Co-authored by Friederike Melters. Earlier this month, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared dawn raids by the European Commission invalid. The decisions confirm that a “procedural” step like a dawn raid can be appealed by itself and that it can be invalid because of previous procedural mistakes. They tie in with other court decisions, … Continue reading Procedural errors – rich case law and five key takeaways
Cartels are back!?
This week has seen two highlights in cartel investigations: Coordinated international dawn raids in the fragrance industry and a warning to small businesses that they are not exempt from antitrust enforcement. Here are the key reasons why both cases are important. For years, we have observed decreasing numbers of leniency applications, cartel cases and cartel … Continue reading Cartels are back!?
German regulator overturned: No substantial activity in Germany
The ruling was admittedly published already at the end of last year, but I feel it did not receive the attention it deserved, and I was anyway interested in taking a deeper dive: The Higher Regional Court of Duesseldorf found that the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) did not have jurisdiction to review Meta’s acquisition … Continue reading German regulator overturned: No substantial activity in Germany
Legal Professional Privilege and Antitrust
We are back from the break! This post covers a topic dear to lawyers and their clients: Legal Professional Privilege. In a ruling last month, the European Court of Justice clarified – some say expanded – the scope of Legal Professional Privilege, granting greater protection to the lawyer-client relationship. While the ruling did not relate … Continue reading Legal Professional Privilege and Antitrust
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?
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
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?
Three learnings from the EU’s Foreign Investment Control Report
The European Commission has published its Second Annual Report on the screening of foreign direct investments into the EU. The report provides an overview of the current status of foreign investment control, and is accompanied by a (data heavy) Staff Working Document. Here are three learnings from both documents. Just as a reminder: In the … Continue reading Three learnings from the EU’s Foreign Investment Control Report