Refineries and fuel wholesale: More reason for new regulatory powers?

The German Bundeskartellamt has published an interim report on its ongoing investigation into fuel refinery and wholesale. While the regulator has so far found no indications of illegal agreements on prices, it will continue to investigate whether market participants might have breached antitrust law. At the same time, the findings could fuel (no pun intended) … Continue reading Refineries and fuel wholesale: More reason for new regulatory powers?

Leaky towards the press, rigid towards China: German FDI review in movement

German foreign investment control has taken centre stage in the last two weeks: After the German government just about (partially) approved a limited Chinese investment in the Hamburg port, this week it has set out to prohibit two Chinese acquisitions in the semiconductor space. Not only the number of difficult reviews in a very short … Continue reading Leaky towards the press, rigid towards China: German FDI review in movement

Comeback of leniency: More than a first step?

The decreasing number of leniency applications seems to be one of the main concerns of antitrust regulators (and private litigation firms) these days. Many argue that leniency applicants are an easy target for civil damage claims and need to be better protected in order to increase the number of leniency applications. Whilst this debate is … Continue reading Comeback of leniency: More than a first step?

Joint ventures – an antitrust-free zone in the future?

One question discussed (not only) by antitrust practitioners from time to time is whether and to which extent Art. 101 TFEU applies in the relationship between a joint venture and its parent companies. The European Commission addresses the issue in the Draft Horizontal Guidelines (on which we have already blogged here and here). This post … Continue reading Joint ventures – an antitrust-free zone in the future?

Sighting of a rare animal: Clearance for a transaction that raises concerns

In (EU/German) merger control, M&A deals that significantly impede effective competition are to be prohibited. That rule is set in stone. Right? Not entirely: The German Bundeskartellamt has cleared a transaction that it would generally have had to prohibit, making use of a rarely used provision in German merger control. The case (Westenergie/Rheinenergie) was about … Continue reading Sighting of a rare animal: Clearance for a transaction that raises concerns

Regulators got it wrong: Courts reduce fines across Europe

The question of whether to appeal a cartel fine in court is often not an easy one for the companies involved – not least because some courts in Europe even have the power to increase fines. To give companies new “hope” for the future, this post brings together a number of recent court decisions across … Continue reading Regulators got it wrong: Courts reduce fines across Europe

Killing acquisitions in the digital age?

Every year, the German Bundeskartellamt invites its “Working Group on Competition Law” to gather and discuss a certain topic. It was that time of the year again last week, when the group came together to debate “Merger control in the digital age - Challenges and development perspectives.” Here is an attempt at reading the tea … Continue reading Killing acquisitions in the digital age?

Cooperations – more room in times of crisis?

On this blog, we already observed that cooperations between competitors – be it on the purchasing or selling end – have become a welcomed alternative to M&A projects, especially in times of crisis. Two recent cases of the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) give helpful guidance on if and how cooperations can be justified even … Continue reading Cooperations – more room in times of crisis?