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.

In the latest instalment of the Cleary Gottlieb Antitrust Review podcast, host Nick Levy is joined by Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the Competition & Markets Authority.  Their conversation covers a range of topics, including her first year in the role, merger control, Microsoft/Activision, cartel enforcement, judicial review, international coordination, sustainability, and her plans for the future.

On 11 January 2024, the CMA published an overview of its “provisional approach to implement the new Digital Markets competition regime” (Overview), the new regulatory powers the CMA is set to take on once the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill (DMCC) passes through Parliament (see earlier posts here and here). The CMA published this Overview in response to the UK government’s request on 4 January that CMA publish a “high-level plan” for implementing the digital markets competition regime.[1]  

More than one and half year after the amendments to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (the “AML”) came into effect, the State Council of China approved on December 29, 2023 and published on January 26, 2024 revisions[1] to China’s merger control notification thresholds (the “State Council Order”).[2]

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Antitrust in 2023 was marked by a series of policy developments—some still nascent, some ripe for enforcement for the first time.  In the U.S., the FTC and DOJ finalized their drastically transformed merger guidelines.  In the EU, landmark new digital regulations became applicable for the first time.  And the UK government introduced a bill promising major new digital and consumer protection rules. 

In a unanimous judgment, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales (CoA) reaffirmed the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) power to require overseas companies with no branches in the UK to produce documents and information when investigating suspected anticompetitive conduct.  The CoA considered that not allowing the CMA to obtain information from overseas companies would create a “gaping lacuna” in the CMA’s ability to perform its statutory duties. 

On 14 December 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its first horizon scanning report examining ten trends in digital markets that the CMA expects will be relevant over the next five years and beyond.

The report aims to “draw on available evidence to discuss and present possible future developments and potential implications for competition and consumers”.[1]  The trends focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), interoperability, and privacy.

On December 21, 2023, the Grand Chamber of the CJEU delivered a judgment on the interplay between public procurement rules and competition law.[1]  The judgment replies to questions raised on a preliminary reference by the Portuguese Supreme Administrative Court on the interpretation of Article 57(4) of the Public Procurement Directive (“PPD”),[2] which states that tendering authorities may exclude from participation in a procurement procedure any economic operator involved in anticompetitive behaviour.  The judgment provides the following clarifications: