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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 8/2022

Valur Thrainsson
7 min read

Welcome to CompetitionFeed, a weekly newsletter with the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications. Never miss an update. If you’d like to receive issues over email, you can sign-up here.

France’s competition regulator said on Tuesday that it had fined the former electricity monopoly EDF for abusing its dominant market position at the expense of rivals for years.The penalty of €300 million for EDF, still majority owned by the French state, was lower than it could have been, since... Read more.
Freight forwarder association Clecat is asking the EC competition directorate to urgently investigate what it claims are “distortions” in the liner shipping market. Clecat wrote to commissioner Margrethe Vestager calling for the regulator to establish “the degree of concentration, consolidation, coordination, and cartelisation in the upstream container liner shipping services markets serving the EU, and the downstream markets for freight forwarding services”. Clecat director general Nicolette van der Jagt told The Loadstar... Read more.
Marta Wosinska, the FTC’s Bureau of Economics director, resigned on Feb. 16, a day before the FTC planned to vote on a study into pharmacy benefit managers. Read more.
We, the heads of the Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian Competition Authorities, support the condemnation by our national governments of Russia‘s open large-scale aggression against an independent, peaceful, and democratic state of Ukraine... Russia‘s aggression violates fundamental values protected by competition policy – the well-being of citizens, businesses and society as a whole. We therefore urge the governing bodies of the International Competition Network to suspend Russia’s and its individual experts’ participation in any form at all the upcoming events organized by the International Competition Network. Read more.
The Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in Minnesota and New York, filed a civil lawsuit today to stop UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (United) from acquiring Change Healthcare Inc. (Change). The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the proposed $13 billion transaction would harm competition in commercial health insurance markets, as well as in the market for a vital technology used by health insurers to process health insurance claims and reduce health care costs. Read more.
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed merger between Cargotec and Konecranes. The approval is conditional on the divestiture of certain businesses. Read more.
The ACCC has released a report detailing the findings arising from reviews of six mergers which occurred between 2017 and 2019, that were not opposed by the ACCC. Reviews of past merger decisions (often referred to as ‘ex post’ merger reviews) are undertaken by competition authorities around the world to inform and improve processes and decision making. “Examining how a merger played out over time allows us to test whether the assumptions, evidence and economic theories on which we based our decisions were sound,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. Read more.
High-ranking visitor in Bonn: The new German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck made his “inaugural visit” to the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn today, Monday, February 21, 2022. Habeck had a gift for Andreas Mundt and the German community: he presented a 10-points plan with the BMWK’s competition policy agenda until 2025. BMWK, by the way, stands for the new house name: Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, in German: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz. Read more.
Jakarta (4/2) – The Supreme Court of Indonesia upheld ICC’s Decision regarding the case of bid rigging of the Phase II Swimming Pool construction work in Kandangan, South Hulu Sungai, South K… Read more.
The European Commission is starting the nextround of its intensifying face-off with Big Tech with a handicap. Three top competition officials, who helped lead high-profile probes into Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, have over the past year left to join law firms that act for the tech giants. That is bad news for EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager and her team of antitrust enforcers. The timing could hardly be worse, as the regulator is about to get broad new powers and responsibilities to ramp up the crackdown on anticompetitive behavior by online platforms. Read more.
Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter gets a lot less attention than Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan. But he is up to a bang-up start. Read more.
The acceptance and implementation of due-process standards confer a variety of welfare benefits on society. As Christopher Yoo, Thomas Fetzer, Shan Jiang, and Yong Huang explain, strong procedural due-process protections promote: (1) compliance with basic norms of impartiality; (2) greater accuracy of decisions; (3) stronger economic growth; (4) increased respect for government; (5) better compliance... Read more.
Pinar Akman
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) initiative, which is set to introduce ex ante regulatory rules for “gatekeepers” in online platform markets, is one of the most important pieces of legislation to emanate from Brussels in recent decades. It not only has the potential to influence jurisdictions around the world in regulating digital markets, it also has the potential to change the business models of the wealthiest corporations on the planet and how they offer their products and services to their customers. Against that backdrop, this article provides an analysis of the aims of and principles underlying the DMA, the essential components of the DMA, and the core substantive framework, including the scope and structure of the main obligations and the implementation mechanisms envisaged by the DMA.  Read more.
Brian R. Cheffins
Present-day advocates of antitrust reform referred to as “New Brandeisians” have invoked history in pressing the case for change. The New Brandeisians bemoan the upending of a mid-20th century “golden age” of antitrust by an intellectual movement known as the Chicago School. In fact, mid-20th century enforcement of antitrust was uneven and large corporations exercised substantial market power. The Chicago School also was not as decisive an agent of change as the New Brandeisians suggest. Doubts about the efficacy of government regulation and concerns about foreign competition did much to foster the late 20th century counter-revolution antitrust experienced. Read more.
Anne C Witt
Mainstream competition law has failed to protect competition in core digital platform markets. This is partially due to enforcement agencies’ current commitment to proving the investigated conduct’s actual effects on competition and consumer welfare on the basis of in-depth assessments of each case’s individual circumstances before intervening in the market. While reducing the likelihood of erroneously prohibiting conduct that is not actually harmful, this approach is too time- and resource-consuming to protect competition in digital markets prone to tipping. This contribution argues that well-designed per se rules offer a promising alternative. Read more. 
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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