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Here below you find the most read articles on CompetitionFeed over the last week.
Chinese state-owned Sinochem and ChemChina are in merger talks to create the world's biggest industrial chemicals firm, to be headed by Sinochem chief Ning Gaoning, four people with knowledge of the negotiations said. A deal could be announced by the end of the year, the people said, potentially just months after ChemChina completes its own $43 billion purchase of Switzerland's Syngenta (SYNN.S), China's biggest overseas deal to date. Read More.
On 15 May the European Commission formally opened an investigation into Aspen Pharma’s pricing practices concerning five life-saving cancer drugs. This European investigation represents the latest enforcement effort in a string of cases emerging across Europe, including in the United Kingdom and Italy. All investigations are focussed on pharmaceutical pricing practices and allege that their pricing strategies may be exploitative and amount to an abuse of a dominant position. The surge in these previously rare exploitative pricing cases, has... Read More.
There is a chance that some of you have realised that I have not been blogging in the past weeks. I have, I think, a good reason for this prolonged silence. I am about to finish a book that will come out with Cambridge University Press at some point next year. After much thinking (and some wise advice from, inter alia, Alfonso himself), it will be entitled The Shaping of EU Competition Law. And the painting you see above, by Juan Gris, is the one that I have chosen for the cover (what do you think?). Read More.
More frequently than not, competition law is shaped by trends. ‘Big Data’ has been one of the hottest trending topics in the competition world during the past few years, monopolising the theme of numerous conferences, speeches, and academic articles. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Big Data has also been increasingly at the forefront of the Commission’s and national competition authorities’ enforcement priorities. For instance, the Commission is currently assessing whether existing competition enforcement tools are sufficient and adequate to address possible competition concerns arising from companies’ accumulation of ‘unique’, strategic user data that could... Read More.
- DG COMP continued its Article 102 enforcement at a similar pace in 2016, opening two new investigations, conducting an unannounced inspection, and issuing provisional adverse findings (Statements of Objections) in four cases, three of which involved Google.
- DG COMP terminated Article 9 commitments in three cases and introduced a novel way to reward cooperation in ARA where it combined an infringement decision with a structural remedy and a 30 per cent fine decrease. The General Court also reviewed a commitment decision in Morningstar.
- Advocate General Wahl issued an opinion in Intel, rejecting the ‘per se’ treatment of exclusivity rebates, and proposing to set aside the judgement and refer the case back to the General Court. Read More.
The ability of algorithms and artificial intelligence to monitor and set prices is increasing in sophistication, effectiveness and independence from human involvement at an exponential rate. The growth in this area, which is seen simultaneously across a range of AI applications, is such that no one — even its creators — is likely to fully appreciate AI’s capabilities until sometime after they have been realized. Pricing “bots” are already capable of engaging in behavior that we would not hesitate to call “parallel conduct” if it were performed by humans, and they will only get better at it. Indeed, the day may not be so far off when the pricing bot of one firm is fully capable of colluding — in every meaningful sense — with the pricing bot of a competing firm. At that point, we may have “conspiracy” cases under Section 1 of the Sherman Act that look very much like the cases we have today, except that the parts now played by humans are played by robots. Read More.
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