The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has granted a claim for damages by Achilles Information Limited (“Achilles”) against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (“Network Rail”).  The Judgment is the CAT’s first damages award arising from a standalone claim since 2016, and follows the CAT’s earlier finding that Network Rail had breached Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the Competition Act 1998 (the “Act”).

In the 2021 edition of this memo, we wrote that antitrust in 2020 received more political and media attention than at any recent time. 2021 beat that standard in multiple ways, and 2022 looks to continue that trend. In addition to continuing the major tech cases brought under the Trump administration, 2021 saw unprecedented levels of legislative activity in antitrust (both federal and state), competition policy taking a leading position across federal agencies and startling new approaches at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in particular – new approaches that, while they haven’t yet produced a wave of new enforcement actions, have required changes in thinking about and approaching antitrust issues. We expect these trends to accelerate in 2022.

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.