On 25 January 2024, the Microeconomics Unit[1] of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a report examining competition and market power in UK labour markets (the Report).  The Report is the Unit’s first published work, covering developments in the labour markets over the last two decades.  Over this period, labour markets have changed significantly through the rise of flexible working and the gig economy (defined as labour services contracted through digital platforms), changes in restrictive covenants (contract clauses that restrict what workers can do after they leave their current employer), and shifts in pay-setting policies.  Each of these factors has the potential to impact employer market power.[2]

In the latest instalment of the Cleary Gottlieb Antitrust Review podcast, host Nick Levy is joined by Saverio Valentino, Board member of the Italian Antitrust Authority. The conversation covers Saverio’s first year in the role, the agency’s current priorities, merger control and FDI regulation, cartel enforcement, rights of defence, judicial review, and much more.

On February 27,2024, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its roadmap for 2024-2025 as every year,[1] outlining its enforcement priorities for the year ahead.  The FCA emphasized the need to take action in the same key areas of interest as in 2023[2]: (i) the digital economy, (ii) sustainability and the ecological transition, and (iii) the protection of purchasing power. 

On 24 January 2024, the Department for Business and Trade announced that fake reviews and unavoidable hidden or “dripped” charges will be added to the list of banned practices under consumer law in the UK.  The amendments are intended “to ensure customers can compare purchases with ease, aren’t duped by fake reviews, and have the sting of hidden fees taken away.”[1]

On 1 February 2024, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published a report on a 2023 stocktaking of direct financial services offered by BigTechs[1] in the EU (the Report).  

The Report highlights certain characteristics of BigTech firms, in particular various types of inter-dependencies between BigTechs’ non-financial and financial services offerings, and identifies opportunities and risks flowing from these inter-dependencies. It also records national competent authorities’ supervisory and regulatory observations as well as some initial suggestions how these could be addressed. Lastly, it states that, as a next step, the ESAs will establish a “multi-faceted data matrix” to enhance their monitoring of BigTech firms.