In the latest instalment of Cleary’s Antitrust Review, host Nick Levy is joined by Dr. Jorge Padilla, one of Europe’s leading antitrust economists.  Their conversation covers Jorge’s 30-year career, the evolution in the application of economics and the use of economists in European merger control, the scope for advancing economic evidence in antitrust cases, the role that economics can play in enabling agencies to take account of sustainability objectives, and the impending regulation of digital platforms.

Listen below, or select from the following links:

Cleary Gottlieb partner Nicholas Levy and associates Anita Magraner Oliver and Conor Opdebeeck-Wilson co-authored the “European Union” chapter in The Merger Control Review, Ed. 14, published by The Law Reviews.

The authors begin their examination of the topic by saying, “On 21 September 1990, the EC Merger Regulation entered into force, introducing into EU competition law a legal framework for the systematic review of mergers, acquisitions and other forms of concentration. The EC Merger Regulation has been transformative, effecting significant and permanent change to EU competition law and practice. This chapter contains a short introduction to the principal provisions of the EC Merger Regulation and identifies certain of the most important developments in its recent application.”

Read the chapter and learn more about the full publication here.

On August 17, 2023, the European Commission (EC) decided to review Qualcomm’s acquisition of the Israeli-based semiconductor company Autotalks, even though the deal was not reportable at EU or Member State level.  Just one day later, on August 18, 2023, the EC also accepted jurisdiction over another non-reportable deal – European Energy Exchange’s (EEX) acquisition of Nasdaq’s European power trading and clearing business (Nasdaq Power).

Continue Reading European Commission asserts merger control jurisdiction over non-reportable deals for first time after Illumina/Grail

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.[1]

Continue Reading The French Competition Authority unconditionally approves the creation of an airport catering joint venture between Aéroports de Paris and British caterer Select Service Partner following an in-depth investigation

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.[1]

Continue Reading The French Competition Authority conditionally approves the acquisition of Sirestco Group by Areas Group in the provision of highway catering services

The new draft guidelines depart from decades of practice by introducing novel presumptions that could make it harder for mergers to obtain regulatory clearance from the agencies.

On July 19, 2023, the FTC and DOJ published draft merger guidelines.[1]  Historically, the purpose of these guidelines has been to provide the public, including companies whose transactions are potentially subject to agency review, with information about how the agencies analyze mergers to identify potential competitive harm.  The guidelines have no force of law and are not binding on the courts, though courts have relied on them as persuasive authority to varying degrees.  Past iterations of the guidelines have therefore provided a neutral explanation of the agencies’ approach, including descriptions of the economic tools that they and the courts can use to assess a merger’s likely competitive effects.

Continue Reading FTC & DOJ Propose Radical Changes to Merger Guidelines

On 10 July 2023, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dismissed an appeal by Canadian software company Dye & Durham’s (D&D) against a decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to reject a proposed “dual-track” remedy.  The case arose out of the CMA’s investigation of D&D’s completed acquisition of TM Group (TMG), which resulted in the CMA requiring D&D to divest TMG to a suitable purchaser. 

Continue Reading CAT Upholds CMA’s Rejection of Dual-Track Remedy Proposal

On July 4, 2023, the Commission conditionally approved, in Phase I, Advent’s acquisition of market research provider GfK through its subsidiary NielsenIQ, after Advent pulled and refiled the merger notification.[1]  The approval is subject to the divestment of GfK’s global consumer panel services (“CPS”) business, excluding Russia.[2]

Continue Reading Commission Approves Advent’s Acquisition of GfK Subject to Divestment of GfK’s CPS Business

In the latest episode of Cleary Gottlieb’s Antitrust Review podcast, host Nick Levy interviews Sir Jonathan Faull.

Their conversation covers Sir Jonathan’s 30-year career at the European Commission, including the early days of the EU Merger Regulation, the legacy of DG COMP’s Modernization Program, which he helped to design in the early 2000’s, the negotiations that preceded the Brexit vote, where he played a critical role in representing the European Union, the future of the European Union following Brexit, and his new career in public affairs.

Listen below, or select from the following links:

On July 13, 2023, the Court of Justice delivered its much anticipated judgment in Commission v. CK Telecoms,[1] setting aside the General Court’s landmark judgment that annulled the Commission’s 2016 prohibition of the proposed 4-to-3 merger between Telefónica Europe Plc (“O2”) and Hutchinson 3G UK Investments Limited (“Three”), the second and fourth largest mobile network operators in the UK, that would have created a new market leader with a combined share above 40%.[2]

Continue Reading CK Telecoms (Case C-376/20): Call for Return to Orthodoxy Accepted by the Court of Justice