The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Tuesday 12 May 2020. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:


Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (12 May 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Wednesday 6 May 2020. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

  • Today’s EU updates:


Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (6 May 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Thursday 30 April 2020. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

  • Today’s EU updates:
    • The Court has announced that it intends to resume hearings on 25 May 2020.
    • The Commission has cleared a further number of State aid requests by Member States.  Skip to relevant section.


Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (30 April 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Friday 24 April. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

  • Today’s EU updates:
    • The German government intends to prolong merger procedure time periods, extending phase I investigations to two months and in-depth phase II investigations to six months. The new law will apply to all mergers notified between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2020. The underlying reason is the significant impact of COVID-19 on the Federal Cartel Office’s daily operations. Due to contact bans and the temporary closure of businesses, merger control investigations may not be concluded within the usual time periods, which might result in a clearance of concentrations which may significantly impede effective competition. The proposed changes aim to allow the authority to further investigate the markets concerned. Skip to relevant section.
    • The Commission has cleared a further number of State aid requests by Member States.  Skip to relevant section.


Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (24 April 2020)

The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Thursday 16 April. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

  • Today’s US updates:
    • The FTC has temporarily halted proceedings in three administrative antitrust merger challenges — Axon, Juul, and Arch Coal — until June, due to the public health emergency associated with COVID-19. Skip to relevant section.
  • Today’s EU updates:

  • Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (16 April 2020)

    The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Tuesday 14 April. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

    • Today’s US updates:
      • On 13 April 2020, the agencies issued a joint statement announcing that they are on alert for collusion, coordination, and certain unilateral conduct that could harm workers, including doctors, nurses, first responders, and those who work in grocery stores, pharmacies, and warehouses.  Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, the agencies have challenged such practices as wage-fixing, no-poach agreements, non-competes, and exchanges of competitively sensitive information that could harm competition for labor.  The announcement emphasized that, while the DOJ and FTC continue to recognize the need for pro-competitive collaborations during the crisis, they will pursue action against those who “may use it as an opportunity to prey on American workers by subverting competition in labor markets“. Skip to relevant section.
    • Today’s EU updates:
      • In an interview with the Financial Times published on 12 April 2020, European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in charge of Competition declared that the Commission has “no issues” with EU Member States buying shares in companies to prevent takeovers by foreign acquirers, in particular of state-backed enterprises.  She announced that the Commission is going to address this position in a guidance paper probably in June of this year.  In a separate post, the Covington team will be commenting on how this statement impacts on key legal issues such as free movement of capital and State Aid.  We will also seek to explore how this statement relates to the European Champions discussion and the debate that more “critical” goods need to be manufactured in the EU.  Skip to relevant section.
      • The Commission has cleared a further number of State aid requests by Member States.  Skip to relevant section.


    Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (14 April 2020)

    COVID-19 has had a profound effect on supply chains, creating shortages and, in some cases, raising prices of vital medical and consumer products. It is no surprise that consumers, businesses, and government authorities are sounding the alarm about potential price gouging and pursuing those who appear to be exploiting the current crisis. On March 23, President Trump signed Executive Order 13910 under the Defense Production Act, which, among other things, prohibits hoarding of designated materials for the purpose of price gouging. Various federal agencies have warned that they will vigorously prosecute related conduct. Many state authorities have triggered the operation of price gouging statutes or stated their intention to use other available enforcement tools.

    The uncertainty surrounding these competing legal frameworks can present challenges for suppliers of in-demand products at all levels of the distribution chain. There is no uniform definition of the offense of price gouging, which generally refers to opportunistic pricing at above-market rates or dramatic increases of prices for products in critical need. The diverse set of applicable state and federal laws vary in their operation and scope. This alert identifies the key federal and state enforcement risks and provides practical guidance for suppliers and purchasers seeking to navigate these issues.
    Continue Reading Federal and State Price-Gouging Enforcement in the Era of COVID-19

    The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Thursday 9 April. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

    • Today’s EU updates:
        • State aid development: On 9 April, the European Commission has sent to Member States a draft proposal to further extent the scope of the Temporary Framework by enabling Member States to provide recapitalisations to companies in need. Since such public interventions may have a significant impact on competition in the Single Market, they should remain measures of last-resort. They will also be subject to clear conditions as regards the State’s entry, remuneration and exit from the companies concerned, strict governance provisions and appropriate measures to limit potential distortions of competition. The Commission aims to have the amended Temporary Framework in place by next week. Skip to relevant section.
        • The Commission has cleared a further number of State aid requests by Member States.Skip to relevant section.


    Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (9 April 2020)

    The Covington US and EU Competition/Antitrust teams will be updating you regularly, through the Covington Competition blog, on the competition/antitrust law implications – both procedural and substantive – of the COVID-19 crisis in the US and the EU.  This is our update for Wednesday 8 April. Today’s new updates as compared to the previous update are highlighted – these are the headlines:

    • Today’s EU updates:
      • On 8 April, the European Commission published a temporary framework communication to provide antitrust guidance to companies cooperating in response to emergency shortages in critical medical goods related to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The Commission recognizes that tackling these exceptional shocks and avoiding shortages in a timely manner may require the swift coordination of companies in order to overcome the effects of the crisis to the ultimate benefit of citizens. This might, in turn, require either switching or up-scaling production in the most efficient way.  Such coordination would normally be contrary to antitrust rules. However, in the context of a pandemic, such coordination can, with appropriate safeguards, bring important benefits to citizens.  The temporary framework is meant to provide antitrust guidance to companies willing to temporarily cooperate and coordinate their activities in order to increase production in the most effective way and optimize supply of urgently needed hospital medicines. Mindful of the exceptional situation, the EC has been engaging with companies and trade associations to help them in assessing the legality of their cooperation plans and putting in place adequate safeguards against longer-term anti-competitive effects. Skip to relevant section.
      • On 8 April, the EC has issued a comfort letter – to Medicines for Europe (formerly European Generics Medicines Association).  The comfort letter addresses a specific voluntary cooperation project among pharmaceutical producers that targets the risk of shortage of critical hospital medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.  Generic pharmaceutical companies produce the largest part of the critical hospital medicines that are now urgently needed in large scale volumes to avoid shortages.  In the current circumstances, this temporary cooperation appears justifiable under EU competition law, in view of its objective and the safeguards put in place to avoid anti-competitive concerns. Skip to relevant section.
      • On 8 April, DG COMP has announced that it has put in place a number of additional measures to ensure business continuity in relation to merger control filings.  DG COMP encourages parties to discuss the timing of notifications of transactions with the relevant case team.  DG COMP stands ready to deal with cases where firms can show compelling reasons to proceed with a merger notification without delay. Skip to relevant section.


    Continue Reading COVID 19 – US and EU Competition Law Implications (8 April 2020)

    As we now enter the third week of lockdown in the UK, this blog post rounds-up the steps that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and certain other regulators have taken to address the unprecedented challenges facing the country.  This includes targeted relaxation of certain elements of the rules to facilitate essential forms of coordination, for example in relation to grocery supply, in addition to wider guidance on the CMA’s approach to enforcement in respect of COVID-19-related cooperation between competitors.

    While certain, limited, forms of competition may be necessary to address critical supply challenges, getting such cooperation ‘right’ from a competition perspective can be complex. Firms should be aware that competition law continues to remain in force and that regulators have resolved to act against those who take advantage of the current crisis by breaching competition rules.
    Continue Reading Competition law in the time of coronavirus: UK regulators’ response and approach to the COVID-19 pandemic