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…

On January 18, 2012, the district court of Bonn ruled on the scope of access to file for third parties in a cartel case under German law. The court rejected the claim insofar as it concerned access to leniency applications. This is a landmark decision. The court upheld the FCO’s practice to refuse access to…

On October 25, 2011, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) fined mills company VK Mühlen AG in the amount of € 23.8 million for price fixing and customer and market allocation with competitors regarding the sale of flour in Germany. In addition, the FCO found that the participants coordinated capacity reductions. This has been the FCO’s…

On May 10, 2011, the FCO fined Interseroh in the amount of €206,000 for having implemented a concentration without merger approval. The decision is the second instance this year in which the FCO imposed a fine for implementing a merger without approval, and the second in which the FCO settled dissolution proceedings. Interestingly, it seems…

The case concerns the question under which conditions the possible future creation of potential competition can be considered to strengthen a dominant position under German merger control rules (see decision of December 22, 2010, VI-Kart 4/09 (V)). The FCO had prohibited a merger between two local publishers that were active in separate, but neighboring geographic…

From December 2010 to February 2011, the FCO investigated a planned settlement between the parties to a tender dispute in the public transport sector. The FCO suspected that the planned settlement would infringe the cartel prohibition (“buying competition”). The FCO issued a case report on February 25, 2011. The case illustrates that the FCO, which…

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) fined three manufacturers of fire-fighting vehicles on February 10, 2011, imposing € 20.5 million in total. The FCO found that the companies had engaged in bid rigging since 2001 (price-fixing, quota agreements and market sharing). As usual, the FCO did not only fine the companies, but also the individuals…