Archives: Antitrust Enforcement Agencies

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Radical new UK regulatory regime proposed for big tech

On 20 July 2021, the UK government announced a consultation, titled “A new pro-competition regime for digital markets” (the Consultation), which proposes a number of radical changes that would introduce a new regulatory regime applying to the largest digital platforms operating in the UK. The proposals include formally establishing a Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within … Continue Reading

What do businesses need to know about proposed changes to UK competition and consumer laws?

On 20 July 2021 the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a consultation, which proposes a number of potentially far-reaching changes to competition and consumer law and policy. The proposed reforms set out in the consultation, Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy: Driving growth and delivering competitive markets that work for consumers (the Consultation), … Continue Reading

Stronger antitrust enforcement on non-compete agreements may be on the horizon

The Biden administration’s extensive Executive Order (EO) Promoting Competition in the American Economy encourages federal agencies to restrict the “unfair use” of non-compete clauses (and similar restrictive agreements) that “may unfairly limit worker mobility.” While the EO doesn’t signal any immediate changes to current non-compete agreement or U.S. antitrust laws, we could expect added scrutiny … Continue Reading

Greenwashing: what is a misleading environmental claim and how can companies avoid getting into trouble? 

The practice of making misleading environmental claims (so-called “greenwashing”) carries increasing risk in Europe. The European Commission and national consumer protection and/or competition authorities are more committed than ever to fight it, and a new EU initiative will require companies to substantiate claims they make about the environmental footprint of their products or services. In … Continue Reading

As a multi-agency pharmaceutical task force emerges now is the time for pharmaceutical companies to shape merger control policy

Following a period of relative leniency for pharmaceutical companies, a Multilateral Pharmaceutical Merger Task Force formed by key antitrust enforcement agencies has been established to review and update merger analysis. The task force includes representatives from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Canadian Competition Bureau, the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, the UK’s Competition … Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision weakens FTC’s enforcement authority

On April 22, 2021, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that § 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief (e.g., restitution or disgorgement). This decision denies the FTC one of its most important enforcement tools, one … Continue Reading

Personal liability and competition law: a global view

Becoming a theme of increasing concern, competition regimes from across the globe have started to take new measures to sanction natural persons. To address these latest developments, we have provided a global analysis of the issue in our latest client alert – click here to read the full piece. This update is the third in … Continue Reading

What will post-Brexit competition law enforcement look like?

The EU and UK have very similar systems of competition law enforcement however Brexit has given the UK a degree of autonomy and the opportunity to apply its own rules and regulations independent of the European Commission.  We consider the likely practical impact of Brexit across three key areas of competition enforcement: investigations into violations of … Continue Reading

McCarran-Ferguson Act repeal heads to the president as part of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (CHIRA), previously passed by the House on September 21. If signed by the president, CHIRA would repeal health insurers’ federal antitrust immunity under the McCarran-Ferguson Act for state regulated activity that constitutes the business of insurance. CHIRA preserves some protections … Continue Reading

The COVID-19 pandemic and competition law challenges

The Competition and Markets Authority continues to assert that competition rules have and will continue to apply fully throughout the crisis, even though competition authorities have introduced certain changes in processes which enable flexibility in the approach in which their powers are exercised. But, the uncertainty that still exists around the pandemic makes it difficult … Continue Reading

Recent cases highlight limitations in price-gouging enforcement

Since the start of the global pandemic, state attorneys general continue to actively pursue price-gouging investigations against individuals and entities, but courts seem to be taking a different, more business-friendly approach. Recent case developments and law amendments highlight the fact that price-gouging laws are subject to limitations. Our team explores these issues in our latest … Continue Reading

Third Circuit rejects courts’ authority to award monetary relief under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act

On September 30, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a historic district court award ordering disgorgement of $448 million in profits to consumers of testosterone replacement drugs under Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, adding fuel to the fire of the current circuit split over this … Continue Reading

A client resource guide to navigating global price gouging laws

With reports of excessive pricing on the rise around the globe, it is critical that companies understand the price gouging rules and regulations and their enforcement in each country where they do business. Our team has compiled a global price gouging resource guide to help our clients navigate the differing approaches taken by governments and regulatory … Continue Reading

Price gouging in Europe: what are the rules and how has the pandemic shifted enforcement priorities?

Continuing our podcast series on price gouging laws, members of our global antitrust lawyers focus on the situation around price gouging (excessive pricing) in the EU, France, Germany and the UK in our latest instalment. The COVID-19 crisis has cast new light on excessive pricing practices in Europe, our team explains the impact the pandemic … Continue Reading

Is a robust compliance plan enough to ensure a discount from fines for anticompetitive activity?

In certain jurisdictions, having a tailored and comprehensive compliance programme in place may reduce the size of a fine resulting from anticompetitive activity. Members from across our global competition team have come together to analyse the approaches of key jurisdictions and whether they offer discounts for businesses that have breached competition rules but have a … Continue Reading

Amazon/Deliveroo – when small shareholdings can lead to big issues

At a Glance: The CMA’s conclusion that it has jurisdiction to review Amazon’s 16% shareholding in Deliveroo serves as a reminder that control can arise even at low levels of shareholding. Minority shareholders who enjoy significant influence on the company’s policy direction and strategic commercial decisions may be considered to have sufficient control to trigger … Continue Reading

CMA’s review of market remedies finds breaches across several markets

At a glance The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently taken action against companies that have not complied with market investigation orders and undertakings across a range of industries. The CMA appears to be more actively enforcing against breaches of market investigation orders and undertakings – the remedies imposed by the CMA to address adverse … Continue Reading

What are the risks when increasing prices in times of COVID-19?

When COVID-19 swept the globe and disrupted the production and distribution of goods, it gave way to some companies taking advantage of consumers by significantly increasing prices.  As governments across the world have started taking action against unfair or excessive prices, we examine the global enforcement trends in this space and offer practical advice to … Continue Reading

CMA announces first investigations into COVID-19 price abuse

At a glance First formal action against price gouging in the UK Case will be a test of the fitness of the current legal framework to tackle price gouging Approach to establishing dominance and excessive pricing in the COVID-19 context will impact future enforcement in the UK and possibly in other jurisdictions Amongst the initial … Continue Reading

COVID-19 puts predatory acquisitions in the antitrust crosshairs of U.S. government

As businesses continue to deal with the repercussions of extended lockdowns, the U.S. government is on the lookout for enterprises that may use the pandemic as a cover to pursue anticompetitive endeavors. In April, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act (the Proposed Act) with the aim of … Continue Reading

COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the extension of foreign investment control in Germany with regard to transactions in the health care sector

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy implemented further amendments to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung – AWV) due to the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the buyout of German companies active in the health care and infection protection sectors by investors from outside the EU (or EFTA). The amendment entered into … Continue Reading

Putting their foot down – the CMA’s decision to block JD Sports’ acquisition of Footasylum

Earlier this month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority announced that it has prohibited the completed acquisition by JD Sports of Footasylum. We take a detailed look at the case and consider what the CMA’s third prohibition decision of the year signals for future merger activity in the UK. Read the full client alert here. … Continue Reading

German lawmakers adopt temporary amendments to the German Competition Act to mitigate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in competition law

On 14 May 2020, the German Parliament adopted temporary amendments to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) to mitigate consequences resulting from COVID-19 in the field of competition law. See BT-Drucksache 19/18963. In order to enable the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) to continue investigating mergers and their impact on the market concerned under the … Continue Reading

How are competition law authorities responding to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis?

With COVID-19 sweeping across the globe, competition law authorities and legislative bodies across the world are having to act quickly and flexibly to minimise disruption while ensuring business compliance and consumer protection. In our recent client alert, we take a look at how COVID-19 is shaping the competition landscape from a multi-jurisdictional perspective, honing in … Continue Reading
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