On November 15, 2023, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded that Microsoft’s investments in and cooperation with OpenAI, Inc. (“OpenAI”) do not constitute a notifiable merger under German law. 
On May 26, 2023, the first reading of the Government’s amendment to the draft of the Competition Enforcement Act dated April 5, 2023 (“Government Draft 11th Amendment”) was held in Parliament. The Competition Enforcement Act will amend the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”) for the 11th time. The Government has proposed further changes to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action’s draft published in September 2022 (“Draft 11th Amendment”). This blog post outlines the changes proposed by the government to the Draft 11th Amendment, following on from an earlier blog post on the Draft 11th Amendment (available here).
Cleary Gottlieb senior attorney Philipp Kirst contributed the chapter “The application ratione temporis of the Directive’s provisions and conflicting limitation periods under national laws” to the Research Handbook on Private Enforcement of Competition Law in the EU, published by Edward Elgar Publishing.
On August 30, 2022, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its Annual Report 2021/2022. Andreas Mundt, the President of the FCO, pointed out two areas of the FCO’s focus: First, the collusion of undertakings under the guise of inflation and Russia’s war against Ukraine. Second, to use the flexibility of antitrust law to allow for a degree of cooperation that is necessary in times of crisis. Moreover, the FCO continues to pursue its digital agenda for the digital economy and the protection of consumer rights.
After publishing its preliminary finding in February 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) recently prohibited the Deutsche Lufthansa AG group (“Lufthansa”) from terminating longstanding cooperation agreements with Condor Flugdienst GmbH (“Condor”). Under the cooperation agreements, Lufthansa is obliged to provide feeder flights to Condor’s long-haul passengers.
On September 26, 2022, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action published a draft of the Competition Enforcement Act which will amend the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”) for the 11th time (“Draft 11th Amendment”). The aim of the Draft 11th Amendment is to strengthen the Federal Cartel Office’s (“FCO”) enforcement powers beyond the existing enforcement of antitrust and abuse of dominance violations.
On January 18, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office published a press release of its review of two sustainability initiatives. Only a week later, on January 25, 2022, the FCO provided further guidance for the implementation of sustainability initiatives under competition law: It concluded that a proposed agreement in the milk sector to introduce surcharges for the benefit of milk producers was anticompetitive.…
With the examination of two sustainability cooperations concerning living wages in the banana sector as well as the expansion of an animal welfare initiative, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) provided further guidance for the implementation of sustainability initiatives in the food retail industry.
Cleary Gottlieb associate Philipp Kirst authored the book, The Impact of the Damages Directive on the Enforcement of EU Competition Law, which was published in the New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series by Edward Elgar Publishing.