Exchanging information with competitors can be a minefield. On 29 November 2022, the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) fined Norway’s four largest book publishers and a database provider a total of NOK 545 million (approximately EUR 52 million) in a unique hub-and-spoke information exchange case. This is only one of several information exchange cases being pursued…

The impressive acceleration in mergers and acquisitions, combined with the promotion of disruptive business strategies, has put the ‘regulatory gap’[1] paradox at the heart of the current European merger control policy debate. While the current EU merger control regime risks fragmentation with the advent of the new Guidance on Referral Mechanism and the Digital Markets…

On 21 October 2022 the Spanish CNMC imposed a fine of 38.9 million EUR on MERCK SHARP & DOHME DE ESPAÑA, S.A. and its parent company MSD HUMAN HEALTH HOLDING, B.V. (hereafter jointly ‘MSD’) for abusive practices in the Spanish market of contraceptive rings. Their breach consisted in having made baseless court claims with the…

Sustainability as a policy priority It is no news that sustainability is an important topic of competition policy across the EU. There is clear consensus that competition law enforcement should be careful not to hinder cooperation between companies, even competitors, that facilitates the realisation of or progress towards reaching sustainability goals of climate policy (or…

The final text of the DMA, after the Council’s final approval last 18th July, opened up, yet again, speculation on its enforcement. Although the Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton promptly confirmed that DG Connect would be the Directorate to apply and oversee the compliance of the DMA’s rules and obligations, several questions still…

Two Germans meet in Graz to discuss private enforcement of competition law in the EU. Tune in for the first in-person interview of the competition edition of the International Law Talk Podcast. On a warm summer day in June, I interviewed Thomas Thiede on our favorite topic: private enforcement of competition law and its newest…

In its judgment of 25 February 2021 in the case of Slovak Telekom, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) reaffirmed its jurisprudence on the ne bis in idem rule and clarifies its relationship and functioning with art. 11 (6) of Regulation 1/2003. Judging from the facts as they are presented in the ECJ’s ruling, the…

On 10 December 2020, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) announced that it has launched a pilot investigation into the role of algorithms in commercial interactions between market players and the impact on market behaviour these algorithms may have. The ACM intends to put this knowledge to use in order to inform market…

On 25 November 2020, the French Competition Authority (FCA) announced that it was amending its decision-making practice regarding responses to calls for tenders by subsidiaries of the same group. Up until now, the FCA considered that it was unlawful for subsidiaries of the same group to submit separate tenders in the same public procurement procedure…

EU FDI Screening Regulation: separating security from competition The Regulation 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union (EU FDI Screening Regulation) was adopted on 19 March 2019 and became fully operational on 11 October 2020. Its adoption was prompted by the concerns of various stakeholders alleging the existence…