June 2021

General antitrust

The Polish Competition Authority publishes its annual antitrust activity report for 2020
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
At the end of June, the Polish Competition Authority (UOKiK) published its annual activity report for 2020 (the Report). The Report shows that last year was particularly notable for UOKiK’s enforcement. Highest fine in UOKiK’s history UOKiK imposed the highest fine in its history on Gazprom. (...)

The European Competition Network publishes a joint position paper on how national competition authorities can strengthen the Digital Markets Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 June 2021, the heads of the national competition authorities (“NCAs”) published a joint position paper entitled How national competition authorities can strengthen the DMA (“NCA Paper”). The NCA Paper argues that NCAs are well placed to assist the European Commission (“Commission”) – and (...)

The US Congress marks up 6 newly proposed antitrust bills aimed at reigning in alleged anticompetitive and monopolistic conduct by Big Tech companies
Bona Law (San Diego)
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Bona Law (Detroit)
Antitrust Political Developments: Biden Administration Issues Executive Order on Competition and Congress Proposes Six New Antitrust Bills* On June 23, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and reported favorably six new tech antitrust bills called to be a “historic package of bipartisan (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes consultation on its proposed recommendations to the Government on the future of the retained vertical agreements block exemption regulation
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 17 June 2021 the CMA published a consultation on its proposed recommendations to the Secretary of State on the future of the retained vertical agreements block exemption Regulation (VBER). At the end of the Brexit transition period the EU VBER became retained EU law in the UK, until its (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority announces updates to the national competition act based on the ECN+ Directive will soon enter into force, including changes to monitoring competition restraints and sanctions imposed for infringements
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Changes to monitoring competition restraints and sanctions imposed for infringements – amendments to the Competition Act will enter into force on 24 June 2021* Amendments that apply to the assessment of the penalty payments imposed for infringements have been made to the Competition Act. At the (...)

The Finnish Government amends the Competition Act due to the ECN+ Directive
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 24 June 2021, the latest amendments of the Finnish Competition Act entered into force. The modifications were mostly based on the Directive 2019/1 (“ECN+ Directive”), which sought to ensure more effective enforcement of competition law across member states. The amended Competition Act was (...)

The UK Competition Authority consults the Government to replace the retained vertical agreements block exemption regulation with new vertical agreements block exemption order
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) is consulting on its proposed recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to replace the retained Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“retained VABER”) with a new UK Vertical Agreements Block (...)

The Ukrainian Parliament adopts the Tax Amnesty Law which includes amnesty for competition law violations
Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
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Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
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Redcliffe Partners (Kyiv)
AMNESTY FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE COMPETITION LAW* On 21 July 2021, the Law of Ukraine on Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine and Other Laws of Ukraine on Encouraging the De-shadowing of Income and Improving Tax Culture of Citizens by Introducing a One-time (Special) Voluntary Declaration of (...)

The EU Commission publishes the initial findings of its inquiry into consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry page contents
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes initial findings of consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry Page contents* The European Commission has published today the preliminary results of its competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services (...)

The EU Commission publishes a preliminary report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 9 June 2021, the European Commission (EC) published a Preliminary Report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”). The consumer IoT sector encompasses services, devices and technologies that support the interaction of consumers with (...)

The US State of New York Senate adopts the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act to amend its state antitrust law
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
The New York state Senate has passed the “Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act” (S. 933) to amend its state antitrust law, radically changing the risks of doing business in New York. It ostensibly aims at so-called “Big Tech,” but applies to all businesses, even those having very little contact with (...)

The EU Commission publishes an inception impact assessment about potential revisions to the research and development block exemption regulation and the specialisation block exemption regulation
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In the course of the ongoing review of the application of the EU competition rules to horizontal cooperation agreements, the European Commission (“Commission”) published on 7 June 2021 an inception impact assessment (“IIA”) in relation to potential revisions to the Research and Development Block (...)

The US State of New York Senate adopts a legislation prohibiting the abuse of dominance and requiring new thresholds for the State’s pre-merger notification system
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
While Congress has been the epicenter of an ongoing antitrust debate—with US legislators on both sides of the aisle urging vast reforms—the New York State legislature is pursuing a state bill that would arguably ensnare more conduct and transactions in antitrust law’s web than anything proposed, (...)

The Czech Competition Authority initiates a pharmaceutical sector inquiry
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of complaints from competitors in the pharmaceutical sector, associations of pharmaceutical companies and the public, especially in relation to the distribution of medicines. The pharmaceutical sector was also subject to changes both at (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its class exemption program allowing small businesses to collectively bargain
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Collective bargaining by small business facilitated by class exemption* From today, small businesses, franchisees and fuel retailers can use the ACCC’s class exemption for collective bargaining. This class exemption, which is the first made by the ACCC, will allow collective negotiation without (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Brazilian Competition Authority convicts members of a cartel in procurements for PVC pipes and fittings (BR Plásticos Indústria / BRP Indústria Plástica / Nicoll Indústria Plástica Tigre / Amanco)
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE convicts a cartel in procurements for PVC pipes and fittings* In the hearing of this Wednesday (30 June), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense convicted five firms and six individuals for a cartel in public procurements for PVC pipes and fittings. Such procurements were aimed (...)

The Irish Competition Authority launches a public campaign to alert retailers against resale price maintenance
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC puts spotlight on anti-competitive pricing practice* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has launched a campaign to alert Irish retailers of a harmful anticompetitive pricing practice, called resale price maintenance. Along with publishing guidance to help businesses (...)

The Australian Federal Court dismisses the Competition Authority’s case against port commitment deeds in New South Wales (NSW Ports)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Court dismisses ACCC case against NSW Ports* The Federal Court has dismissed the ACCC’s proceedings against NSW Ports Operations Hold Co Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries Port Botany Operations Pty Ltd and Port Kembla Operations Pty Ltd (together: NSW Ports). The proceedings concerned agreements, (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority presses criminal charges against a fifth person in connection with a conspiracy to rig bids for City of Gatineau infrastructure contracts (François Paulhus)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Fifth engineering executive charged in Gatineau bid-rigging case* The Competition Bureau announced today that it has laid criminal charges against a fifth person in connection with a conspiracy to rig bids for City of Gatineau infrastructure contracts. François Paulhus is accused of (...)

The US DoJ fines a Belgian security services company $15 million for bid-rigging and price-fixing in national defense procurement (G4S Secure Solutions)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Belgian Security Services Firm Agrees to Plead Guilty to Criminal Antitrust Conspiracy Affecting Department of Defense Procurement* Company to Pay $15 Million Criminal Fine G4S Secure Solutions NV (G4S), a Belgian security firm, has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to rig (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds two of the Competition Authority’s decisions finding that the exchange of information on prices, discounts and quantities in relation to future sales between retailers of clothing items was illegal (Hugo Boss / Kaufmann)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal: Exchange of information on prices, discounts and quantities in relation to future sales between retailers of clothing items was illegal* The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal has upheld two separate decisions of the Danish Competition Council (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the manufacturing and distribution of garments sector
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the manufacturing and distribution of garments sector* On 22 June 2021, the European Commission has carried out unannounced inspections in Germany at the premises of a company active in the sector of manufacturing and distribution of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority sanctions two cartels formed by multiple passenger transport companies in Cantabria (Anfersa Adaptado / Buses Benito / Autocares Mariano)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC sanctions two cartels formed by passenger transport companies in Cantabria.* They affected passenger transport services by road in this autonomous community, both regular and discretionary, and especially school transport. The investigation of the cartels constitutes one of the CNMC’s (...)

The US Supreme Court upholds a district court injunction finding unlawful certain sport association rules limiting the education-related benefits schools may make available to student-athletes (NCAA / Alston)
George Mason University (Fairfax)
The Supreme Court Misses the Big Consumer Welfare Picture in NCAA v. Alston* In its June 21 opinion in NCAA v. Alston, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and thereby upheld a district court injunction finding unlawful certain National Collegiate (...)

The US Supreme Court prohibits an association from restraining student-athlete education-related benefits while recognizing the association still retains considerable flexibility to regulate such benefits (NCAA / Alston)
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Colombus)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
The Court’s ruling that certain NCAA rules violate antitrust law opens the door for student-athletes to receive additional benefits. But it does not extend to compensation relating to athletic performance, conferences remain free to pass their own rules independently, and universities may decide (...)

The US Supreme Court rules that an association’s restrictions on compensation for college athletes in conjunction with educational expenses amount to an illegal price-fixing agreement in violation of antitrust laws (NCAA / Alston)
Hausfeld (Washington)
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Hausfeld (Washington)
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Hausfeld (Washington)
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court today ruled (in Alston v. NCAA) that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s restrictions on compensation to college athletes in conjunction with educational expenses amount to an illegal price-fixing agreement in violation of the antitrust (...)

The US Supreme Court prohibits a sports professional association from imposing conditions on its members as it violates antitrust law (NCAA / Alston)
GeyerGorey (Washington)
Some “Twinkling of the Eye” Thoughts on NCAA v. Alston* The Supreme Court’s decision in Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Alston, Nos. 20-512 and 20-520, 2021 WL 2519036, (U.S. June 21, 2021) is a boost for the Antitrust Division’s commitment to prosecute what it calls naked “wage fixing” and “no (...)

The Spanish and Portuguese Competition Authorities carry out simultaneous investigations into possible market-sharing arrangements in the market for business information subscriptions
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
CNMC and the Autoridad da Concorrência (AdC) carry out simultaneous investigations into possible anti-competitive practices in Spain and Portugal* The inspections concern companies that market subscriptions to databases with business information. Both authorities analyse possible market-sharing (...)

The US Supreme Court upholds a decision which said that the restrictions imposed by the sports association on education-related compensation for student-athletes violate the antitrust laws (NCAA / Alston)
Baker & Miller (Washington)
More to Supreme Court’s NCAA decision than just sports* Introduction There has been a plethora of articles about the Supreme Court’s 21 June 2021 decision upholding a decision that the restrictions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on education-related compensation (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to an association of Irish insurers (Insurance Ireland) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
The Commission has informed Insurance Ireland, an association of Irish insurers, of its preliminary view that it breached EU antitrust rules by restricting competition in the Irish motor vehicle insurance market. The Commission takes issue with certain conditions of access to the Insurance Link (...)

The US FTC announces that a real estate appraisers board agreed to settle charges stating that it fixed prices for appraisal services in Louisiana (Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Fixed Prices for Appraisal Services in Louisiana* The Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board has agreed to stop fixing compensation levels for residential real estate appraisal services in Louisiana as part of a (...)

The Indian Karnataka High Court dismisses petitions by two Big Tech companies challenging the probe ordered by the Competition Authority against them for alleged violations of Competition Law (Amazon / Flipkart)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Amazon and Flipkart lose (first) battle against Antitrust probe -Karnataka High Court dismisses the writ petition against CCI prima facie order* So, is it the beginning of the end of the Amazon (and Flipkart’s) combined market dominance or, at least, their allegedly vertical anti-competitive (...)

The US DoJ announces that a North Carolina engineering firm pleads guilty to decade-long bid rigging and fraud scheme (Contech Engineered Solutions)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Engineering Firm Pleads Guilty to Decade-Long Bid Rigging and Fraud Scheme* Company Sentenced to Pay $7 Million in Criminal Fine and Over $1.5 Million in Restitution to North Carolina Department of Transportation A North Carolina engineering firm was sentenced today after pleading guilty to (...)

The US DoJ sentences a company to pay $7 million in criminal fines and over $1.5 million in restitution as it pleads guilty to one count of bid-rigging and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud (Contech Engineered Solutions)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
On June 7, 2021, as part of the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) continuing commitment to prosecuting cases where the government is a victim, a government contractor pleaded guilty to one count of bid-rigging and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the DOJ’s (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by a big tech company in the online classified ads sector (Facebook Marketplace)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of Facebook* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Facebook violated EU competition rules by using advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a big tech company to examine its new service of presenting external publisher’s news content (Google News Showcase)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt examines Google News Showcase* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, USA, and its affiliates (“Google”) to examine under competition law the Google News Showcase service offered by the company. The examination is mainly based on (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority closes its investigation into suspected bid-rigging (Latvijas tilti / BMGS)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Lithuanian Competition Authority terminates investigation into suspected bid-rigging* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba decided to terminate an investigation into the compliance of actions of undertakings involved in public procurements for the construction and (...)

The Indian Commission Authority rejects allegations that a number of domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices (Shikha Roy / Jet Airways)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected allegations that a number of domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices during the period of Jat agitation in February 2016. Following the conclusions of the investigating Director General (DG), the CCI found there was no evidence of a (...)

The Australian Federal Court acquits a CEO and former employee of a national healthcare facility accused of participating in cartel activities (Country Care)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Country Care, CEO and former employee acquitted of criminal cartel offences* A jury in the Federal Court today acquitted rehabilitation aids company The Country Care Group Pty Ltd, its CEO Robert Hogan and a former employee Cameron Harrison of eight criminal cartel offences. The charges (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Brazilian Competition Authority assesses a national fuel company’s IT system used to negotiate prices with its retailers (Ipiranga)
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE assesses fuel company Ipiranga’s new pricing policy* The fuel distribution company has consulted with the authority about an IT system to negotiate prices with its retailers In a hearing held last Wednesday (30 June), the Tribunal of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia grants motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the FTC and a group of state enforcers against a social media company for monopolization, with the FTC being allowed to file an amended complaint in 30 days (Facebook)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On June 28, 2021, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Facebook’s motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of state enforcers. The complaints accused Facebook of illegally (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses arguments against the national stock exchange for abuse of dominance by introducing co-location services and by giving unfair preferential access to some trading members of its co-location services (National Stock Exchange)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI dismissed at prima facie stage arguments that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) had abused its dominant position by introducing co-location services and by giving unfair preferential access to some trading members of its co-location services. Co-location refers to the renting of space (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation against a Big Tech company for imposing restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI directed an investigation against Google for alleged abuses in relation to its TV operating system, Android TV OS. The two Informants in the case alleged that Google had imposed restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in breach of Section 4 of the (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible abuse of dominance by a Big Tech company in the online advertising technology sector (Google)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google in the online advertising technology sector* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favouring its own online (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a big tech company for abusing its dominance in the market of smart TV operating systems and market for related mobile apps (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
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National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
In its order dated 22nd June 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed an investigation against Google after being prima facie convinced of it abusing its dominance in the market of licensable smart TV device operating systems (OS) as well as the market for app store for Android (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a market study into two Big Tech companies’ mobile ecosystems over concerns that they might abuse their dominant position (Google / Apple)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to scrutinise Apple and Google mobile ecosystems* The CMA has launched a market study into Apple’s and Google’s mobile ecosystems over concerns they have market power which is harming users and other businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a closer look at whether (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures commitments from a Big Tech company to address concerns about its proposal to remove third-party cookies on its main internet browser (Google / Chrome)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA to have key oversight role over Google’s planned removal of third-party cookies* Following an investigation, the CMA has secured commitments from Google to address concerns about Google’s proposal to remove third-party cookies on Chrome. The CMA is to take up a role in the design and (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects a TV broadcaster’s complaint against the national football league’s rewarding of broadcasting rights due to insufficient evidence (Canal Plus / Ligue de Football Professionnel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Reawarding of the football Ligue 1’s TV rights: The Autorité de la concurrence rejects Canal + Group’s complaint against the LFP, for lack of sufficient evidence* Background On 29 January 2021, Canal Plus Group ("GCP") referred practices allegedly implemented by the Ligue de Football (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for favoring its services in the online advertising sector in a first decision to look into complex algorithmic auctions processes (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands out a €220 millions fine to Google for favouring its own services in the online advertising sector* Google, did not dispute the facts, wished to settle with the Autorité, which granted its request. Google also proposed commitments, accepted by the Autorité, (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for favoring its own services in the online advertising services supply chain (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a decision of 7 June 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted a proposed settlement by Google LLC and Google Ireland Ltd (“Google”) with respect to certain online advertising practices. The decision also imposed a € 220 million fine on Google as it concluded that Google’s (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates a social media company’s use of ad data (Facebook)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA investigates Facebook’s use of ad data* The CMA is investigating whether Facebook might be abusing a dominant position in the social media or digital advertising markets through its collection and use of advertising data. Facebook login on a mobile and laptop screen The Competition and (...)

The French Competition Authority submits commitments for public consultation following an investigation in the online advertising sector (Facebook / Criteo)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
In the context of an investigation opened before the Autorité in the online advertising sector, Facebook proposes commitments* The Autorité de la concurrence is submitting these commitments for public consultation, and is inviting actors from the sector to provide their feedback. The case was (...)

The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation against a baseball federation and grants an interim injunction (Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs / Amateur Baseball Federation of India)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered at prima facie stage allegations by the Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs (CPBSC) that the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) had abused its dominant position by prohibiting State Baseball Associations from dealing with bodies and leagues not (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects the allegations of abuse of dominance made against sports federations (Volleyball Federation of India / Baseline)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered allegations made by a number of volleyball players registered with the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) that the VFI, together with Baseline Ventures (India) Private Limited (Baseline), had acted in breach of the Competition Act. The Informants alleged that the VFI, in (...)

The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal upholds the annulment of the nearly € 41 million abuse of dominance fine imposed by the Competition Authority against a railway company (Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
On 1 June 2021 the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (“CBb”), which is the highest administrative court in the Netherlands, upheld the annulment of the nearly € 41 million abuse of dominance fine imposed by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”, the Dutch competition authority) on (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority fines an industrial gas company for failure to comply with commitments made to restore competition in the markets of industrial oxygen, nitrogen and argon (Praxair)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE fines Praxair for failure to comply with commitments made to restore competition in the markets of industrial oxygen, nitrogen and argon* In 2018, during the trial-like procedure for possible relative monopolistic practices, Praxair offered commitments with the aim of restoring (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority opens public consultation on a merger in the real estate sector (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations / Nexity)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens a public consultation on a merger in the real estate sector* The Autorité de la concurrence is examining a proposed merger under which the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (French Deposit and Consignment Office), together with Nexity, plans to acquire joint (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger between three Brussels-based hospitals to form one group (Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles / Institut Jules Bordet / Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 June 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) cleared a merger between three Brussels-based hospitals: (i) Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles - Hôpital Erasme / Universitaire Klinieken Brussel - Erasmusziekenhuis; (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority challenges a proposed merger between two Western Canadian oil and gas waste service providers (Secure Energy / Tervita)
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau challenges proposed merger of rival oil and gas waste service providers Secure and Tervita* The Competition Bureau is seeking to block Secure Energy Services Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Tervita Corporation to protect competition for customers of oil and gas waste services (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority conditionally approves a merger between a manufacturer and a wholesale operator in the foodservice procurements sector (Valio / Heinon Tukku)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
The FCCA conditionally approves the merger between Valio and Heinon Tukku* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) approved the merger in which Valio Oy will purchase Heinon Tukku Oy on 30 June 2021. A precondition for approving the merger is that Valio undertakes to protect the (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into proposed merger between two airline companies (Air Europa / IAG)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Air Europa by IAG* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Air Europa by IAG, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the proposed (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority approves the take-over merger between two national banks subject to conditions (Liberbank / Unicaja Banco)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC approves the take-over merger of Liberbank, S.A. by Unicaja Banco, S.A., subject to certain commitments* The CNMC assessed the commitments proposed by Unicaja to resolve the competition issues resulting from the operation. These affect some of the branches in the province of Cáceres, (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority approves two mergers in the wholesale petrol products market and the production and sale of industrial cables sector (Petrol / Crodux Derivati Dva) (ISKRA / ELKA)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
CCA APPROVES TWO MERGERS – PETROL D.D. / CRODUX DERIVATI DVA D.O.O. AND ISKRA D.O.O. / ELKA D.O.O.* By the implementation of the concentration concerned the acquiring company Petrol takes over the following businesses of Crodux Derivati Dva: the wholesale in petroleum products (petrol and (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears the acquisition of a clothing retail brand by a national real estate investment company (GAP / FIB)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears the takeover of GAP by the Financière Immobilière Bordelaise* On 4 June 2021, the Financière Immobilière Bordelaise group (hereinafter "FIB") notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire the activities of the GAP brand in France. Parties to the transaction The (...)

The US FTC orders the divestiture of hundreds of shops following the acquisition of a retail fuel chain by the largest national convenience store chain (7-Eleven / Speedway)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Orders the Divestiture of Hundreds of Retail Stores Following 7-Eleven, Inc.’s Anticompetitive $21 Billion Acquisition of the Speedway Retail Fuel Chain* Proposed order prohibits 7-Eleven from enforcing noncompete provisions for franchisees or employees working at or doing business with (...)

The French Competition Authority unconditionally clears a takeover of 72 outlets by two luxury jewellery brands from their competitor’s 120 outlets (Altesse / Thom / Agatha)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité clears the takeover of Agatha stores by Altesse (Les Georgettes, Saunier) and Thom (Histoire d’Or, Marc Orian, Trésor)* Altesse and Thom, the first of which owns "Les Georgettes" and "Saunier" and the second of which owns "Histoire d’Or", "Marc Orian" and "Trésor", notified the (...)

The German Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two family-owned food retailers on the market for preserved fruit in glass jars and cartons (Andros / Spreewaldhof)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Spreewaldhof by Andros* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the acquisition of Obst- und Gemüseverarbeitung “Spreewaldkonserve” Golßen GmbH (“Spreewaldhof”) by Andros & Cie SAS (“Andros”) in second-phase proceedings. Andreas Mundt, President of the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority refuses to clear the acquisition of sole control of a TV and internet service provider by its competitor despite the commitment offered by the merging parties (Cgates / Splius)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
CGATES does not get permission to acquire its competitor Splius* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba refused to clear the acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares and sole control of SPLIUS by Cgates. On 11 December 2020, Konkurencijos taryba received a merger (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the proposed merger between two major information brokers (Dye & Durham / GlobalX)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Dye & Durham’s acquisition of GlobalX not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of GlobalX Information Pty Ltd (GlobalX) by Dye & Durham Corporation (Dye & Durham), finding the transaction will not substantially lessen competition. Dye & Durham and GlobalX (...)

The US DoJ sues to prohibit the merger between two insurance companies (Aon / Willis Tower Watson)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Sues to Block Aon’s Acquisition of Willis Towers Watson* Acquisition Would Create Broking Behemoth and Eliminate Competition Between Two of the “Big Three” Insurance Brokers The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block Aon’s $30 billion (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority receives the notification pursuant to the provision of concerning the proposed acquisition of shares of a technology company and reviews possible impacts on competition from the proposed acquisition of shares (Siltronic)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC Opens Secondary Review Concerning the Proposed Acquisition of Shares of Siltronic AG by Global Wafers GmbH and Seeks Comments from Third Parties* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) received the notification pursuant to the provision of the Antimonopoly Act (AMA) from Global Wafers (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority publishes a study demonstrating that expanding the obligation to notify mergers would create significant consumer benefit
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
FCCA study: Expanding the obligation to notify mergers would create significant consumer benefit* Study by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority shows that the current national turnover thresholds allow harmful merges to escape the scrutiny of the authority. The study shows that the (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority calls for lowering turnover thresholds for merger notification and discretionary power to order below-threshold notifications
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
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Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
According to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (“FCCA”), the current national turnover thresholds allow harmful merges to escape scrutiny by the authority. The FCCA suggests that Finnish turnover thresholds be lowered and that the authority be granted the right to require a (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a TV company’s takeover of remaining stocks in a TV children’s channel (RTL / SuperRTL)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears merger between RTL and SuperRTL* The Bundeskartellamt has today cleared the merger between Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA (RTL Group) and RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG (SuperRTL) in the first phase of merger control. RTL already holds 50% of the shares in the (...)

The French Competition Authority receives notice that a cooperative hypermarket chain is withdrawing from the intended joint takeover of a food store chain in Martinique (La Batelière / E. Leclerc)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Takeover of the La Batelière hypermaket at La Martinique: Leclerc withdraws from the transaction* On 10 April 2020, the Autorité de la concurrence received a notification regarding the acquisition of a business operating a predominantly food store located in Schoelcher (Martinique) by a (...)

The Australian Competition Authority clears a merger between two wholesale food distributors (Woolworths / PFD)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Woolworths acquiring 65% share of PFD* The ACCC will not oppose Woolworths’ (ASX: WOW) acquisition of 65 per cent of the shares in wholesale food distributor PFD Food Services, following a detailed investigation that found the transaction is not likely to substantially (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority clears the merger between two bagged concrete and mortar products manufacturers (Concrete Group / Drymix)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Concrete Group subsidiary cleared to acquire Drymix* The Commerce Commission has granted clearance to Dunlop Drymix Limited, a subsidiary of the Concrete Group Limited, to acquire the assets and business of six companies that collectively trade in New Zealand as Drymix. Each of the Drymix (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority fines an energy company for breach of disclosure requirements regarding its acquisition of a petrol station belonging to a competing chain (St1 Norge)
Norwegian Competition Authority
The Norwegian Competition Authority imposes a fine of NOK 3 million on St1 Norge AS* The Norwegian Competition Authority has today imposed a fine of NOK 3 million on St1 Norge AS for breach of disclosure requirements when it took control over a petrol station belonging to a competing chain. (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between cardio-surgical and cardio-logical services (Charité / Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears merger between Charité and Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared plans to merge the cardiosurgical and cardiological services of the Charité and Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, allowing for the establishment of the heart centre “Deutsches Herzzentrum (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority fines a big tech company for gun-jumping (Facebook / Giphy)
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Austrian Federal Competition Authority files application to fine Facebook for failing to notify GIPHY acquisition* Facebook cooperates with the AFCA in the course of an amicable conclusion of proceedings and accepts the fine of EUR 9.6 million requested by the AFCA. Background In the course (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears a transaction in the education sector (Think and Learn / Aakash)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI cleared the acquisition by Think & Learn Private Limited (BYJU’S) of sole control over Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL). This was the first transaction where the CCI assessed overlaps in the education sector (specifically, the online education sector). In its competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds in its reassessment that the merger between two financial advice companies raises competition concerns (FNZ / GBST)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Reassessment of FNZ/GBST deal confirms competition concerns* The CMA has found that the purchase of GBST by rival FNZ could lead to poorer service and higher prices following a careful reassessment of the deal. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reassessed the deal, following its (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the merger between two health establishment operating groups (C2s / Elsan)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of C2s clinics by the Elsan group* Following the referral decision of the European Commission on 12 April 2021, the Elsan group notified the Autorité of its plan to take exclusive control of the C2S clinics on 30 April 2021. Parties to the (...)

The South African Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the fast-food market purely on public interest grounds (Burger King)
Primerio (Johannesburg)
Precedent-Setting Decision: Burger King Acquisition Prohibited Purely on Public Interest Grounds* The South African Competition Commission (SACC) made headlines with its first prohibition of an intermediate merger that was based solely on public-interest grounds. Emerging Capital Partners (...)

The US DoJ requires substantial divestitures in the merger between a grain company and a Japanese association of agricultural cooperatives to protect American farmers (Ze-Noh / Bunge)
US Department of Justice - Antitrust Division (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Substantial Divestitures in Zen-Noh Acquisition of Grain Elevators from Bunge to Protect American Farmers* Zen-Noh Must Divest Nine Grain Elevators so that Farmers Along the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries Continue to Have the Same Number of Options to Sell (...)

State Aid

The UK Government publishes its long-awaited Subsidy Control Bill
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 30 June 2021, the UK Government published its much-awaited Subsidy Control Bill. In this update, we explore the key aspects of the proposed UK subsidy control regime. We conclude with five key takeaways. Overview of the UK regime The Subsidy Control Bill establishes a UK subsidy control (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of Norwegian support scheme for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of Norwegian support scheme for businesses* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved the prolongation of a Norwegian guarantee scheme that will help ensure access to credit for businesses facing an acute shortage of liquidity due to (...)

The EU Commission approves a €166.7 million Greek public support for the construction of an airport terminal in Alexandroupolis (LNG)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €166.7 million Greek public support for construction of LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €166.7 million Greek support measure for the construction of a new liquid natural gas (“LNG”) terminal in (...)

The EU Commission approves a Polish scheme to compensate large companies for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide liquidity support Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves a Polish scheme to compensate large companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak and provide liquidity support* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Polish scheme to partially compensate large companies for the damages (...)

The EU Commission clears public support for several ferry services in Italy but finds other measures to be incompatible aid (Siremar / Società Navigazione Siciliana)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission clears public support for several ferry services in Italy; finds other measures to Siremar and SNS to be incompatible aid* The European Commission has concluded that the public service compensation granted since 2009 to Sicilia Regionale Marittima S.p.A. (‘Siremar’) and (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the prolongation of a Norwegian State aid scheme for sporting events of national importance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Free
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of Norwegian aid scheme for sporting events of national importance* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation until 31 October 2021 of a scheme providing support to sporting events affected by the ongoing COVID-19 (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves a prolongation of a production grant scheme for news and current affairs media in Norway
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves prolonging support to news and current affairs media in Norway* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today approves a prolongation of a production grant scheme for media in Norway, until the end of 2022. The production grant scheme for media is an important part of Norway’s media (...)

The EU Commission confirms that Spain needs to recover incompatible aid from certain digital terrestrial operators
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission confirms that Spain needs to recover incompatible aid from certain digital terrestrial operators* The Commission has concluded that the aid received by terrestrial operators for the digitisation and extension of the terrestrial television network in remote areas of Spain (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision which found that the non-charging of a deposit on certain drinks packaging sold by German border shops to customers resident in Denmark does not constitute State aid (Dansk Erhverv)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court annuls the Commission decision finding that the non-charging of a deposit on certain drinks packaging sold by German border shops to customers resident in Denmark does not constitute State aid* The Commission was not in a position to overcome, at the preliminary stage, all (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision approving the State aid granted by Germany to an airline company on the grounds of an inadequate statement of reasons (Condor Flugdienst) Free
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court annuls the Commission decision approving the State aid granted by Germany to the airline Condor Flugdienst on the grounds of an inadequate statement of reasons* However, because of the economic and social context marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, it suspends the effects of the (...)

The EU Commission approves €800 million Italian scheme to support companies in context of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as development and production of COVID-19-relevant products Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €800 million Italian scheme to support companies in context of coronavirus outbreak, as well as development and production of coronavirus-relevant products* The European Commission has approved a €800 million Italian scheme to support companies affected by the (...)

The EU Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on a proposed draft for climate, energy and environmental State aid guidelines
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed draft Climate, Energy and Environmental State aid Guidelines* The European Commission has launched today a targeted public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on the proposed revision of the (...)

The EU Commission approves €800 million State aid scheme for Greece in order to support the tourism sector in the context of COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €800 million Greek scheme to support tourism sector in context of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €800 million Greek scheme to support companies active in tourism affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice orders to remove the request for a preliminary ruling by the Regional Court of Dusseldorf regarding the licensing of standard-essential patents in multi-layered supply chains (Nokia / Daimler)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 June 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) ordered the removal of a request for a preliminary ruling lodged by the Regional Court of Düsseldorf on 23 March 2021 in Case C-182/21, Nokia Technologies Oy v. Daimler AG. The questions arose in a dispute between Nokia and (...)

The EU Commission carries out its first dawn raid since the COVID-19 pandemic started at the German premises of a company active in the clothing sector Free
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 22 June 2021 the European Commission (“Commission”) revealed that it had carried out surprise inspections at the German premises of a company active in the clothing sector, suspected of infringing competition rules. This was the first unannounced inspection, or “dawn raid”, conducted by the (...)

The French Competition Authority opens a public consultation for the revision of its notice on fines following the transposition of the ECN+ Directive
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens a public consultation for the revision of its Notice on Fines following the transposition of the ECN + directive* The update of the 2011 Notice on Fines The entry into force of ordinance n° 2021-649 of 26 May 2021 relating to the transposition of Directive (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies conditions for the granting of partial immunity under the 2006 Leniency Notice (Recylex)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment delivered on 3 June 2021, the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) dismissed the appeal brought by Recylex against the judgment of the General Court which had upheld the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision finding it and three other companies to have infringed Article 101 (...)

Regulatory

The UK Government publishes its Subsidy Control Bill following Brexit
Hogan Lovells (London)
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Hogan Lovells (London)
The UK Government has been busy adding flesh to the bare bones of the domestic subsidy control regime that has been in place since the start of 2021 following the signing of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The Subsidy Control Bill introduced before Parliament on 30 June will, (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes guidelines to counter “vendor lock-in" in the market for information technology systems in the healthcare sector
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 June 2021, the Dutch competition authority, Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM), announced that it would prepare guidelines to counter “vendor lock-in” in information technology systems for the healthcare sector, principally hospital information systems and electronic patient files. As a (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a consultation document setting out the proposals on the future treatment of vertical agreements
Bird & Bird (London)
The long-awaited consultation document setting out the CMA’s proposals on the future treatment of vertical (supply chain) agreements in the UK is finally out. As expected, the CMA will recommend that the rules inherited from the EU following Brexit will be replaced, on their expiry in 2022, with (...)

The UK Competition Authority consults on proposals for a vertical agreement block exemption order
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
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Van Bael & Bellis (London)
Introduction On 17 June 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published an eagerly anticipated consultation document outlining its proposed recommendations to the Secretary of State (i.e., the relevant government minister) on the future of the retained vertical agreements block (...)

The Belgian Government approves a draft bill that will implement the Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On Friday 4 June 2021, the Federal Council of Ministers (Ministerraad / Conseil des Ministres) approved a draft bill that will implement Directive (EU) 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain. The bill is now being (...)

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