On February 4, 2022, the Commission released a revised draft dual distribution guidance[1] within the broader context of the ongoing review of EU vertical rules.

On Tuesday, January 18th, FTC Chair Lina Khan and DOJ Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter held a joint press conference in which they announced ambitious plans to review and update the Merger Guidelines, targeting a release of new guidelines before the end of 2022.

On January 12, 2022, former European Central Bank official Benoît Coeuré was appointed President of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) following his hearing by both houses of the French Parliament.[1] He was unanimously appointed by members of the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Assemblée Nationale, while the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Sénat displayed a more balanced distribution of votes (only 12 in favor out of 22 votes cast).

On January 4, 2022, the Cour de cassation confirmed the rulings of the president of the Court of Appeals validating dawn raids carried out in May 2017 by the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) in the rendering sector.[1]

On December 22, 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its annual review for 2021.[1]  As done already on the occasion of the presentation of its Annual Report 2020/2021,[2] the FCO’s President, Andreas Mundt, emphasized again that the protection of competition in the digital economy remains one of the FCO’s top priorities.  He underlined that also merger control will continue to serve as a key tool to achieve this goal.  In addition, he pointed out that the FCO would welcome powers of intervention also with regard to infringements of consumer rights.

The UK Government has stated that the review of mergers in the UK “should be as efficient as possible, focusing its attention on mergers most likely to be harmful to competition and consumers, without unduly hindering benign investment.”[1] To that end, the UK has a voluntary, non-suspensive system of merger control, intended to promote greater flexibility and proportionality than a suspensory regime.

Cleary Gottlieb partners Romano Subiotto QC and Robbert Snelders, in collaboration with our Antitrust practice, are thrilled to present

In a ruling dated December 2, 2021, the Paris Court of Appeals overturned a 2010 decision in which the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) had fined 11 major French banks for colluding on check handling fees, possibly bringing the 11-year saga to an end.  The ruling confirms that the concept of by-object restriction should be interpreted restrictively, in line with a judgment issued by the French Cour de cassation in the same case in 2020.

On 26 November 2021, the CAT ruled on eight sets of proceedings associated with the Mastercard or Visa payment cards schemes. The card schemes are alleged to have set multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) for their schemes at anticompetitive levels and therefore infringed Article 101 and/or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Chapter 1 and/or 2 Prohibition of the Competition Act 1998.