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.

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.

On December 7, 2021, the Commission, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) published a Joint Statement establishing the EU-U.S. Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue (the “Policy Dialogue”).

On 2 September 2020, the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DoJ), the US Federal Trade Commission, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the New Zealand Competition Commission, and the Canadian Competition Bureau signed a framework agreement to improve cooperation in competition investigations.

On June 27, 2019, the Commission imposed two fines totaling €28 million on Canon in the context of its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation (“TMSC”). The first fine of €14 million was levied for Canon’s failure to notify the Commission prior to the implementation of the transaction in violation of Article 4(1) of the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”). The second fine of €14 million, was imposed as a result of Canon implementing the transaction prior to obtaining clearance, breaching Article 7(1) EUMR.

On April 8, 2019, the Commission fined General Electric (“GE”) €52 million for providing incorrect information during its 2017 investigation of GE’s acquisition of Danish wind turbine blade manufacturer LM Wind Power Holdings A/S (“LM Wind”).