The following note highlights certain barriers to free trade flows between the UK and the EU that have arisen in the post-Brexit era, with particular reference to rules of origin and origin procedures. It assesses the consequences these new rules will have in determining market power, influencing supply chain practices, and the application of UK and EU competition law in the future.
This month has so far seen two significant actions taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division (Antitrust Division) on wage-fixing and no-poach litigation and enforcement matters, which has shed additional light in an enforcement area that has needed it. Over the last few weeks, the Antitrust Division both served up its first indictment in a criminal wage-fixing case, and filed an amicus brief in a “no-poach” case to clarify its view of how the law should be interpreted relating to franchise agreements. Continue Reading A Busy Month for DOJ on No-Poach/Wage-Fixing Enforcement Front
A little over a year after its creation the Procurement Collusion Strike Force has announced its first public indictments. The Strike Force was created to focus on rooting out collusion and related schemes aimed at impeding competition in public contracting. As DOJ made clear when the Strike Force was created, DOJ views price-fixing in government contracting as a particularly harmful since it directly harms U.S. taxpayers. The Strike Force includes prosecutors from both the DOJ Antitrust Division and United States Attorney’s offices, the FBI, and Inspectors General from the Department of Defense, the U.S. Postal Service, and the General Services Administration.
On September 8, 2020, the European Commission (Commission) published its findings of the evaluation of the Vertical Block Exemption (VBER) and the Vertical Guidelines.
(This is a cross-post from Steptoe’s new Investigations and Enforcement Blog.)
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s investigation into price-fixing by generic drug companies continues to remain one of the Antitrust Division’s most active matters. This week the Antitrust Division announced that it had indicted Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. (Teva), the seventh company to reach a resolution with the Antitrust Division in this investigation. Teva is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
In August 2020 Steptoe’s Antitrust & Competition team in partnership with FTI Consulting hosted two webinars to discuss EU consultations which are likely to affect the regulation of digital space across Europe.
On July 14, 2020, the European Commission adopted its 33rd cartel settlement decision: an unusual one involving a purchasing cartel, in the ethylene merchant market. Four companies were found liable for having colluded for over 5 years to drive down the prices in monthly ethylene merchant bidding markets. Westlake was the first to apply to the Commission and received immunity from fines (which would have been about Euro 190M). The other three were fined in aggregate Euro 260M.
What are the interesting features of this cartel decision? Continue Reading An Unusual Purchasing Cartel: EU Fines Ethylene Purchasers
On June 22, 2020 the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (Antitrust Division) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that they had signed an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow for more cooperation and communication between the two agencies.
On June 9, 2020, the UK Competition Markets Authority (CMA) served an initial enforcement order under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002 on Facebook in relation to their completed acquisition of Giphy.
The CMA has explained in a statement that the proposed investigation would explore whether the acquisition might result in “a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the UK.” The UK merger system is a voluntary one, even where the transaction meets the qualification tests for merger review by the CMA. If a qualifying transaction is not notified, the CMA has the power to require parties to suspend implementation, pending a merger review.
Last year, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced that it was creating a Procurement Collusion Strike Force (Strike Force) to focus on bid-rigging in public procurement noting that this area was “particularly vulnerable to collusion.” The creation of the Strike Force followed the Antitrust Division’s recent focus on anticompetitive conduct in government contracting.