UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) completes its review of Meta’s Giphy deal
In November 2021, the CMA found that Meta’s acquisition of Giphy could harm social media users and advertisers and ordered Meta to sell Giphy. After Meta’s appeal, the Competition Appeal Tribunal noted that the CMA’s finding that the transaction may substantially harm competition was lawful, but also found that the CMA breached Meta’s right to defend itself, stating that it “wrongly excised portions from the Decision” as the CMA tried to remove the confidential information of third parties. After the remittal process, the CMA again ordered Meta to divest Giphy.
Pharma companies under the microscope
Amazon facing a GBP 900 million class action
A class action claim in the UK for damages of up to GBP 900 million has been announced, alleging that Amazon abused its dominant position by self-preferencing. The claim focuses on Amazon’s “Buy Box” feature, with the allegation that it “artificially promotes certain items above the rest in response to user searches”.
No-poaching fine in Poland
Poland’s competition authority has fined the Polish Basketball League and its 16 clubs for violation of competition law in the labour market.
The European Commission approves USD 16 billion acquisition of Swedish Match by Philip Morris International
Philip Morris and Swedish Match are suppliers of tobacco and nicotine products. Swedish Match holds a de facto monopoly on the distribution of tobacco and nicotine products in Sweden through its subsidiary SMD Logistics, while Philip Morris is a leading supplier of combustible tobacco. To address the Commission's concerns that the transaction could lead to foreclosure effects in Sweden, Philip Morris offered to divest Swedish Match's logistics arm, SMD Logistics, to a pre-approved buyer. As the proposed commitment fully removes to vertical links between the parties, the Commission granted its conditional approval.
Competition authorities in Spain and Portugal collaborating
After a meeting to reinforce their strategic cooperation, the Spanish and Portuguese authorities carried out simultaneous on-site inspections in Spain at the premises of a woodchip company. The Portuguese authority announced that “they are investigating possible market-sharing agreements and exchange of sensitive commercial information that could affect both the Portuguese and Spanish markets”.
Sweden’s Competition Authority issues fines for the first time
Sweden’s Konkurrensverket was granted the power to take decisions in March 2021 and this month imposed its first fines in a case concerning bid-rigging in the municipality of Ulricehamn. It was found that the two taxi companies involved in the case coordinated their bids for a tender conducted by the municipality of Ulricehamn to procure mobility transportation services. The Swedish authority imposed fines, albeit relatively low amounts considering that the companies’ financial situations are perilous.
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