On February 23, 2022, the General Court dismissed UPS’ €1.7 billion claim for damages allegedly suffered due to the Commission’s prohibition of the proposed €5.2 billion merger between UPS and TNT Express (“TNT”). Although the General Court had previously annulled the Commission prohibition decision due to procedural deficiencies, it rejected UPS’ follow-on damages claim because UPS failed to demonstrate that it would have secured approval for the TNT transaction absent the procedural breach.[1]

On February 11, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) approved the acquisition of OMV Retail Deutschland GmbH’s (“OMV”) filling station network by the British convenience retailer EG Group Limited (“EG Group”).  The FCO’s approval is subject to the prior divestiture of 25 EG Group filling stations and 23 OMV filling stations in southern Germany.[1]

On February 7, 2022, NVIDIA announced the termination of its agreement to acquire Arm Limited (“Arm”), a UK-based semiconductor design company of the SoftBank Group.[1] Following its announcement in September 2021, the transaction, which would have been the largest of its kind in the semiconductor sector, had attracted significant regulatory interest across the globe.

On January 27, 2022, the Commission conditionally cleared Meta’s (formerly Facebook) acquisition of Kustomer, a U.S.-based Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) software provider.[1] The transaction was initially notified in Austria in March 2021. The Austrian competition authority referred it to the Commission in April pursuant to Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation, and several other Member States subsequently joined the referral.

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.

On January 17, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published a case summary on its two consecutive in-depth-investigations of automotive supplier Dana Inc.’s (“Dana”)[1] proposed acquisition of (a portion of) Modine Manufacturing Company’s (“Modine”)[2] light-vehicle thermal business.[3]  The parties first notified the acquisition in December 2020.

After a review of over two years, on January 13, 2022, the Commission prohibited Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings’ (“HHIH”) acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (“Daewoo”).[1] This is only the tenth prohibition decision in ten years, and the first since 2019.[2]

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.