EU Competition Review 2019

OVERVIEW


McDermott’s Annual European Competition Review summarizes key developments in European competition rules. During the previous year, several new regulations, notices and guidelines were issued by the European Commission. There were also many interesting cases decided by the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. All these new rules and judicial decisions may be relevant for your company and your day-to-day practice.

In our super-connected age, we can be inundated by information from numerous sources and it is difficult to select what is really relevant to one’s business. The purpose of this review is to help general counsel and their teams to be aware of the essential updates.

This review was prepared by the Firm’s European Competition Team in Brussels and Paris. Throughout 2019 they have monitored legal developments and drafted the summary reports.


CARTEL & RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS


  • Commission fines Mastercard Eur 570m for limiting access to cross-border card acquiring services
  • Commission accepts Mastercard, Visa commitments on minimum inter-regional interchange fees
  • Commission fines car safety equipment suppliers Eur 368m
  • Commission accepts commitments by Hollywood studios and Sky on cross-border pay-TV services
  • GCEU requires the Commission to state reasoning at each stage of fine calculation so that equal treatment of all the cartelists is reflected
  • CJEU clarifies application of damages directive before and after implementation
  • Communications through professional online platforms found to be illegal conduct
  • Commission fines Sanrio Eur 6.2m for restricting out-of-territory licensee sales
  • Commission loses attempt to reinstate cartel fine imposed on ICAP
  • CJEU clarifies national courts’ jurisdiction to hear cartel damages actions
  • French tribunal fines Amazon for imposing significant imbalance on third-party sellers
  • Commission fines participants in canned vegetables cartel
  • CJEU dismisses appeal to suspend Commission investigation
  • Persons that grant loans on cartel-affected market may claim damages

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ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION


  • CMA finds no grounds for action in Remicade discount scheme
  • Commission fines Google for abuse of dominant position in online search advertising intermediation
  • Commission fines Ab Inbev Eur 200 million for abusing its dominant position by preventing parallel imports
  • Commission fines Qualcomm, and signals commitment to fighting predatory pricing
  • Commission imposed interim measures on Broadcom: the re-awakening of a once-dormant tool?

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MERGER CONTROL


  • CJEU upholds annulment of Commission’s prohibition decision in UPS/TNT Express
  • Big is beautiful . . . Or maybe not: the Siemens/Alstom railway merger
  • Commission fines General Electric for providing incorrect information in LM Wind acquisition
  • M&A and “Parking” structures: Commission fines Canon for gun jumping
  • Commission blocks merger of steelmakers Thyssenkrupp, Tata steel

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STATE AID


  • GCEU annuls Commission decision on Belgian excess profit exemption system

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LEGISLATIVE & POLICY DEVELOPMENTS


  • Commission Report: Competition enforcement promotes affordable, innovative medicines
  • European Union adopts new framework for foreign direct investment screening
  • Commission publishes report on competition policy in the digital era
  • EU citizens and stakeholders voice opinions on EU competition rules for horizontal agreements

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