The UK Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) is consulting on its draft guidance (“Draft Guidance”) for its proposed Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order (“VABEO”). It invites comments by May 5, 2022.

The Draft Guidance largely maintains the status quo. There are, however, a number of important changes proposed to the current EU Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“VABER”) and related guidelines, which the Draft Guidance will replace.

There are also a number of divergences from the draft text and guidelines for the EC’s new VABER, the consultation process for which is running in parallel with the CMA’s process. In particular, the CMA takes a different approach to “wide MFN” provisions and to the EC’s controversial proposals regarding dual distribution and platforms (online intermediaries).

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