On 21 September 2016, the German Government has introduced a formal legislative proposal (Gesetzesvorschlag – “Government Proposal”) for the reform of the Act against Restraint of Competition (“ARC”; 9th amendment) which builds on the draft proposal (Referentenentwurf – “Ministerial Draft”) of the Federal Ministry of Economics.  It still includes the proposed extension of German merger…

“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” Introduction This quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson might – I sincerely hope after recent events – be applicable to life generally in Brussels in 2017. But not so – I fear – in the world of EU merger control. It…

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) terminated antitrust proceedings against toy manufacturer Lego on July 18, 2016, following Lego’s agreement to change its current rebate system. Lego will enable online retailers to obtain in practice the same amount of discounts as available for brick and mortar shops. The FCO had opened proceedings against Lego based…

With little fanfare, on Friday, 1 July 2016, among a raft of other amendments to the Act against Restraint of Competition (‘ARC’; 9th amendment), the Federal Ministry of Economics proposed a far reaching change to German merger notification thresholds making it one of the few jurisdictions worldwide that take jurisdiction based on the size of…

On Friday, 1 July 2016, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs finally published its draft law implementing the European Union directive governing actions for damages for infringements of competition rules (“Damages Directive”). The drafting process by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, which was formally in charge of drafting the law, took place…

The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see judgment of October 13, 2011, case C-439/09) have been on the agenda in Germany for some time. Recently, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals has submitted a…

On November 18, 2015, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) that supermarket chain Edeka had abused its market power vis-à-vis suppliers by requesting special terms and conditions (“t&cs”) following its acquisition of discounter Plus in 2008 (so-called “wedding rebates”).  The ruling is not yet published, only a…

This blog deals with the 2nd part of the FCO’s discussion paper on internet platforms: possible theories of harm and intervention of competition agencies. For the first part on general concepts please see my previous blog. Merger control The FCO explains that reducing the number of platforms may actually increase competition, due to the easier…

On December 23, 2103, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published an explanatory note on settlement proceedings in antitrust cases on its website. Since 2007, the FCO has increasingly terminated cases through settlements, so the note came rather late. Unlike the European Commission, the FCO has entered into settlement agreements without a specific regulatory basis and…

The FCO published new fining guidelines on June 25, 2013, which have been applied for several months now. However, the guidelines as well as the recent practice do not provide a lot of guidance. The previous fining guidelines followed a similar methodology as those of the European Commission: the FCO first determined a base amount…