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On 18 May 2022, the General Court (GC) of the European Union upheld a fine of EUR 28 million imposed on Canon for partially implementing its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation (TMSC) before it was cleared under EU merger control rules. The decision sheds new light on when interim measures are considered an implementation of a transaction. The Canon case follows a series of recent ‘gun jumping’ decisions with significant fines, i.e. cases where competition authorities found that parties to a notifiable transaction implemented the transaction prior to merger control clearance. Several lessons can be drawn from the case for multi-stage M&A transactions. This briefing outlines the key take aways of the case and recent practice more generally.

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This week, the European Commission finally adopted its long-awaited new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER). Together with the also updated vertical guidelines, the new rules define competition law requirements for distribution and supply agreements for the next decade. When the new VBER enters into force in June, it will bring significant changes, particularly concerning e-commerce and online distribution. We summarise the most important changes.

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Der russische Überfall auf die Ukraine hat zu einem Umdenken geführt. Plötzlich sollen umfangreiche Mittel bereitgestellt werden, mit denen die dringend benötigte Ausrüstung der Bundeswehr endlich realisiert werden kann. Diese Ausrüstung soll nun schnellstmöglich erfolgen. Erste Beschaffungsvorhaben sind sogar schon angestoßen worden.

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Mit dem am 29. Oktober 2020 in Kraft getretenen Krankenhauszukunftsgesetz (KHZG) soll die Digitalisierung von Krankenhäusern vorangetrieben werden. Bis zu 4,3 Mrd. Euro stellen der Bund und die Länder seit dem 1. Januar 2021 dafür zur Verfügung. Gefördert werden unter anderem Investitionen in die digitale Infrastruktur, Maßnahmen zur IT-Sicherheit sowie dafür erforderliche personelle Maßnahmen. Aus der KHZG-Förderrichtlinie geht hervor, dass das Bundesamt für Soziale Sicherung einen Krankenhauszukunftsfonds einrichtet. Die Krankenhausträger können ihren Förderbedarf bei den Ländern anmelden, welche ihrerseits Förderanträge an das Bundesamt für Soziale Sicherung stellen. Sobald die Länder das Geld erhalten haben, erlassen sie einen Fördermittelbescheid gegenüber dem Krankenhausträger und leiten die Fördermittel weiter. Neben dem Bundesgesundheitsministerium hat inzwischen auch das Land Niedersachsen zu wesentlichen Fragen im Zusammenhang mit dem KHZG Stellung genommen. Durch die Förderung können auch private Krankenhausträger an vergaberechtliche Vorgaben gebunden werden.

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After several serious war crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, the EU has once again significantly expanded its sanctions against Russia. While some of the new sanctions extend existing prohibitions, most new sanctions provisions contain completely new trade restrictions. We summarised the main developments in this briefing.

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BLOMSTEIN hat für die Infineon vor dem Finanzgericht München einen Erfolg in einer Streitigkeit mit dem Hauptzollamt Regensburg erzielt.

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On 23 March the European Commission has adopted temporarily applicable State aid rules enabling Member States to support businesses particularly hit by the economic repercussions following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. This includes economic consequences of sanctions imposed on Russia and Russia’s countersanctions.

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Almost four weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its ongoing military aggression, the EU has adopted another – the fourth – package of sanctions against Russia on 15 March 2022. This briefing provides an overview on these latest developments, which concern not only the adding of more oligarchs and regime-affiliated elites to the EU’s sanctions list, but also tighten trade restrictions with respect to, among others, the import of steel products, the trade with luxury goods, including vehicles and their spare parts, as well as transactions with certain Russian state-owned enterprises.

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Over the past two weeks, the EU has adopted various far-reaching sanctions against Russia, the areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, and Belarus. We have kept you updated of these developments in previous briefings. However, the large number of recent regulations and the resulting various amendments they have brought to the sanctions regime make it difficult not to lose track. Against this backdrop and following our latest briefing on financial sanctions, the following concise overview serves to provide guidance on the restrictions concerning the trade with goods and services.

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The European Commission’s Block Exemption Regulation for Vertical Agreements (VBER) is the most relevant guidance for the assessment of dual distribution agreements under EU competition law. Together with the accompanying Vertical Guidelines, it shapes the application of the antitrust prohibition to various distribution constellations.

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