Dublin 5th January – CCPC Publishes Annual Merger Report for 2020.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has published its Annual Merger Report for 2020. The speedy publication of the report which provides statistics on the CCPC’s merger caseload for last year is welcome. The number of mergers notified to the CCPC was down 19% compared to 2019. The report also includes some information on the 33 mergers notified from 2003 to 2020 which were approved on the basis of commitments/undertakings. By definition, these cases raised potential competition concerns. The key question is whether the remedies in these cases have been successful in addressing such concerns. In recent years other competition agencies have conducted a review of merger remedies in order to assess their effectiveness. After 17 years it may be time for a more detailed review of the effectiveness of remedies in Irish merger cases.
The CCPC Report is available at https://lnkd.in/eg6_hp2
Brussels 6th January – EU Commission Launches Consultation on Collective Bargaining for Self-employed.
The EU Commission has launched a consultation entitled Collective Bargaining Agreements for the Self-Employed – Scope of Application of EU Competition Rules. Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and its predecessor, the Competition Authority, have opposed such arrangements in the past for groups such as freelance actors doing voice overs for commercials. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 3rd February.
Details of the consultation are available at https://lnkd.in/eENsxmF
Dublin 11th January – Consultation on Competition Law Review.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has launched a consultation on proposed changes to Ireland’s competition legislation. The planned Competition (Amendment) Bill 2021 will transpose Directive (EU) 2019/1 into law (see the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2021 Public Consultation Document Appendix). In addition, the Bill includes amendments to existing legislation not covered by the Directive, but which seeks to increase the enforcement powers of the CCPC. The consultation is inviting views on these additional amendments only. The closing date for submissions is 29th January.
London 19th January – CMA Publishes New Research on Algorithms.
The Competition and Markets Authority has published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. It is seeking from academics and industry experts on the potential harms to competition and consumers caused by the deliberate or unintended misuse of algorithms. It is also looking for intelligence on specific issues with particular firms that the CMA could examine and consider for future action.
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Paris 1st February – Lego’s French subsidiary settles alleged discrimination case.
Following an investigation by France’s Autorité de la concurrence, the building games company Lego France, a subsidiary of Lego Group, entered into commitments designed to facilitate access for all of its distributors to its “functional discount,” regardless of whether they sell its products in-store or online. Two companies had complained to the Autorité concerning practices adopted by Lego, which markets the famous building games. According to the complainants, Lego had adopted a pricing policy that discriminates against online sellers, particularly pure players. Lego France proposed several commitments to address these concerns. Following exchanges with the Autorité, Lego France substantially modified its initial commitment proposals. Thus, Lego France has committed, for a period of five years, to:
- Redefine the discount award criteria by making them more accessible to all distributors, including to any small stores wishing to develop their online presence or their delivery service; and
- Make its discount system and timetable more transparent for its clients.