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On 22 October 2018, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had launched a new “Stop Cartels” campaign to educate businesses about anti-competitive practices and encourage people to come forward if they suspect a business has taken part in cartel behaviour, such as fixing prices or rigging contracts. The penalties for engaging in cartel activity can be severe. Businesses found to have been involved in illegal cartels can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover. –Read More–

Introduction On 21 September 2018, the Inner House of the Court of Session, Scotland’s Court of Appeal,  requested a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice as to whether it was possible for the UK to unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 notice to the European Council stating that the UK intended to withdraw from the EU to allow the UK to remain as a Member State of the European Union. This ruling has the potential to be of substantial –Read More–

Introduction The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) handed down its judgment on 7 September 2018 in relation to an appeal by Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) challenging the decision of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) to fine it £1.45 million for breach of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) for a blanket ban on internet sales. The CAT dismissed Ping’s appeal on liability –Read More–

Summary The UK Government published on 24 July 2018 its long awaited White Paper on the proposed new national security screening regime to review investments by foreign investors which may have national security implications. In this article we review the Government’s proposals and ask what it means for foreign investment in the UK. Background The UK currently uses the Enterprise Act 2002 to review mergers on national security and other public interest grounds alongside the competition regime. Following the Chinese –Read More–

On 24th July 2018 the EU Commission passed a decision to enforce the competition rules in yet another case involving the e-commerce sector. This time it fined a number of leading consumer electronics groups including Denon & Marantz and Pioneer, over 111 million euros for a range of resale pricing and other competition law infringements. The level of fines were substantially reduced due to the companies ‘ cooperation with the Commission . The Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry, the results of –Read More–

Introduction and Summary An appeal has been launched against the UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) first decision fining a party for gun jumping. On 20 July 2018, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) announced that Electro Rent Corporation (Electro Rent) had lodged an appeal against the  decision of the CMA to impose a penalty of £100,000 on Electro Rent for failure to comply with an interim  standstill obligation while its completed merger with Microlease was being investigated –Read More–

Hot on the heels of the announcement of a record antitrust fine imposed by the European antitrust regulator upon another US technology company , the European Commission announced on 19th July 2018 that it had sent a Supplementary Statement of Objections to Qualcomm. This is in connection with its predatory pricing investigation against the US technology company which is also the world’s largest supplier of smartphone chipsets This move by the Commission reinforces the Commission’s policy of taking on high –Read More–

On 12th July 2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  announced it was extending its timetable in relation to a number of its ongoing investigations involving anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector. The delay is likely to be due to the recent adverse ruling before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the Pfizer/Flynn cases. The CAT ruled that the CMA had adopted the wrong legal test for ascertaining whether the abuse of excessive and/or unfair pricing under Article 102 TFEU or Chapter –Read More–

On 28 June 2018, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it has applied to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for permission to appeal against the CAT’s judgment on appeals by Pfizer and Flynn against the CMA decision fining them for abusing their dominant positions by charging unfair and excessive prices for phenytoin sodium capsules. On 7 June 2018, the CAT handed down a judgment in which it concluded the CMA’s conclusions on abuse of dominance were in –Read More–

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced on 28th June 2018 that it is taking enforcement action against several hotel booking sites over potential breaches of consumer protection law. The CMA has not named the companies involved in its investigation The CMA states in its press release ( https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-launches-enforcement-action-against-hotel-booking-sites) that its investigation, which began in October 2017, has identified widespread concerns, including: Search results: how hotels are ranked, e.g. the extent to which search results are influenced by factors –Read More–

Increasingly the government is looking to the private sector for innovate ideas in the delivery of public infrastructure. Notably the Department for Transport’s (DfT) “Rail Market Led Proposals – Call for Ideas” paper published in March of this year calls for ideas to develop projects to upgrade and transform rail infrastructure and operation but are they compatible with EU procurement law and how is valuable IPR protected? Market Led Proposals “Market Led Proposals”, such as those being requested by the Department –Read More–

The recent decision by the US Government to pull out of the Joint Committee Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to re-impose sanctions against Iran poses a difficult question for companies in Europe (including subsidiaries of US companies): if they continue business in Iran, will they face enforcement action or imposition of secondary sanctions from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)? However, the pressure of this question may increase if the EU introduces measures to prohibit the application of US –Read More–

On 7 June 2017, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) set aside parts of the Competition & Market Authority’s (“CMA”) decision in relation to the CMA’s finding that Pfizer and Flynn charged excessive and unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules and referred the matter back to the CMA for reconsideration. In doing so, the CAT also quashed the CMA’s record fines of nearly £90 million which it had imposed on Pfizer and Flynn. In December 2016, the CMA issued an infringement –Read More–

The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced that it will spearhead an effort to create a new international antitrust enforcement framework.1  At a June 1st discussion before the Council of Foreign Relations, Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, indicated that the DOJ, in conjunction with U.S. Department of State, the Federal Trade Commission, and other antitrust competition agencies around the world will launch what has been dubbed the Multilateral Framework on –Read More–

Over the last year, we have noted an increased crackdown by competition agencies on so-called “gun jumping” – that is, the implementation of a merger before mandatory merger clearances are received. On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) provided an important clarification on the scope of the gun jumping prohibition under EU merger control and held that steps taken by businesses subject to a merger review that do not give the purchaser any control over the target –Read More–

This week the UK Government enacted two new Orders which lower the UK merger control thresholds under the Enterprise Act 2002. The legislation extends the jurisdiction of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Secretary of State to investigate mergers in certain sensitive sectors of the UK economy which may have national security implications. The new Orders will come into force on 11 June 2018. These Orders will extend the reach of the UK merger control system to deals –Read More–

On 24th April 2018 the European Commission announced that it had imposed a fine of  €124.5 million on Altice, the multinational cable and telecommunications company based in the Netherlands, for implementing its acquisition of the Portuguese telecommunications operator PT Portugal before notification or approval by the Commission (“gun jumping”). This is by far the largest fine imposed by the Commission on a company for gun jumping under the EU Merger Regulation. This case is of significance as it shows that –Read More–

On 26 April 2018, the European Commission (the “Commission“) published a long awaited draft regulation on promoting fairness and transparency in online platforms, introducing some new rules for the operators of platforms (including price comparison websites) which are designed to improve transparency and fairness (the “Regulation“). We take a look at why the Commission is concerned about online platforms and how these concerns are being addressed. Competition law and digital markets Online platforms have long been the focus of competition –Read More–

Summary The Court of Justice of the EU has confirmed that price discrimination by a dominant firm is not in itself illegal under competition law. However, it will infringe Article 102 TFEU if it is capable of distorting competition between the dominant firm’s upstream or downstream trading partners. The judgment provides useful guidance to firms with significant market power, their rivals and trading partners. It remains to be seen whether it will make EU competition authorities more inclined to pursue –Read More–

The European Commission has been closely following the developments in e-commerce. As more and more goods and services are sold online, the Commission finds itself inevitably drawn into regulating the competition rules in this increasing important sector. On 22 March 2018, the Director General of Competition, Mr Laitenberger, set out the Commission’s views on the key challenges it faces in dealing with ecommerce and how it proposes to deal with them in the future. Geo-blocking and price monitoring software The –Read More–

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