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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 9/2022

Valur Thrainsson
6 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

New initiatives would beef up investigations into anti-competitive conduct from the industry, which is enjoying astronomical profits. Read more.
The Dutch antitrust regulator on Monday issued a sixth weekly fine of 5 million euro ($5.7 million) against Apple for failure to comply with an order to open its App Store to alternative forms of payment for dating apps in the Netherlands. Read more.
An Italian administrative court has rejected a request by Telecom Italia to suspend a fine imposed by competition authorities for abusing its position in the broadband market, a court document showed on Tuesday. Read more.
A court ruling has temporarily suspended the Fair Trade Commission's order that Google fix its unfair market practices.The Seoul High Court on Monday sided with... Read more.
On 1 March 2022, the Commission published drafts of the revised R&D and Specialisation Block Exemption Regulations (together ‘HBERs’) and Horizontal Guidelines for stakeholder comments. Through the consultation, the Commission aims to gather stakeholder feedback on the changes it proposes to address the issues identified in the evaluation of the current rules. Read more. 
The ACCC is seeking views from consumers, businesses and other parties on options for legislative reform to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms. A discussion paper, released today, outlines options for addressing harms to competition, consumers, and business users in a range of areas dominated by large digital platforms, including social media, search, app marketplaces, general online retail marketplaces and ad tech. “The upcoming fifth report will mark the half-way point of the Digital Platform Services Inquiry. Read more. 
Cellnex must sell over 1,000 telecoms tower sites to address competition concerns over its purchase of CK Hutchison’s UK towers. Read more.
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Global Partners LP’s acquisition of 27 retail gasoline and diesel outlets owned or operated by Richard Wiehl violates federal antitrust laws. Read more. 
The ICN Chair at the request of Steering Group members and other ICN members has reviewed FAS Russia’s participation in the network. After consultation with the members of the Steering Group the Chair has decided to suspend FAS Russia’s participation in ICN activities. Read more. 
David Pérez de Lamo
On 9 February 2022, the General Court handed down its judgment in the offbeat case Sped-Pro (T-791/19). Notably, the General Court ruled that before rejecting a complaint on the grounds that the competition authority of a Member State is “better placed”, the Commission must examine, in a concrete and precise manner, the indications provided by... Read more. 
Eleanor M. Fox
Africa has the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The agreement will lower tariffs and facilitate internal market trade on the continent, and policy makers hope that it will help lift 30 million people out of poverty. A competition protocol is now in the process of negotiation and proposals have been made ranging from a full, detailed, technical competition law as in the West to a scaffolding of regional cooperation. For the competition element of AfCFTA, this article makes a bold suggestion: Africa needs a basic but deep competition protocol, which concentrates on the priorities “at the top”: It needs to rid the continent of insidious trade-and-competition restraints at member state borders that prevent African integration, which requires a joinder of trade-and-competition violations. And it needs a voice at the top to take a stand for the continent: for example against the mega-mergers that hurt Africa. Only with these three elements—clear basic rules, trade/competition restraint prohibitions, and a voice at the top—can Africa hope to realize the promise of Africa. Read more. 
Herbert Hovenkamp
The period 1900 to 1930 was the Golden Age of antitrust theory, if not of enforcement. During that period courts and scholars developed nearly all of the tools that we use to this day to assess anticompetitive practices under the federal antitrust laws. In a very real sense we can say that this group of people invented antitrust law. In subsequent years antitrust policy veered to both the left and the right, but today seems to be returning to a position quite similar to the one that these Progressive adopted. Read more. 
William E. Kovacic and David A. Hyman
Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google) is under regulatory assault. Cases have been brought against each of these companies in multiple countries around the world, but there is an emerging consensus that more needs to be done – most likely in the form of ex ante regulation that prescribes rules of conduct for dominant information platforms. The European Union and the United Kingdom are well on the way to establishing such frameworks, and the United States appears poised to undertake similar measures in the coming years. Most of the debate has focused on the case for ex ante regulation of Big Tech, with much less attention to the complexities of developing and implementing such regulation. Read more.
Gabor Koltay, Szabolcs Lorincz and
Tommaso M. Valletti

The paper provides new evidence on proxy indicators of market power for major European countries. The data shows moderately increasing average industry concentration over the last two decades, a considerably increasing proportion of high concentration industries, and an overall tendency towards oligopolistic structure. Estimates of aggregate profitability also show a sustained increase over the recent decades coupled with decreasing or stagnating investment rates. While the academic and policy debate is not settled as to whether the causes of these trends are policy driven or reflect technological improvement, our findings suggest that competition policy is likely to face more challenges as large companies are becoming more common in more and more industries. Read more. 
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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