On February 9, 2024, the General Court[1] dismissed an application from ByteDance Ltd (“ByteDance”), the parent company of social media platform TikTok, to suspend the Commission decision[2] designating ByteDance as a “gatekeeper” under the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”).[3]  ByteDance had argued that compliance with the restrictions on combining data between services (Article 5(2) DMA) and the obligation to provide the Commission with an “independently audited description” of TikTok’s profiling techniques (Article 15 DMA), would lead to serious and irreparable harm.[4]  The General Court found that ByteDance had failed to establish such harm to the requisite standard.  While the General Court order offers little insight into the substantive debate on the scope of the DMA, it showcases the hurdles gatekeepers have to overcome to seek interim relief from the DMA before the European Courts.

In the latest instalment of the Cleary Gottlieb Antitrust Review podcast, host Nick Levy is joined by Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the Competition & Markets Authority.  Their conversation covers a range of topics, including her first year in the role, merger control, Microsoft/Activision, cartel enforcement, judicial review, international coordination, sustainability, and her plans for the future.

On 11 January 2024, the CMA published an overview of its “provisional approach to implement the new Digital Markets competition regime” (Overview), the new regulatory powers the CMA is set to take on once the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill (DMCC) passes through Parliament (see earlier posts here and here). The CMA published this Overview in response to the UK government’s request on 4 January that CMA publish a “high-level plan” for implementing the digital markets competition regime.[1]  

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]

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Antitrust in 2023 was marked by a series of policy developments—some still nascent, some ripe for enforcement for the first time.  In the U.S., the FTC and DOJ finalized their drastically transformed merger guidelines.  In the EU, landmark new digital regulations became applicable for the first time.  And the UK government introduced a bill promising major new digital and consumer protection rules. 

In a unanimous judgment, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales (CoA) reaffirmed the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) power to require overseas companies with no branches in the UK to produce documents and information when investigating suspected anticompetitive conduct.  The CoA considered that not allowing the CMA to obtain information from overseas companies would create a “gaping lacuna” in the CMA’s ability to perform its statutory duties. 

On 14 December 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its first horizon scanning report examining ten trends in digital markets that the CMA expects will be relevant over the next five years and beyond.

The report aims to “draw on available evidence to discuss and present possible future developments and potential implications for competition and consumers”.[1]  The trends focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), interoperability, and privacy.

On December 20, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined Sony EUR 13.5 million for allegations of abuse of dominant position in the supply of video game controllers for its PlayStation 4 (“PS4”) console between November 2015 and April 2020.[1]

On December 20, 2023, the French Cour de cassation ruled that the French Competition Authority’s (“FCA”) Rapporteur Général is required to duly justify its decision to disclose business secrets.[1] Two days later, the Conseil d’État (the French administrative supreme court) requested a preliminary ruling from the Tribunal des Conflits in the same case to clarify whether an action seeking to enforce the right to the protection of business secrets should be heard by a civil or administrative court.[2]