European and Swedish Antitrust News (February 3, 2020)

Photographer: H Ellgaard

Com Hem claims that Telia is violating its merger commitments, i.e. approval conditions, by restricting competitor’s access to Bonnier Broadcasting’s AVOD and SVOD streaming services in Sweden. In other news, the Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal has referred back a case on anti-competitive activities by a public entity, the Commission has fined NBCUniversal for vertical agreements, the SCA has ended its investigation of Lyko, and PTS has drafted rules for submission of information by parcel delivery service providers in Sweden.

Com Hem reports Telia for violating merger approval commitments. Com Hem, a Swedish TV distributor and broadband provider that was acquired by telecom operator Tele2 in 2018, has reported Telia to the European Commission. In November 2019, the Commission approved telecom operator Telia’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting subject to conditions following an in-depth investigation of wholesale supply and retail distribution of TV in Sweden and Finland. Com Hem now claim that Telia is violating the conditions on access to Bonnier’s AVOD and SVOD streaming services.

Case on Hässleholm municipality stopping a private competitor referred back to court. In 2017, the Swedish Competition Authority went to court claiming Hässleholm municipality had excluded private participants from the market for fibre-optic connections, and the Swedish Patent and Market Court ruled against the municipality in 2019. But the Court of Appeal has now referred the case back to the Patent and Market Court. The case is viewed as of great importance for the SCA’s future focus on anti-competitive activities by public entities, an area where the SCA has found it difficult to achieve meaningful results as the only sanction is a ban without any fines unless the entity proceed to violate the ban.

Commission fines NBCUniversal for restricting sales of film merchandise products. Several companies belonging to Comcast Corporation (‘NBCUniversal’) have been fined a total of €14.3 M for licensing agreements restricting cross-border sales and online sales of merchandise products. The decision follows similar fines handed to Nike and Sanrio in 2019 for vertical agreements restricting merchandise trade and a statement of objections against Valve on digital ‘geo-blocking’.

Swedish Competition Authority end investigation of hair care retailer Lyko. In October the SCA conducted dawn raids against listed Lyko Group and other retailers of hair care and beauty products on suspicion of trying to prevent the entry of retail competitor Geselle, but the SCA has now ended its investigation of Lyko.

Public consultation on rules for parcel delivery registrations. The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) is currently asking for considerations on the rules for submission of information by parcel delivery service providers in Sweden, part of implementing the EU regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services to give national regulatory authorities better oversight of the providers and their sub-contractors.

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