Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Cartel enforcement remains robust. In the pages that follow, we read of the continued – and, in some cases, revised or expanded – use of leniency programmes in several jurisdictions, including Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and the United States. Developments in Australia include the first ever criminal prosecution of a cartel: a case involving the shipping of vehicles to the country. This past year, Brazilian authorities concluded investigations in cartel cases involving dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and optical disc drives, among others.
Elsewhere, French and Italian authorities investigated alleged cartels among model agencies, while Cypriot authorities initiated an investigation into an alleged cement cartel. Other cartel enforcement actions have been quite varied: from bicycles in South Africa, to online sales of posters in the United Kingdom and the United States, to luxury cosmetic retail companies in Greece, to alleged pharmaceutical cartels in China and the United States.
Merger review and enforcement activity remains robust, with a noted significant increase in reviews undertaken by Chinese authorities. The chapters that follow note activity in many sectors: ranging from food retail mergers in Germany and Belgium, to telecommunications mergers in France. The merger of AB InBev and SABMiller attracted regulatory scrutiny in several jurisdictions, including Australia, China, South Africa and the United States. We also see several reports of deals that were abandoned after regulatory scrutiny, including proposed mergers in Brazil, Germany and the United States. The report from Argentina indicates that the Antitrust Commission there is speeding its review of mergers, with a significant decrease in the average time that deals spend under review; and in Portugal, the competition authority has announced an initiative to streamline merger control proceedings. Finally, the reports from Brazil, China and India note enforcement activities arising out of merger process violations, such as the failure properly to report transactions.