. The DMA is likely to enter the EU’s (...)

The EU Parliament adopts the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, introducing new rules for tech companies and digital platforms
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 05.07.2022, two legislative instruments of the new Digital Services Package, namely the Digital Services Act (“DSA”) and the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), were adopted by the European Parliament. The new Regulations are going to have a great impact on the tech industry by setting clear standards (...)

The EU Commission welcomes the adoption by the EU Parliament of new rules for digital services
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Digital Services Package: Commission welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of the EU’s new rulebook for digital services* The Commission welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, proposed by the Commission in December 2020. (...)

The Irish Competition Authority welcomes the new Competition (Amendment) Act 2022 to transpose the ECN+ Directive, significantly enhancing the Authority’s powers
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC welcomes the new Competition (Amendment) Act 2022* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has welcomed the enactment of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2022. The Act transposes Directive 2019/1 (ECN+ Directive) into Irish law and expands the CCPC’s power to enforce EU (...)

The Irish Competition Authority welcomes the new Competition (Amendment) Act 2022 with targeted changes in the life sciences, energy, technology and consumer goods industry
DLA Piper (Dublin)
Ireland adopts major changes to competition rules* On 29 June 2022, Ireland enacted major reforms to its Competition Act. These changes will impact on all sectors across the Irish economy, with potential target industries such as Life Sciences, Energy, Technology and Consumer Goods facing (...)

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