This autumn, we are pleased to update you again on the main trends in competition law, economic regulation and consumer law.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) and the European Commission have again been busily tracking down cartels in recent months. And there’s no shortage of interesting new cartel case law. The crackdown by regulators on dominant players in the tech and pharma sectors continues. Will the flood of investigations in these sectors dry up in the coming year? In light of the forthcoming DMA, DSA and Data Act, it’s the calm before the storm in the tech sector. Two things stand out in the field of mergers and acquisitions. Acquisition activities that may impact national security are the focus of attention both in the Netherlands and in other EU member states. The impact of the FDI and the Wet Vifo (Investments Screening Bill – "ISB") on the M&A practice is already making itself felt. The rules in the field of healthcare merger review at the NZa (Dutch Healthcare Authority) and ACM have also changed.
ACM is again spearheading the enforcement of consumer law. From challenging deception in energy contracts to cracking down on retailers that make improper sustainability claims, ACM is siding with consumers. With the labour market being tight, ACM is also on the lookout for prohibited agreements among employers. Companies that engage in wage cartels or no-poach agreements are more likely to have ACM breathing down their neck. In healthcare, the big question is whether the Integraal Zorgakkoord (Comprehensive Care Agreement) will deliver what the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport expects from it. It is in any event clear that, as long as the market power of healthcare buyers continues to increase, the NZa needs to commit to actively enforcing the duty of care/healthcare procurement duty. We are also closely monitoring the developments in the agri, food and retail sectors. Rising (food) prices are creating tension between suppliers and supermarkets. What role does competition law play in this regard? We also discuss the new European exemption (Article 210a CMO) from the cartel prohibition, which gives producers and retailers in the food supply chain more room for joint sustainability initiatives. Is this the gamechanger living up to its promise?
We hope you enjoy the read!