On December 19, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined Rolex for having prevented its authorized retailers from selling its products online for over ten years (the “Decision”).[1]  The FCA considered that such a prohibition constituted a vertical agreement restricting competition, rejecting Rolex’s argument that it was necessary to prevent counterfeiting and parallel trade.  The FCA imposed a fine of  €91 million, which is the highest fine imposed to date by the FCA in relation to a prohibition of online sales.  The FCA also investigated whether Rolex had engaged in resale price maintenance between 2011 and 2022, but ultimately rejected this prong of the complainants’ claim for lack of evidence.

On November 9, 2023, the European Court of Justice dismissed, on most grounds, [1] Altice’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment[2] upholding the European Commission’s decision, in 2018,[3] to fine Altice €124.5 million for gun-jumping violations in connection with its acquisition of PT Portugal.  The Court of Justice confirmed that Altice breached the EU Merger Regulation’s notification and standstill obligations by acquiring and exercising decisive influence over PT Portugal prior to obtaining Commission approval.  The Commission had fined Altice €62.25 million for each of the two infringements.  The Court of Justice reduced one of the fines by about €10 million on account of the Commission’s failure to properly state reasons, but the judgment supports the trend toward strict enforcement of EU rules against early implementation of M&A transactions.[4]