Archives: Competition Law

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The ACM’s guidance to address competition law concerns for FinTech in the creation of technical standards

Introduction On December 3, 2018, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (“ACM”) published a speech from its board member, Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, regarding potential competition law concerns in the financial technology (“FinTech”) sector. In particular, further to the European Parliament’s study on FinTech and competition law (the “Study”) – as discussed in … Continue Reading

“Four-to-three” mergers no longer taboo? The Commission unconditionally approves the acquisition of Tele2 NL by T-Mobile NL

In November 2018, following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the European Commission (“Commission”) unconditionally approved the acquisition of Tele2 NL by T-Mobile NL, respectively the fourth and third largest players in the Dutch retail mobile telecoms market. The merged entity remains the third largest player in this market after KPN and VodafoneZiggo. This transaction is the first “four-to-three” … Continue Reading

UK Government and CMA research whether online customers are targeted through personalised pricing

On 4 November 2018, the UK government and the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a press release confirming that they will examine the practices of retailers that target online consumers and charge them different prices for the same product through personalised pricing.  Their research will cover a range of products sold online “such as … Continue Reading

A refusal to make a ‘Collective Proceedings Order’ in England can be appealed

In its 13 November 2018 judgment in Merricks v MasterCard, the English Court of Appeal (the CA) determined that a refusal by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to grant a Collective Proceedings Order (CPO) can be appealed to the Court of Appeal. A CPO is the order by which the CAT authorises a class representative … Continue Reading

Advanced Competition Law Conference Brussels – Joint Presentation on Recent EU Cartel Enforcement

On 20 November, Johan Ysewyn and Maria Jaspers (DG COMP) presented the highlights of recent EU cartel enforcement in their annual presentation at the Advanced EU Competition Law Conference in Brussels.  Their presentation covered their now-traditional three pillars: enforcement, policy and court review.… Continue Reading

Land agreements rise up the CMA’s agenda

In October, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) imposed a fine of 1.6 million GBP for a land agreement which it found to infringe competition law. This is the first time that the CMA has taken enforcement action and issued a fine in relation to a land agreement, despite such agreements having been covered … Continue Reading

The CMA’s Paper on Pricing Algorithms, Collusion and Personalised Pricing

On 8 October 2018, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published a Working Paper on the ‘use of pricing algorithms to facilitate collusion and personalized pricing’ (the “Paper”). It follows a number of other initiatives from competition authorities regarding algorithms, including the recent German Monopolies Commission’s proposals regarding pricing algorithms, which was the subject … Continue Reading

IoT Update: BEREC launches public consultation on the ‘Data Economy’

On the 10th October 2018, BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) launched its public consultation on the ‘Data Economy’. This comes at a time when different regulators are increasingly discussing the importance of big data, including the opportunities and risks that it brings about, how these may evolve, and how (and increasingly … Continue Reading

CAT upholds Ping’s fine: lessons on online sales bans

On August 24, 2017, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) fined Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) £1.45 million for breaching UK and EU competition law by instituting a ban on online sales of Ping golf clubs.  Ping challenged the CMA’s decision before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”).  On September 7, 2018, the CAT dismissed the … Continue Reading

The European Commission Publishes Summary Decisions for On-line Resale Price Maintenance Infringements

The European Commission (“Commission”) recently fined Denon & Marantz, Asus, Pioneer and Philips (the “Individual Parties”) a total of EUR 111 million for restricting the ability of online retailers to set retail prices for their products – a hard-core restriction under EU competition law known as “resale price maintenance” or “RPM” (the “Infringement Decisions”). These … Continue Reading

12th Annual Georgetown Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium – Debating the Latest Issues with Covington’s Johan Ysewyn and Jim O’Connell

On 25 September 2018, Covington’s Johan Ysewyn and Jim O’Connell will speak on cartels and merger enforcement, respectively, at the 12th Annual Georgetown Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium in Washington DC. This Symposium serves as a leading forum for in-house and outside counsel, policymakers, corporate executives, economists and academics to discuss the most recent issues in … Continue Reading

The UK Government Issues ‘No-deal’ Competition and Merger Guidance

The UK Government published its highly-anticipated technical guidance on merger review and anti-competitive activity on 13 September 2018 which will apply in the case of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit (the ‘Guidance’). Although brief, it provides market players with some form of practical advice and insights on what to expect, how cases are likely to be divided … Continue Reading

The German Monopolies Commission’s Proposals Regarding Pricing Algorithms

The German Monopolies Commission (Monopolkommission), an independent body advising the German federal government and legislature on competition law and policy, recently published its Twenty-second Biennial Report (“Report”) in which it outlined recommendations to adapt the German legal framework to account for what it characterized as new competition challenges faced by the increasing and irreversible digitisation … Continue Reading

Buying a Pig in a Poke: Financial Investor Antitrust Liability on the Rise

On 5 September 2018, the District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that private equity firm Lion Capital must face trial in class action litigation alongside its portfolio company Bumble Bee Seafoods, in a case alleging price-fixing in the market for canned tuna.  In the wake of the European Court’s judgment in the … Continue Reading

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority gives guidance on future priorities, FinTech and Brexit

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has published its third Annual Competition Report which focusses on its proposals for promoting competition and innovation, particularly with respect to the impact of FinTech on UK financial services. It also addresses the FCA’s ongoing role in supporting the UK Government prepare for Brexit, and uphold an orderly transition as … Continue Reading

UK government publishes “no-deal” state aid notice

On 23 August 2018, the UK government published a  notice, committing the UK to a continued application of state aid rules even in the event of no deal being agreed with the EU on the UK’s withdrawal. The notice explains how EU state aid rules would be transposed into UK domestic legislation. The Competition and … Continue Reading

Compliance Plus? Proposed fine reductions for audited, strengthened compliance programs

Compliance, and in particular competition compliance, remains at the top of in-house counsel’s agenda. In particular, compliance is fundamental to reducing competition law infringements – “prevention is better than cure” – but in-house counsel often face difficulties in getting the appropriate level of support and budget for effective competition law compliance. We have recently published … Continue Reading

Covington Alert: UK Payment Systems Regulator Announces Market Review into Card-Acquiring Services

The UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has announced its intention to carry out a market review into the supply to merchants of card-acquiring services by financial services providers. In this Covington Alert, my colleagues Louise Freeman, Charlotte Hill and Elaine Whiteford look at the powers the PSR holds, why the review has been initiated and … Continue Reading

Concurrences Article – Leniency and Competition Law: An Overview of EU and National Case Law

More than 20 years after the adoption of the first European Commission Leniency Notice, the detection and sanctioning of cartels remains a key feature of the enforcement agenda of the European Commission and – the currently still 28 – European Union national competition authorities. Leniency programmes are a crucial tool in uncovering cartels, with a large … Continue Reading

Germany’s first veto against a foreign investment under new FDI rules

[Updated] On 1 August 2018, the German government was set to block a foreign investment in a German company under the new foreign direct investment (FDI) screening rules for the first time. However, the veto was not required as, on the same day, the Chinese investor withdrew from the deal. Companies involved in M&A activities … Continue Reading

Parental liability in EU cartel enforcement: has the presumption of decisive control become irrebuttable?

Does the General Court’s recent ruling in Goldman Sachs/European Commission provide new guidance on the parent liability of financial investors in cartel cases? Yes and no. Yes, because it shows what will not suffice to avoid parental liability. No, because it is silent as to whether in fact and if so how a financial investor … Continue Reading
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