On 20 July 2020, the European Commission published a Communication on the protection of confidential information by national courts in proceedings for the private enforcement of EU competition law. It aims to provide guidance to national courts on handling confidential information in competition related litigation.

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Retail alliances like Coopernic (including, e.g. Ahold Delhaize), AgeCore (with Colruyt, Intermarché and Edeka) or Eurelec (E. Leclerc and Rewe) have been around for a long time. They gained new attention in the past decade because of the sheer, increased number of alliances and because some open trade conflicts. Concerns on restrictions of competition and higher consumer prices were also raised in this context as well as more general negative effects, such as upsetting the balance of power, preventing farmers from getting fair prices for their products while (brand) manufacturers would suffer from heavy bargaining pressure.

Last week, the European Commission published a comprehensive report at the request of the European Parliament about the effects of buying groups and other alliances on supply chains across Europe with the aim of clarifying whether retail alliances are permitted under antitrust law or not.

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BLOMSTEIN has advised leading Chinese locomotive manufacturer CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd. (CRRC ZELC) on the merger control and foreign direct investment (FDI) aspects of its acquisition of Vossloh Locomotives GmbH (Vossloh Locomotives). Following an in-depth review, the transaction received merger control clearance from the Federal Cartel Office on 27 April 2020. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy had cleared the FDI matter earlier this year, also following an in-depth review of the case.

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The Covid-19 pandemic is causing far-reaching changes in every area of life and business. Almost all companies and industries are affected and the legal situation changes almost daily in some areas. The European Competition Network (ECN) emphasized in a recent joint statement that the current competition rules are flexible enough to adapt to changing economic situations and need no substantial modification. This briefing provides an overview on how the Corona crisis affects competition law – and what remains unchanged – and where to find further information (see the links throughout the document). BLOMSTEIN will closely monitor and inform about further developments. If you have any questions, Anna Huttenlauch and Max Klasse will be happy to assist you at any time.

BLOMSTEIN Corona and Competition Law (31.03.2020)

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BLOMSTEIN is proud to be shortlisted in the category Law Firm of the Year for Competition Law for the 2019 JUVE Awards.

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Margrethe Vestager, EU commissioner for competition policy, recently issued a stern public warning to car manufacturers. The European Commission is currently investigating the companies for their role in Germany’s infamous car emissions scandal. Businesses that intend to cooperate in the area of cybersecurity would do well to reflect on the commissioner’s warning as well. Cars and IT? At first glance, few parallels come to mind between the traditional automotive sector and the relatively new field of cybersecurity. Yet both areas face disruptive technological challenges that companies can only overcome together. The cautionary tale of the German carmakers offers vital antitrust lessons for technical cooperation far beyond the confines of the automotive industry.

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We are delighted to strengthen our competition law practice with Julius Hasse. As of 1 July 2019, Julius joins us from Freshfields where we have already worked together for many years. Julius worked in the Freshfields London office since 2011 and joined the Berlin office in 2015.

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The article “Hour of the Greyhounds“ published by German business journal WirtschaftsWoche (WiWo) describes the antitrust phenomenon of the so-called “Greyhound Racing” – antitrust lawyers racing against time.

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We are very pleased that our competition partners Anna Huttenlauch and Max Klasse are once again recognized as leading experts in their field in the 2019 edition of Who’s Who Legal Competition ranking.

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BLOMSTEIN recently advised PIA Performance Interactive Alliance für digitales Marketing GmbH („PIA“) on antitrust aspects in connection with the acquisition of tab GmbH („TAB“). Corporate advice, including the structuring of the transaction and the overall coordination of the project was handled by lead advisors LAWENTUS.

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