Competition & Regulation

Jolling de Pree
Bart de Rijke
Helen Gornall
+ 40 other experts

Strategic competition advice for multinational clients, globally

… in enforcement actions and transactions, with an emphasis on Europe. Active across almost the entire spectrum of Competition and Regulatory law, our large, integrated Amsterdam/Brussels-based team handles multiple complex matters in parallel fashion.

We have experience in obtaining clearance of complex merger control cases involving potential remedies before the European Commission and other competition agencies worldwide. Our team has handled many high-profile, data-intensive cartel cases before the European Commission, and has a track record of getting fines annulled before the European Courts.

We have extensive experience of taking the lead in cross-border matters with tight cost control measures in place, and efficiently coordinate merger filings, often in numerous jurisdictions, worldwide. We are involved in all pending civil cartel damage actions in the Netherlands, and work closely together with our civil litigation specialists to assist our clients in their most complex matters.

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Global Competition Review's 'European Law Firm of the Year 2021'

2021
2021
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EXPERTISE ANCHORED AT THE HEART OF EUROPE

Our cross-border capability in Europe is second to none.

Over the years, we have earned a reputation for getting enforcement actions neutralised and complex transactions cleared. We collaborate closely with those law firms which form part of our network of Best Friends and together form one of the largest European competition practices in Brussels. We cover all of the major European jurisdictions and are ranked as the best by the legal directories in each of these jurisdictions.

More than 175 Lawyers
40+ Brussels-based lawyers
Across 7 EU Member States

Our Brussels Office

The team are legally sharp, practical and no-nonsense... the advice is always very precise. They understand what we want as a client.

Chambers Europe, 2021
Chambers Europe, 2021

Insights

15 July 2021

Revised EU rules for vertical agreements proposed to address changed market realities

On 9 July 2021, the European Commission unveiled drafts of the revised vertical block exemption regulation (VBER) and the vertical guidelines (VGL). The current VBER and VGL expire on 31 May 2022. They were last updated in 2010, when the e-commerce sector and the digital platform economy were still in a nascent phase. However, over the past decade (and accelerated further by COVID-19), there has been a boom in online sales and a marked prevalence of online platforms. These market changes, resulting in more complex and hybrid distribution arrangements, have significantly influenced the Commission's ongoing review.
15 July 2021

Dutch government plans to introduce foreign investment screening with retroactive effect

A bill was recently submitted to parliament establishing a national security screening regime where target undertakings active in the Netherlands in vital processes or sensitive technology, are being acquired. In 2020, the Dutch government indicated its intention for the screening mechanism to apply retroactively. Under the current bill, the regime would apply to qualifying investments made after 8 September 2020.
23 June 2021

Commission's AI proposal to bolster antitrust enforcement in algorithm-driven markets

The European Commission's landmark proposal on regulating artificial intelligence (AI) is a watershed moment in the evolution of AI global standards. AI as a dynamic grouping of technologies - capable of streamlining operations, optimising resource allocation, predicting behaviour and personalising customer treatment - is increasingly being harnessed by modern businesses to achieve competitive advantages. Unsurprisingly, such advantages are also susceptible to creating competition concerns, ranging from digital cartels to self-preferencing by dominant platforms. However, as AI applications are autonomous and programmed for self-learning, competitive harm might be caused even without human intervention. This complicates how liability is determined. Notably, the Commission places the onus on the undertaking using the AI. Thus, businesses must not only be aware of AI's anti-competitive potential, but they should also strive to comply with newly proposed rules, especially where these relate to transparency and monitoring obligations.