The Swedish Competition Authority has fined a lighting products brand for anti-competitive vertical restraints as it tried to control the pricing of a retailer’s online distribution. In other news, the EU Commission has approved the automobile PSA-FCA merger subject to conditions to ensure continued competition in the small light commercial vehicles market, while opening an in-depth-investigation of the proposed merger between major insurance brokerage services providers Aon and Willis Towers Watson. A study estimates that a single digital EU banking market would reduce financial services costs with 12%.
The EU Commission has proposed new Digital Services andDigital Markets Acts which, if approved, will set rules about illegal content and advertising transparency and will provide strong tools against unfair business practices. In other news, the EU Commission has approved Google’s acquisition of Fitbit subject to conditions. In Sweden, the Competition Authority has sued dairy producer Arla for an information exchange, sued Malmö municipality for a direct procurement, and initiated a phase-II-investigation of the Altia-Arcus merger, while the court has ordered Hässleholm municipality to stop its anti-competitive behavior.
The EU Commission as fined Teva and Cephalon for an agreement to delay a generic drug. Cephalon has since been acquired by Teva in 2011, but long before that Teva delayed a generic version of Cephalon’s bestselling drug Modafinil for which European patents expired in 2005. In other news, the Court of Justice has ruled that Star Taxi App provides an information society service. The EU Commission has approved the SRF-Covage acquisition, has published a report on the implementation of the Damages Directive and has notified Sweden that the Transport Agency’s definition of “closest suitable railway station” is not in line with an EU Directive.
The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) has halted the auction of 5G licenses at the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz band pending a decision from theAdministrative Court of Appeal on whether PTS is allowed to exclude bids including equipment from Huawei and ZTE. In other news, the EU Commission has stepped up action against Amazon with a Statement of Objections and the opening of a second formal investigation. The Swedish Competition Authority is about to be granted enhanced powers, but the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises wants further legal changes to combat anti-competitive sales activities by public entities.
The EU Commission has sent a Statement of Objections for alleged predatory pricing by České dráhy (ČD), the state-owned Czech rail incumbent, which appears to have set prices below costs to drive out two competitors on the Prague – Ostrava route. In other news, the Swedish Competition Authority has no objections to the Swedish Transport Administration’s plan to start doing some railroad maintenance in-house, but warns that the administration must consider what dynamic effects that will have on competition. The SCA has also published a study on competition in public procurement, and the EU Commission has accepted the improved commitments from Broadcom.
The SCA has approved Orifarm’sacquisition of some assets from Takeda, despite some very high resulting combined market shares in OTC and prescription pharmaceutical products sold in Sweden, as price caps and new entries through imports are assumed to prevent increasing prices. In other news, the Nordic competition authorities have published a joint memorandum on digital platforms, Sweden has asked for a European preliminary ruling on a public procurement case, and the EU Commission has approved the Worldline-Ingencio merger while opening an in-depth investigation of the Danfoss – Eaton Hydraulics merger.
The Swedish Competition Authority has decided to not investigate GSK for exclusive supply agreements of its vaccine Shingrix, which some vaccination clinics in Sweden had filed a complaint over. In other news, the SCA has ended its investigation against retailers of professional hair care products. The EU Commission has published an evaluation of the VBER and Commissioner Vestager highlighted ongoing work on green and digital transformation, while the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises notes that there is considerable legal uncertainty ahead of the new EU competition tool.
The European Court of Justice has dismissed an appeal by Nexans against a EU Commission fine for a cartel, thereby clarifying that the Commission’s powers to conduct dawn raids are not to be interpreted narrowly. In other news, the Swedish government has proposed legislation to prohibit foreign takeovers and the SCA has voiced its support of another government proposal to reform competition among medical providers, a published study has found that innovation and growth-targeted grants are inefficient, and two online hotel booking agencies will continue their voluntary commitments on contract terms.
The EU Commission has approved Mastercard’s acquisition of Nets’ account-to-account core infrastructure services after Mastercard committed to license the payment solution technology to a third party. In other news, the EU Commission has launched an in-depth investigation of if Poland’s state aid to LG Chem meets criteria in the regional aid guidelines. Copenhagen Economics has published a report suggesting more sector-specific regulation of postal services isn’t needed. The Swedish Competition Authority has decided to not investigate two companies allegedly abusing dominant positions.
The EU Commission has approved the proposed merger of leading train providers Alstom and Bombardier Transportation, subject to commitments including divestment of three train platforms. In other news, the Commission has opened an in-depth investigation of Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit due to numerous vertical concerns, the Commission is asking for feedback on revised regional aid guidelines and the SCA provided an update on its ongoing market study of digital platforms.