This is our monthly summary of a selection of the latest public announcements and decisions concerning Austrian, German and EU competition law. Please bear in mind that we are unable to guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information provided on third-party websites.
Type of publication
Central European competition authorities exchange experiences with regard to combating unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain
“The Austrian Federal Competition Authority organised a meeting on 14 February 2023 to which several competition authorities that are entrusted with the enforcement of the rules to combat unfair trading practices (UTP) in the agriculture and food supply chain were invited in order to share their experiences." [See more]
Supreme Cartel Court confirms Cartel Court´s search warrant (26 Kt 6/22k) in connection with AFCA investigations into the wood pellets market
"The Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) carried out dawn raids at several pellet companies and one association in the Austrian provinces of Vienna, Carinthia and Tyrol from 18 to 20 October 2022 (press release of 20 October 2022). One group of companies filed an appeal against the dawn raid with the Supreme Court sitting as the Supreme Cartel Court, stating among other points that there had been no sufficiently concrete indications to justify an initial suspicion. The Supreme Cartel Court did not agree with this argument or the other reasons submitted by the company group and dismissed the appeal (16 Ok 7/22y)." [See more]
Wienerberger/Terreal merger: AFCA files application with Cartel Court for in depth review
"The AFCA received notification of the merger on 20 December 2022. The initial deadline for completion of the Phase I review was 17 January 2023, which was moved by two weeks to 31 January 2023 following an application for an extension. The AFCA has now applied for an in depth (Phase II) review with the Cartel Court due to competition concerns." [See more]
2. GFCO (BKartA)
Following commitments Theo Müller Group can acquire parts of the dairy business of Royal Friesland Campina
"Following intensive investigations, the Bundeskartellamt has today cleared plans by the Theo Müller Group to acquire brands and production sites for a number of dairy products from Royal Friesland Campina. Among the acquired brands are in particular “Landliebe” and “Tuffi”. The project was only cleared subject to commitments made by the parties due to competition law concerns regarding parts of the project." [See more]
Bundeskartellamt has no objecitons to hospital mergers in Hamm, Lippstadt and Gronau (Westphalia)
"The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the merger projects by the hospital branch of the German Order of Saint John (Johanniterorden) to acquire three Protestant hospitals in Hamm, Lippstadt and Gronau (Westphalia) (= Valeo Kliniken) on the one hand and a Catholic hospital in Hamm (St. Marien-Hospital) on the other. The two merger projects had been notified at the same time. Besides these acute hospitals, the target business in both cases also comprises the medical care centres (Medizinische Versorgungszentren - MVZ) for outpatient care operated by the hospitals." [See more]
Road builders fined for collusive tendering
"The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines amounting to a total of almost one million euros on the four Dortmund-based construction companies Höhler GmbH & Co. KG, Möckel Bauunternehmung GmbH & Co. KG, Möllmann Straßen- und Ingenieurbau GmbH & Co. KG and Stra-La Bau GmbH for collusive tendering with regard to road works. The proceeding was based on the leniency application by another company involved in the collusion, Gehrken Straßen- und Tiefbau GmbH & Co. KG, which in application of the statutory provisions was granted immunity from fines.” [See more]
3. Austrian Competition Courts
OLG Wien, 25 kt 8/21w - Metro Cash & Carry Österreich GmbH; C&C Abholgroßmärkte Gesellschaft m.b.H. - Mergers
The merger, which was notified to the Federal Competition Authority on September 2, 2023 under BWB Z-5650, was not prohibited subject to conditions.[See more]
Judgment (in German)
4. EU COM
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple clarifying concerns over App Store rules for music streaming providers
"The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Apple clarifying its concerns over App Store rules for music streaming providers.This procedural step follows the Commission's Statement of Objections which outlined the Commission's preliminary view that Apple abused its dominant position by: (i) imposing its own in-app purchase payment technology on music streaming app developers (‘IAP obligation'), and (ii) restricting app developers' ability to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription services (‘anti-steering obligations')" [See more]
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Asiana by Korean Air
"The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Asiana by Korean Air. The Commission is concerned that the transaction may reduce competition in the markets for passenger and cargo air transport services between the European Economic Area (‘EEA') and South Korea" [See more]
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Inmarsat by Viasat
"The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Inmarsat by Viasat. The Commission is concerned that the transaction may allow Viasat to reduce competition in the market for the supply of broadband in-flight connectivity (‘IFC') services to commercial airlines." [See more]
Mergers: Commission clears creation of a joint venture by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone
"The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture by Deutsche Telekom AGOrange SA, Telefónica S.A. and Vodafone Group plc. The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area (‘EEA')." [See more]
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of MBCC by Sika, subject to conditions
"The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of MBCC by Sika. The approval is conditional on the divestiture of MBCC's global chemical admixture business.
Digital Services Act: Commission provides guidance for online platforms and search engines on publication of user numbers in the EU
"The Commission has published this week non-binding guidance to help online platforms and search engines within the scope of the Digital Services Act (DSA) to comply with their requirement to report user numbers in the EU, at the latest by 17 February 2023, and at least once every six months afterwards." [See more]
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