October 2021

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority announces its intention to launch a study into the music streaming market
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA plans probe into music streaming market* The CMA has announced its intention to launch a market study into music streaming. Following discussion by the CMA Board, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now carry out work to consider and develop the final scope of the market (...)

The International Competition Network holds its 20th annual conference with focus on sustainability and competition policy post COVID-19 Free
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
The ICN virtually celebrates its 20th Anniversary in Budapest and announces Berlin as venue for the 21st ICN Annual Conference* The International Competition Network (ICN) held its 20th annual conference from 13 to 15 October. The event hosted by the Hungarian Competition Authority took place (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces new big challenges for competition including merger law reform, the need to prove the future in competition cases, and the role of new regulation for digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Competition in Australia faces big challenges* Significant challenges facing competition law and policy need to be confronted and solved if our market economy is to work for all Australians, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said today. Innovation, productivity and the welfare of Australians depends on (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes the preliminary findings of its sector inquiry into the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and calls for more competition within the sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt calls for more competition in the provision of charging electricity - Preliminary findings of sector inquiry into charging infrastructure* The Bundeskartellamt has today published a progress report on its ongoing sector inquiry into charging station infrastructure (“Sector (...)

The French Competition Authority opens a public consultation on a new framework document on compliance programs
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence opens a public consultation with a view to publish a new framework document on competition compliance programmes* Update of the 2012 compliance framework document A group of experts from the private sector (companies, professional associations and law firms) and (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its responses to two Government consultations on reforming competition policy and on adopting a new pro-competition regime for digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA welcomes government proposals on new powers* The CMA has responded to the government’s proposals to enhance its ability to tackle breaches of competition and consumer law and empower the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). Changes would see the CMA given the power to declare companies in breach of (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Australian Competition Authority announces that a national radio association can collectively bargain with 2 Big Tech companies about payments for using radio station’s news content on the digital platforms (Commercial Radio Australia / Google / Facebook)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Commercial Radio Australia to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook* Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) can collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payment for their member stations’ news content featured on the platforms following an ACCC authorisation. The ACCC’s final (...)

The Australian Competition Authority secures a guilty plea by a former export manager of a pharmaceutical ingredient company for participating in cartel activities (Alkaloids / Christopher Kenneth Joyce)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Former export manager of pharmaceutical ingredient company pleads guilty to criminal cartel charges* Christopher Kenneth Joyce, the former export manager of pharmaceutical ingredient company Alkaloids of Australia Pty Ltd, has today pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in Sydney’s Downing (...)

The Australian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against two Sydney roof tiling businesses and their sole directors for alleged participation in a cartel (First Class Slate Roofing / Mr. Shingles / Scott Barton / Damian Hand)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC takes action against alleged roof tiling cartel participants* The ACCC has instituted civil proceedings in the Federal Court against two Sydney roof tiling businesses, First Class Slate Roofing (First Class) and RAD Roofing Specialists (trading as Mr. Shingles), and their sole directors, (...)

The EU Commissioner for Competition Vestager announces increased focus on atypical cartels, including wage fixing or no-poach agreements in the labour market Free
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
Antitrust authorities are increasingly focused on anticompetitive agreements in the labour markets. In a recent speech held in Rome on 22 October 2021 ("A New Era of Cartel Enforcement"), EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager emphasised that the Commission will further and further (...)

The EU Commissioner for Competition Vestager highlights the Commission’s fight against cartels during and after COVID-19, including reigniting dawn raids
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
On 22 October 2021, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager highlighted the Commission’s commitment to combating cartels during the COVID crisis and in its aftermath. During the pandemic, the Commission’s activity against cartels included decisions issued in (...)

The US DoJ secures new guilty pleas by two Belgian former security services executives in an ongoing investigation into rigging bids in national defense procurement contracts (G4S Secure Solutions)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Former Security Services Executives Plead Guilty to Rigging Bids for Department of Defense Security Contracts* Two former employees of G4S Secure Solutions NV (G4S NV), pleaded guilty today to criminal antitrust charges stemming from their involvement in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices, (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections at the premises of multiple companies active in the wood pulp sector
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the wood pulp sector* On 12 October 2021, the European Commission is conducting unannounced inspections in locations in several Member States at the premises of companies active in the wood pulp sector. The Commission has concerns (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes new guidelines on its leniency program and the setting of fines
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes new guidelines on its leniency programme and the setting of fines* The Bundeskartellamt has published new guidelines on its leniency program and on the setting of fines in cartel proceedings. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Key witnesses still play (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority concludes the infringement proceedings against the main “majors” in film distribution and an audience measurement company for the exchange of commercially sensitive information (Paramount / Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures / Walt Disney)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC concludes the infringement proceedings against the main “majors” in film distribution and an audience measurement company* The companies under investigation have submitted a series of commitments that they are obliged to fulfill for five years. This formula, known as “termination by (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a champagne company for setting up an exclusive import agreement in La Réunion contrary to the Lurel Act (Cattier)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Distribution in La Réunion: Cattier company fined for setting up an exclusive import agreement on the distribution of its champagne in La Réunion* Background Following a report sent by the French Minister of Economy (DGCCRF), the Autorité de la concurrence established that the Cattier company (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues a long-awaited judgement clarifying the extent of an undertaking’s liability in follow-on actions (Sumal / Mercedes Benz Trucks España)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
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Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On October 6, 2021, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ” or “Court”) issued a long-awaited decision in case C-882/19, Sumal SL (“Sumal”) v Mercedes Benz Trucks España SL (“MBTE”). The judgment shed light on whether, under EU competition law, the victim of an (...)

The EU Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by telecommunication companies concerning their network sharing agreements (T-Mobile CZ / CETIN / O2 CZ)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by T-Mobile CZ, CETIN, and O2 CZ concerning the Czech telecommunications market* The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by T-Mobile CZ, CETIN, O2 CZ, and their respective parent companies, Deutsche Telekom and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €127 million for participation in a cartel that fraudulently divvied up at least 82 tenders in the railway sector (Alstom / Bombardier / Cafs / Cobra / Nokia...)
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC imposed fines of more than 127.8 million euros on the main security, signaling and communications systems companies of AVE’s medium-distance and commuter network in Spain.* For 15 years, these companies made up a cartel that divvied up tenders called for by Adif, with a value of more (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Authority opens an investigation into the mobile radio network used by all national emergency services after expressing concerns about a company’s dual role as owner of the current network and as key supplier in the future emergency services network (Motorola / Airwave Solutions)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA opens investigation into Motorola’s Airwave network* The CMA has opened an investigation into Motorola’s Airwave network, the mobile radio network used by all emergency services in Great Britain. Motorola Solutions Inc.’s (Motorola) Airwave network is the infrastructure and services that (...)

The EU Commission carries out unannounced inspections at the premises of a pharmaceutical company active in animal health in Belgium due to suspected abuse of dominance
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the animal health sector in Belgium* The European Commission is conducting unannounced inspections at the premises of a pharmaceutical company active in animal health in Belgium. The Commission has concerns that the inspected (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission adopts interim measures to prevent harm to competition following a merger between biological and pharmaceutical companies (Grail / Illumina)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission adopts interim measures to prevent harm to competition following Illumina’s early acquisition of GRAIL* The European Commission has adopted interim measures to restore and maintain the conditions of effective competition following Illumina’s early acquisition of GRAIL, which (...)

The EU Commission announces interim measures to avert possibly irreversible consequences of a merger between two pharmaceutical companies (Grail / Illumina)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Less than a month ago, the European Commission (the Commission) announced that it would open an investigation to determine whether Illumina’s decision to acquire Grail pending its review of that transaction under Regulation 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority finds that a merger between two maritime container suppliers raises competition concerns (Cargotec / Konecranes)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Cargotec and Konecranes merger raises preliminary competition concerns* The ACCC has outlined preliminary competition concerns in relation to a proposed merger between container handling equipment companies Cargotec and Konecranes, in a statement of issues published today. In Australia, (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of a semiconductor and software design firm by a technology company (Nvidia / Arm)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merged entity would (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two national newspaper companies (Mittelbayerische Zeitung / Verlagsgesellschaft Passau)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Mittelbayerische Zeitung by Verlagsgesellschaft Passau* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared plans by the publishing house Verlagsgesellschaft Passau GmbH to acquire all the shares in Mittelbayerische Medien Holding KG. Mittelbayerische Medien Holding is the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between two telecommunications companies, subject to conditions (Hivory / Cellnex)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Mobile network infrastructure: the Autorité cleared the acquisition of Hivory by the Cellnex Group, subject to conditions* On 23 August 2021, Cellnex notified its intention to acquire control of Hivory. In a decision dated 25 October 2021, the Autorité clears the transaction subject to (...)

The US FTC announces its return to the prior merger regime which requires approval from the FTC before closing future transactions affecting any relevant market
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
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Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
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Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Back to the “Good Old Days”: FTC Announces Return to Prior Merger Approval Regime* FTC announces that its merger enforcement orders will once again require prior approval before the subject firm can make a future acquisition affecting any relevant market for which a violation was alleged. On (...)

The US FTC announces the return of its long-established practice of restricting future acquisitions for firms that pursue anticompetitive mergers
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC to Restrict Future Acquisitions for Firms that Pursue Anticompetitive Mergers* Proposed Order marks first use of prior approval authority under new policy statement confirming that prior approval is once again standard practice The Federal Trade Commission announced that it is restoring (...)

The US FTC returns to its standard use of prior approval and issues a proposed order imposing strict limits on future mergers involving a dialysis service provider due to its history of attempting to buy up competitors in an already concentrated industry (DaVita)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Imposes Strict Limits on DaVita, Inc.’s Future Mergers Following Proposed Acquisition of Utah Dialysis Clinics* The Federal Trade Commission issued a proposed order imposing strict limits on future mergers by DaVita, Inc., a dialysis service provider with a history of fueling consolidation (...)

The EU Commission refers the examination of a merger between two companies in the tyre distribution sector to the French Competition Authority (Allopneus / Michelin)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission refers the examination of Michelin’s acquisition of Allopneus to the Autorité de la concurrence* On 21 October 2021, the European Commission referred to the Autorité de la concurrence the examination of the Michelin Group’s acquisition of exclusive control of the electronic (...)

The EU Commission approves a merger, subject to conditions, between two leaders in the commodity and financial data markets (S&P Global / IHS Markit)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission approves acquisition of IHS Markit by S&P Global, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of IHS Markit by S&P Global. The approval is conditional on the divestment of businesses in the areas of (...)

The EU General Court dismisses actions against two of the Commission’s decisions authorizing mergers in the market for passenger air travel (Polskie Linie Lotnicze / easyJet / Lufthansa / Air Berlin)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court dismisses the actions of Polskie Linie Lotnicze ‘LOT’ against the Commission decisions authorising the mergers concerning the acquisition by easyJet and Lufthansa, respectively, of certain assets of the Air Berlin group* Faced with a persistent deterioration of its financial (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears the merger of two financial information and analytics companies subject to conditions (S&P Global / IHS Markit)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
S&P-IHS Markit merger to be cleared if concerns overcome* The CMA will clear S&P’s merger with IHS Markit if competition concerns in certain commodity price assessments are addressed. S&P Global Inc. (S&P) is a worldwide supplier of credit ratings, commodity price assessments, (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority fines the national telecommunications service provider €215.1K for submitting incorrect and incomplete information which impeded the assessment of a merger’s potential impact on competition (Cgates)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
CGATES FINED FOR SUBMITTING INCORRECT AND INCOMPLETE INFORMATION IN MERGER REVIEW PROCESS* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba found that information provided by the Lithuanian telecommunications service provider Cgates, which was necessary for the authority to be able to (...)

The US DoJ requires divestitures in a merger between two national iron products manufacturers (Neenah / US Foundry)
US Department of Justice (Washington)
Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Neenah Enterprises Inc.’s Acquisition of US Foundry* Divestitures Will Preserve Competition for Essential Construction Products Sold to Towns and Municipalities The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Neenah Enterprises Inc. (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two national hospital groups (Sana-Kliniken / Ameos)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Sana-Kliniken in the Ostholstein district by AMEOS* The Bundeskartellamtt has cleared plans by AMEOS Psychiatrie Holding GmbH to acquire Sana-Kliniken Ostholstein GmbH. Sana Ostholstein runs three general hospitals in Fehmarn, Eutin and Oldenburg, and a (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks an urgent injunction to halt a health facility’s acquisition of several national fertility clinics (Virtus / Adora fertility clinics)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC seeks urgent injunction to halt Virtus acquiring Adora fertility clinics* The ACCC has filed proceedings in the Federal Court seeking an urgent injunction to stop the proposed completion of Virtus Health’s acquisition of Adora Fertility from Healius Limited. Virtus and Adora are leading (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between several steel manufacturers (Liberty Ascoval / Liberty Rail Hayange / Saarstahl)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Steel industry: the Autorité clears the acquisition of Liberty Ascoval and Liberty Rail Hayange by the Saarstahl Group* On 11 June 2021, the German Saarstahl Group notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its plan to acquire the steel companies Liberty Ascoval and Liberty Rail Hayange. The (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the dairy sector between an agricultural cooperative and an ultra-fresh dairy products producer (Yoplait / Sodiaal)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the takeover of Yoplait by Sodiaal (Candia, Entremont, Régilait…)* Sodiaal cooperative group notified the Autorité de la concurrence on 3 September 2021, of its plan to acquire control of the Yoplait group (excluding US activities). After its review, the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority gives its green light to a proposed acquisition in the healthcare transcription sector (Microsoft / Nuance)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Nuance not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Nuance Inc. by Microsoft Corporation. Nuance supplies speech recognition and transcription software primarily to the healthcare market, as well as customer engagement software that (...)

The Australian Competition Authority investigates the impact of a completed acquisition on the supply chain for bulk grain export through the Port of Newcastle (Qube Logistics / Newcastle Agri Terminal)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC investigates Qube’s completed acquisition of Newcastle Agri Terminal* The ACCC will conduct an investigation into potential competition issues arising from Qube’s (ASX: QUB) completed acquisition of the Newcastle Agri Terminal. As the investigation relates to a completed acquisition it will (...)

The French Competition Authority clears the creation of a joint venture in the sector of public charging stations for electric cars in the Antilles and French Guiana (AGI / EDF PEI / Genak / SAFO)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
For the first time, the Autorité de la concurrence is studying the markets for electric vehicle charging stations* It has cleared the creation of a joint venture in the sector of public charging stations for electric cars in the Antilles and French Guiana. Background The Autorité has cleared (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves a €173 million aid scheme for charging and refuelling stations for zero and low emission vehicles in Poland
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €173 million aid scheme for charging and refuelling stations for zero and low emission vehicles in Poland* The European Commission has found Polish plans to invest into electric charging and hydrogen-refuelling infrastructure for zero and low emission vehicles to (...)

The EU Commission approves €31.9 billion Italian scheme to support companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission approves €31.9 billion Italian scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €31.9 billion Italian scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary (...)

The EU Commission approves €700 million French scheme supporting certain retailers and services affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €700 million French scheme for certain retailers and services affected by the coronavirus pandemic* The European Commission has approved, under the EU state aid rules, a €700 million French scheme to support certain retailers and services affected by the (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on draft amendments to the General Block Exemption Regulation to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites comments on draft proposal to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition* The European Commission is inviting Member States and all other interested parties to comment on certain proposed amendments to the General (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the General Court’s classification of the Spanish tax rules on the amortization of financial goodwill as State aid incompatible with the internal market (Deutsche Telekom / Banco Santander / Sigma Alimentos Exterior / Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad / Duty Free Group / Banco Santander / Santusa)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice dismisses the appeals brought against the judgments of the General Court upholding the classification of the Spanish tax rules on the amortisation of financial goodwill as State aid incompatible with the internal market* In 2007, after a number of written questions had (...)

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