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Regulating Digital Gatekeepers – the Digital Markets Act journal article

Fatma Ceren Morbel

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 7 (2023), Issue 4, Page 206 - 215

As digitalisation has increased and data has become more powerful, more comprehensive digital regulation has become necessary, including by national competition authorities and the European Commission. The Digital Markets Act (the DMA) is a good example of this area of regulation.1 In November 2022, the DMA came into force, introducing new regulations for core platform services which functioned as ‘gatekeepers’ in the digital market. By enacting the DMA, these platforms are prevented from treating businesses and consumers unfairly. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general overview of the DMA and its relationship to antitrust enforcement. Keywords: digital markets; digital economy; Digital Markets Act; competition law; antitrust

Sped-Pro v Commission: Beware of the Rule of Law journal article

Rita Ferreira Gomes

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 7 (2023), Issue 1, Page 76 - 79

Case T-791/19 Sped-Pro v Commission, Judgment of the General Court (Tenth Chamber, Extended Composition) of 9 February 2022 With its judgment of 9 February 2022, the General Court annulled a Decision of the European Commission rejecting an antitrust complaint submitted on the grounds of systemic or generalised deficiencies in the rule of law in one Member State. According to the judgment, there should be a limit to the principle of mutual trust and cooperation among Member States within the European Competition Network. This judgment created not only a precedent, but also a powerful protection tool to be used in the future to safeguard of the rule of law.

Dawn Raids and Their Effect on the Stock Market journal article

Seppe Maes, Caroline Buts, Marc Jegers

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 7 (2023), Issue 3, Page 145 - 153

Cartel investigations and subsequent Commission decisions can negatively impact a company’s reputation and stock market value. Using an event study methodology, this paper quantifies the effect of a Commission decision on the market value of companies involved and investigates whether the fact that a dawn raid took place has an additional effect on the impact of the subsequent decision. The findings are based on an exhaustive recent sample of 373 observations of listed firms involved in cartel cases between 2001 and 2022. We conclude that a dawn raid has a clear negative effect of -2.04% on a firm’s stock price in the anticipation period prior to a decision. We attribute this to the fact that a dawn raid generates media coverage, bringing more attention to the case and making it widely known to investors. An anticipation effect is absent in cartels where no dawn raid took place, suggesting that a dawn raid entails a more prolonged and more negative effect on stock prices. Keywords: antitrust; cartel; dawn raid; European Commission; event study

Qualcomm: Numerous Procedural and Substantive Shortcomings Lead to Spectacular Commission Defeat journal article

Anton Gerber

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 7 (2023), Issue 3, Page 183 - 188

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Sixth Chamber, Extended Composition) of 15 June 2022 in Case T-235/18 Qualcomm v Commission In 2018, the European Commission adopted a decision finding that Qualcomm had abused its dominant position on the relevant worldwide open market for LTE chipsets by offering exclusivity payments to its customer Apple. The EU General Court upheld Qualcomm’s challenge of that decision. The ruling came shortly after another high-profile Commission defeat concerning Article 102 TFEU’s application on presumed foreclosure effects, caused by a loyalty rebate scheme employed by another chipmaker (Intel). The Qualcomm judgment points out a number of procedural and substantive flaws, and its repercussions seem to have already changed the way the Commission conducts antitrust proceedings. It may have fuelled the Commission’s recently launched process to update its approach for the assessment of exclusionary conduct by dominant undertakings.

Effective Competition in Digital Platform Markets: journal article

Legislative and Enforcement Trends in the EU and the US

Joseph Antel, Ciara Barbu-O’Connor, John Carroll, Katie Daw, Robert Klotz

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 6 (2022), Issue 1, Page 35 - 55

Efforts to tackle the increasing market power of data driven platforms are taking a new turn. So far, the European Union has been more aggressive and creative than the United States, notably with severe antitrust enforcement action. However, there is a perceived enforcement gap in platform markets, due to increased concentration, rising profit margins, declining market entry and low investment compared to profits, according to many. With the European Commission proposing the Digital Markets Act and the US ramping up on a number of fronts with an intensified interest in Big Tech and a political climate favourable to an emerging legislative consensus for targeted antitrust law reforms in this field, we are on the verge of new rules to bridge this gap more effectively. This article sheds light on the current developments in the EU and the US, as a basis for the juxtaposition of both approaches and attempt to draw conclusions for future debate. Keywords: digital platforms, antitrust enforcement, upfront regulation, Digital Markets Act, gatekeepers, global convergence and cooperation

Antitrust Decisions as a Sledgehammer? journal article

A Descriptive Study on the Impact of Cartel Investigations on Stock Prices

Seppe Maes, Caroline Buts

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 6 (2022), Issue 2, Page 108 - 119

Companies under investigation for anticompetitive behaviour in breach of the competition rules face heavy fines, high legal costs, loss of future profits and reputational damage. In addition, listed companies also seem to (temporarily) experience negative shocks in their stock market value. This article provides a descriptive analysis of the impact of the European Commission’s press release, announcing an antitrust investigation, on the stock market performance of the companies involved. Furthermore, we discuss the influence of the press release covering the Commission’s decision and accompanying fine. Reviewing four cases for each of these two moments, we conclude that an antitrust investigation or fine can be linked to a substantial negative shock to the stock market value of the companies concerned. While the drop is sizeable and thus clearly visible for almost all companies, the effect also seems to be relatively short-lived. Interestingly, the effects mostly seem more pronounced for the announcement of the investigation than for the fine, with some cases barely showing an effect of the latter. This could indicate that the stock market already accounts for the full effects around the time of the initial announcement. Keywords: antitrust; cartel investigation; impact assessment; stock market performance

Multi-Jurisdictional Leniency Applications and the Deterring Effect on Leniency journal article

Ruben Korsten

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 6 (2022), Issue 3, Page 195 - 206

Since pioneering work of Choi Gerlach in 2012, not much game theoretical literature has followed to address issues of global cartel formation and international antitrust enforcement. This article addresses this gap, especially with regards to multi-jurisdictional leniency applications. It is found that multi-jurisdictional leniency applications expose international cartel leniency applicants to various risks and have high transaction costs. Therefore, the effectiveness of domestic programmes depends on the possibility of obtaining leniency in other jurisdictions. If an applicant can simultaneously count with leniency in all relevant jurisdictions, the attractiveness of leniency should increase, as the overall benefits for the applicant will be greater. However, if applying for leniency leads to leniency in some jurisdictions but certain penalties in others, this will disincentivise the use of leniency, which would make international cartels more stable. This article thus demonstrates the need for international cooperation in order for leniency policies to be effective. Keywords: antitrust enforcement; cartels; information sharing; international cooperation; leniency

The Telenor Case: The (In)compatibility of Zero-rating with the Net Neutrality Principle (C-807/18 and C-39/19 Telenor Magyarország) journal article

Amaryllis Müller, Koo Asakura

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 5 (2021), Issue 1, Page 59 - 63

Joined Cases C-807/18 and C-39/19 Telenor Magyarország Zrt. v Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Elnöke, Judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of 15 September 2020 In this judgment, the European Court of Justice maintains a broad interpretation of the net neutrality principle enshrined in Regulation 2015/2120, in line with the EU’s policy goal of stimulating digital innovation by guaranteeing open internet access. While the judgment provides some necessary clarity on the incompatibility with the net neutrality principle of certain zero-rating products that involve throttling of data traffic, the Court leaves several key questions unanswered as it does not rule on zero-rating practices that are open to all applications of a particular category and do not involve blocking or slowing down of traffic.