On Tuesday, January 18th, FTC Chair Lina Khan and DOJ Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter held a joint press conference in which they announced ambitious plans to review and update the Merger Guidelines, targeting a release of new guidelines before the end of 2022.

In the 2021 edition of this memo, we wrote that antitrust in 2020 received more political and media attention than at any recent time. 2021 beat that standard in multiple ways, and 2022 looks to continue that trend. In addition to continuing the major tech cases brought under the Trump administration, 2021 saw unprecedented levels of legislative activity in antitrust (both federal and state), competition policy taking a leading position across federal agencies and startling new approaches at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in particular – new approaches that, while they haven’t yet produced a wave of new enforcement actions, have required changes in thinking about and approaching antitrust issues. We expect these trends to accelerate in 2022.

From this month (January 2022), it will be easier for EU Member States to provide government subsidies (also known as “State aid”) for climate and renewable energy projects.  At the same time, the EU is cracking down on public funding for fossil fuels.

In a press release dated December 15, 2021, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) announced the opening of a public consultation on Google’s proposed commitments in the “related rights” case.  These commitments seek to address the preliminary competition concerns expressed by the FCA Investigation Services, who are still pursuing the proceedings on the merits following an interim measures decision issued in April 2020.

On December 9, 2021, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) imposed a €100,000 fine on Mayotte Channel Gateway (“MCG”), the manager and operator of the Longoni port in Mayotte, together with its parent company, Société Nel Import Export, for refusal to comply with an FCA request for information.