On August 8, 2023, following an in-depth investigation (“Phase 2”), the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) unconditionally approved the creation of a full-function joint venture between Aéroports de Paris (“ADP”) and the British caterer Select Service Partner (“SSP”, together “the Parties”) for the operation of catering services at Paris-Orly and Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airports.
On July 27, 2023, the General Rapporteur of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) confirmed the notification to Apple of a statement of objections (“SO”) concerning potential anticompetitive practices in the sector for the distribution of mobile applications, likely to have consequences on several related markets for advertising and consumer services.
On July 25, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) approved, subject to remedies, the acquisition by the Areas Group (“Areas”) of sole control of its French competitor, Sirestco Group (“Sirestco”, together, “the Parties”) in the sector for the provision of highway catering services.
On June 29, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its Opinion on competition in the cloud sector following a sector inquiry. The Opinion examines various practices currently implemented or likely to be deployed in this sector which have the potential to restrict competition. The Opinion provides a blueprint for future investigations, setting out the theories of harm that the FCA may put forward in the context of abuse of dominance, abuse of economic dependency, anticompetitive agreements or merger control cases.
In a ruling dated June 28, 2023, the Cour de cassation upheld the Paris Court of Appeals’ judgment which had reversed the 2010 decision of the French Competition Authority fining 11 banks for an anticompetitive pricing agreement in relation to check processing. The Cour de cassation ruled that the FCA had improperly qualified the agreement as a “by object” infringement when no sufficient degree of harmfulness to competition was proven. This ruling puts an end to a 13-year old judicial saga.
On May 9, 2023, the Conseil d’Etat clarified how the start date of the limitation period applicable to a public entity claiming damages for anticompetitive practices should be determined in a case where the management bodies of that public entity took part in such practices, confirming that the follow-on actions brought by the Île-de-France region following an illegal market sharing agreement was not time-barred.  The Conseil d’Etat held that in the event that the damage suffered by the public entity resulted from practices in which its governing bodies participated, the limitation period could only run from the date on which new governing bodies, not involved in the anticompetitive practices, had acquired sufficient certainty as to the extent of these practices.
In a ruling dated May 4, 2023, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) ordered interim measures against Meta following a complaint by Adloox, in light of suspicions that Meta was abusing its dominant position on the market for online advertising by imposing unfair conditions for accessing its ecosystem, thereby causing serious and immediate harm to both Adloox and other independent ad verification service providers. These interim measures are imposed pending a decision on the merits of the case.
On April 25, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a total fine of €2.95 million on Bongard and the members of its distribution network following a settlement procedure for their participation in two anticompetitive vertical agreements in the bakery and pastry equipment sector.
On January 31, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) presented an interactive network graph tool on its website that identifies references made in FCA antitrust publications (such as decisions, opinions and interim measures published between 2009 2021) to its other publications. The visualization tool (available at: https://sen-codex.dev/) represents these references in the form of a graph interconnecting FCA’s publications with one another.