Annual European Competition Review 2021 - McDermott Will & Emery

Annual European Competition Review 2021



In our super-connected age, we are inundated with information. It can be difficult to select what is really relevant to one’s business. The purpose of this Review is to provide legal counsel and their teams easy reference guidance on essential EU competition law developments covering key areas of law and policy, to help keep you up to date on the latest requirements.

Inside you’ll find:

Cartels and Restrictive Agreements
From geo-blocking to pay-for-delay agreements and bid-rigging, find out the latest legal developments in restrictive practices. READ MORE…

Abuse of Dominant Position
Excessive pricing in the healthcare sector and a monopoly on online searches are key areas of development. READ MORE…

Merger Control
Gun-jumping remains a real focus for the European courts, with additional judgments on the provision of misleading information in merger proceedings. READ MORE…

State Aid
Transfer pricing and rules governing subsidiaries are hot topics, with the courts keeping an eye on excess profits and tax rate schemes. READ MORE…

Legislative and Policy Developments
Digital markets is the focal point of policy development in Europe, as verticals agreements also come under scrutiny. READ MORE…

Cartels & Restrictive Agreements


  • EC Fines Valve and Five Publishers of PC Video Games for Geo-Blocking, AT.40413, Focus Home – Video Games; AT.40414, Koch Media – Video Games; AT.40420, ZeniMax – Video Games; AT.40422, Bandai Namco – Video Games; AT.40424, Capco – Video Games, 20 January 2021
  • EC Fines Three Railway Companies EUR 48 Million for Participating in Cross-Border Customer Allocation Cartel, AT.40330, Rail Cargo, 20 April 2021
  • EC Fines Investment Banks EUR 371 Million for Participating in European Government Bonds Trading Cartel, AT.40324, European Government Bonds, 20 May 2021
  • “Pay-for-Delay” Agreements Can Be Restrictions of Competition by Their Very Nature, C-586/16 P, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Ranbaxy (UK) v European Commission; C-588/16 P, Generics (UK) v European Commission; C-591/16 P, Lundbeck v European Commission; C-601/16 P, Arrow Group and Arrow Generics v European Commission; C-611/16 P, Xellia Pharmaceuticals and Alpharma v European Commission; C-614/16 P, Merck v European Commission, 25 March 2021
  • CJEU Reduces Fine Imposed in Steel Abrasives Cartel on Grounds of Breach of Principle of Equal Treatment, C-440/19 P, Pometon SpA v European Commission, 18 March 2021
  • CJEU Upholds Fine Imposed on Italmobiliare as Parent Company of Sirap-Gema in Retail Food Packaging Cartels, C-694/19 P, Italmobiliare v European Commission, 15 April 2021
  • CJEU Clarifies Leniency Notice’s Terms: “First Applicant” and “New Evidence”, C-563/19 P, Recylex S.A. v European Commission, 3 June 2021
  • Follow-On Damages: CJEU Rules that Subsidiaries Can Be Held Liable for Parent Companies’ Infringements of EU Competition Law, C-882/19, Sumal, S.L. v Mercedes Benz Trucks España, S.L., 6 October 2021
    CJEU Clarifies End Date of Bid-Rigging Cartel Offence, C-450/19, Kilpailu-ja kuluttajavirasto, 14 January 2021

Abuse of Dominant Position


  • EC Concludes First Excessive Pricing Investigation in Healthcare Sector with Commitments, AT.40394, Aspen, 10 February 2021
  • GCEU Upholds EUR 2.4 Billion Fine Imposed on Google for Abusing Dominant Position in Google Shopping, T-612/17, Google and Alphabet v European Commission (Google Shopping), 10 November 2021
  • CJEU Distinguishes Between Refusal of Access to Infrastructure and Grant of Access on Unfair Terms, C‑165/19 P, Slovak Telekom v Commission; C‑152/19 P, Deutsche Telekom AG v European Commission, 25 March 2021

Merger Control


  • EC Fines Sigma-Aldrich EUR 7.5 Million for Providing Incorrect or Misleading Information in Merger Control Review, M.8181, Merck/Sigma-Aldrich (fines), 3 May 2021
  • EC Rejects Suez’s Gun-Jumping Complaint Against Veolia, M.9969, Veolia/Suez, 17 December 2020
  • Illumina/GRAIL – A New Chapter in European Merger Control, M.10493, Illumina/GRAIL (Interim measures), 29 October 2021
  • GCEU Confirms EC’s Decision Approving, Subject to Conditions, Ziggo/Liberty Global Merger, T-691/18, KPN v European Commission, 27 January 2021
  • GCEU Clarifies Rules on Gun-Jumping, T-425/18, Altice Europe v European Commission, 22 September 2021

State Aid


  • GCEU Confirms Existence of Selective Advantage Granted to Engie by Luxembourg Tax Ruling, T-516/18, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg v Commission; T-525/18, Engie Global LNG Holding Sàrl and Others v European Commission, 12 May 2021
  • GCEU Dismisses Nike’s Application to Annul EC Investigation into Tax Rulings on Transfer Pricing, T-648/19, Nike European Operations Netherlands And Converse Netherlands v European Commission, 14 July 2021
  • CJEU Sheds Light on Concept of Aid Scheme in Context of Belgian Excess Profit Rulings, C-337/19 P, European Commission v Belgium and Magnetrol International, 16 September 2021
  • EC Not Required to Examine Whether Reduced Tax Rate Scheme Was Offset by Less Favourable Deduction for Reinvestment of Extraordinary Profits, C-362/19 P, European Commission v Fútbol Club Barcelona, 4 March 2021
  • CJEU Approves Polish and Hungarian Progressive Turnover Taxes, C-562/19 P, European Commission v Republic of Poland; C-596/19 P, European Commission v Hungary, 16 March 2021

Legislative & Policy Developments


  • New EC Guidance: Acquisitions of Nascent Competitors on the Radar
  • New EU Rules for Vertical Agreements: Time for Businesses to Review Their Practices
  • The Proposed Digital Markets Act Regulation