On 22 April 2024, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a Feedback Statement on the potential competition impacts from data asymmetry between Big Tech firms and firms in financial services. On the same day, Nikhil Rathi, the FCA’s Chief Executive, delivered a speech at the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum on ‘Navigating the UK’s Digital Regulation Landscape’.

On April 17, 2024, the former Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, published a report outlining the future of the EU’s single market (the “Report”).[1]  Letta proposed significant reforms, including the addition of a fifth freedom to spur innovation, consolidation in key sectors to enhance global competitiveness, and a new framework for State aid governance.

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. 

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]

On December 15, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its Revised Leniency Guidelines, which repealed and replaced the 2015 guidelines.[1]  The Revised Leniency Guidelines were adopted as part of the implementation of the “DDADUE” law,[2] the ECN+ directive,[3] and the “Damages” directive.[4]  They aim to provide greater legal certainty for leniency applicants and modernize the leniency application procedure.

On 24 November 2023, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a Call for Input on the potential competition impacts arising from the data asymmetry between Big Tech firms and firms in financial services. The Call for Input follows the FCA’s October 2022 Discussion Paper regarding the potential competition impacts of Big Tech entry and expansion in retail financial services, and its July 2023 Feedback Statement summarising the responses to the Discussion Paper. [1]

On November 8, 2023, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) held the G7 Joint Competition Enforcers and Policy Makers Summit (the “Summit”) in Tokyo.  The focus of the Summit was for the G7 competition authorities and policymakers (the “Authorities”) to discuss effective approaches to enforcing and promoting competition in digital markets.  At the Summit, the Authorities adopted the “Digital Competition Communiqué[1] (the “Communiqué”) and updated the “Compendium of approaches to improving competition in digital markets”[2] (the “Compendium”). 

On October 12, 2023, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) published its Opinion on meal vouchers in response to the Government’s referral under Article L. 462-1 of the French Commercial Code.[1]  The FCA considered that the pricing cap envisaged by the government does not constitute the most appropriate response to market failures, i.e., the existence of entry barriers for potential new market entrants and the monopoly held by the four incumbent issuers. Therefore, the FCA issued five recommendations to address such failures.

On October 5, 2023, Advocate General Rantos delivered his opinion on two questions referred to the Court of Justice by the Portuguese Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court (the “referring court”).[1]  The referring court seeks clarification on whether a ‘standalone’[2] exchange of information between competitors can be classified as a restriction by object under Article 101 TFEU, and whether that classification is permitted where it has not been possible to establish any uncertain or procompetitive effect on competition resulting from the exchange.  The case gives the Court of Justice an opportunity to clarify its recent evolution from a broad and formalistic interpretation of the concept of a restriction by object to a narrower, more  pragmatic interpretation of that concept.[3]