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This year marks four years since significant statutory reforms regenerated the UK’s collective actions arena. Following a rocky start to this new regime, it appears that 2019 may finally bring some clarity to potential claimants navigating the first hurdle of competition class actions: the Collective Proceedings Order (‘CPO’) application. This is the first stage in the process whereby the Competition Appeals Tribunal (‘CAT’) considers whether to authorise the proposed class representative to bring the claim…
In January of 2017 a private equity firm, Bencis, was found liable for a portfolio company’s involvement as one of 14 cartelists producing flour in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ruled that while company was a member of Bencis’s portfolio, Bencis was accountable for their antitrust violations.  This case demonstrates the need for private equity firms to ensure that companies they invest in are in full compliance with…
On 25 May 2016 the European Commission published draft legislation aimed at restricting the use of geoblocking and similar practices by websites selling to into the European Union. The European Commission has published a draft regulation aimed at restricting traders from blocking access to websites by customers from other European countries, preventing geographic discrimination through use of different online terms and conditions or refusal of means of online payment. For more information click here to read…
The European Commission (the executive of the EU) recently published the initial findings of its e-commerce inquiry, an investigative process conducted to determine whether and to what extent competition is being restricted or distorted in the sector. The inquiry focused on geo-blocking, a commercial practice whereby online providers block user access to the purchasing of goods or digital content services based on that user’s geographical location. Last year we reported on the EU’s strategy for…
Competition authorities at both European and national levels are turning their attention to markets affecting the retail sector. The shift in focus is illustrated by the recent inquiries by the European Commission into e-commerce and by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the modelling agencies sector, in an effort to discover instances of outright price-fixing, resale price maintenance and restrictions on sales. Typically, sector inquiries are followed by individual investigations, so it is…
In a case regarding Post Danmark’s rebate structure, the European Court provided further guidance on the legality of rebates and discounts offered by dominant firms.  While this case involves bulk mail services, the lessons learned are applicable to a wide variety of industries in determining whether discount structures practiced by market leading firms comply with competition rules. For more information on this topic, please click here.…
In an interview on 9 April 2015, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager indicated that companies who control personal data could come under increased scrutiny from European antitrust authorities. She recognises that considerable sums of money can now be made by companies holding large data sets, commonly known as Big Data, by using the data to create competitive advantage, and plans to put these companies under greater inspection. Big Data, whether provided by users or collected…
As of April 1, 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has acquired new functions and powers in relation to competition including powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 (the 2002 Act) to conduct market studies and make references to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and powers under the Competition Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) to investigate and enforce against breaches of UK and EU competition law. The FCA’s new powers are concurrent with the enforcement…
A decision by the UK’s former competition authority, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT – now replaced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)) to accept commitments to settle its investigation into on-line prices for hotel rooms has been quashed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and sent back to the CMA to decide again. As noted in a previous alert on the case, a striking feature of the commitments given to resolve the original…
On July 9, within just a few hours of the polls closing in the tightly contested presidential election in the world’s third-largest democracy – the Republic of Indonesia – the only two contestants running had claimed victory. Nearly 200 million people in the world’s fourth-largest country had turned out to vote for either the current Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo or former military general Prabowo Subianto. Despite seven of the independently run “Quick Count” exit…