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 November 30, 2022, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) closed the proceedings initiated on December 1, 2020 against Bancomat S.p.A. (“Bancomat”). Bancomat is an Italian company that operates the Bancomat and PagoBancomat circuits, which can be used to make withdrawals at Automated Teller Machines (“ATMs”) as well as cashless payments through so-called Points of Sale. In its decision, the ICA found that Bancomat’s proposed new remuneration model for circular withdrawal (the “Proposal”), brought to attention of the ICA by Bancomat itself on October 22, 2022, infringed Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (the “TFEU”).[1]

In a judgment delivered on November 18, 2022 (the “Judgment”),[1] the Council of State partially upheld an appeal against a judgment of the Regional Administrative Tribunal of Lazio (the “TAR Lazio”) that had confirmed an ICA decision imposing a €2,817,890 fine on a company (MS) for an anticompetitive agreement in the corrugated cardboard packaging market (the “Decision”).[2] The Judgment is the first to be delivered in as many as 25 parallel appeals against the Decision.

On October 24, 2022, the Council of State[1] confirmed on appeal the annulment of a 2020 decision, by which the ICA had imposed a fine on CTS Eventim-TicketOne Group (“TicketOne”) for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the Italian market for the provision of ticketing services for pop music concerts.[2]

On October 11, 2022, the ICA closed an Article 102 TFEU investigation into Mastercard Europe SA (“Mastercard”)’s conduct by accepting the commitments offered by Mastercard relating to its double-tap mandate for contactless payments with co-badged payment cards (i.e., cards that can be used on more than one payment network) (the “Decision”),[1] which precluded retailers operating point-of-sale (“POS”) terminals from accepting single-tap payments from co-badged cards.

On October 3, 2022, the Regional Administrative Court for Latium (the “TAR Lazio”) annulled the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) of November 16, 2021 (the “ICA Decision”),[1] by which a fine of €134.5 million was imposed on Apple Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries (“Apple”) and a fine of €68.7 million on Amazon.com Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries (“Amazon”; together with Apple, the “Parties”).[2] The ICA Decision had found that the Parties infringed Article 101(1) (b) and (d) TFEU by restricting competition by certain resellers of Apple products, including those of the Apple-owned brand Beats, which operated on the online marketplace of Amazon (the “Amazon Marketplace”). The ICA found Amazon Marketplace to be a leading online marketplace in Italy, for consumer electronics products.[3]

On September 30, 2022, the Council of State upheld the appeals submitted by Sicuritalia S.p.A., Lomafin Sicuritalia Group Holding S.p.A., Italpol Vigilanza S.r.l. and Mc Holding S.r.l. (the “Appellants”),[1] and annulled a decision of the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) on alleged bid-rigging in open tender procedures for the provision of private security services in certain Italian regions.[2]

On September 13, 2022, the ICA closed an investigation into an alleged abuse of dominance in the domestic market for the management of the recycling of polyethylene (“PE”) goods by the POLIECO consortium (“POLIECO”), the incumbent operator for end-of-life management of PE goods on behalf of producers and users, by accepting and making binding the commitments offered by POLIECO.[1]

On August 5, 2022, the Italian Parliament adopted Law No. 118, the “2021 Annual Competition Law” (the “ACL”). The ACL, which will enter into force on August 27, 2022, amends the Italian Competition Law (Law No. 287/90) in various respects.