CMA information request appeal will impact future probes, new digital powers, say lawyers

by Aicha Marhfour in London – PaRR – 09 March 2023 | 13:00 GMT

  • Ruling will impact DMU’s powers over overseas tech companies
  • Law amendment is an option if CMA loses appeal
  • CMA-EC cooperation hampered by lack of formal agreement

The UK agency’s enforcement powers beyond national borders, particularly in the tech domain, will be impacted by an appealed ruling upholding German automakers’ refusal to disclose documents, lawyers have told this news service.
In December the agency fined BMW AG GBP 30,000 (with a GBP 15,000 daily penalty) for failing to provide documents in response to an information request, sent under the CMA’s s. 26 Competition Act powers, in the context of the agency’s probe into automotive recycling.


“This seriously limits the CMA’s ability to bring global cases,” said Becket McGrath, partner at Euclid Law, referring to the ruling.

In its judgment, the court indicated that the CMA will be granted permission to appeal, with the agency announcing soon after the ruling that it will challenge the decision further. In a reasoned order, dated 8 March, the CAT granted the CMA permission to appeal, as regards BMW.


McGrath noted the wider political tension which has held up such agreements. “The tricky question is: what level of cooperation can they put in place, absent deeper cooperation? It’s never going to get to the level we had as a Member State of the EU,” he said.

Full article here – for PaRR subscribers.

Euclid Law continues to strengthen its practice with hire of Partner Andrea Zulli to head the Brussels office

Andrea joins from US law firm Covington. He was previously a Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright in Milan.

Being qualified in the UK, Belgium and Italy, Andrea advises clients on all aspects of EU and UK competition law, with a strong focus on merger control, behavioural antitrust, compliance, and foreign direct investment. Andrea’s experience and innovative thinking covers a variety of sectors, including private equity, financial services, basic industries, consumer & luxury goods, technology and life science. He is also instructed by Italian law firms on Brussels matters.

Oliver Bretz, Founding Partner of Euclid Law, commented: “I have known Andrea for over 20 years – in addition to being an outstanding lawyer, his reputation in Brussels, London and Italy and his broad and profound experience across all areas of competition law will be of great value to the firm and to our clients.  I look forward to working with Andrea to expand our Brussels footprint.”

Andrea Zulli commented: “I am delighted to be joining Euclid Law, a truly innovative and diverse boutique firm entirely focused on providing expert competition law and FDI advice to the highest possible standard, both in Brussels and London.  I am looking forward to being able to provide a unique offering and insight to clients both here and in Italy.”

Andrea holds an LL.M. in EU and Competition Law from the University of Stockholm and a J.D. from L.U.I.S.S. University in Rome. He is an Italian avvocato, admitted to the Rome Bar, a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, and registered in the A-list at the Balie Brussel.

European Commission confirms final texts for new EU rules for vertical agreements

On 10 May, the European Commission (the ‘Commission’) published final texts of the new Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (‘VBER’) and the accompanying Guidelines on Vertical Restraints (‘Guidelines’).  These two documents set out the full legal framework for the assessment of vertical agreements under EU competition law that will apply from 1 June. 

Although the process leading up to this moment started back in 2018, this means that businesses and their advisers have been given only three weeks to digest the final texts before they come into force.  While the main changes that will come into force on 1 June are largely as previewed in the draft texts that were published for consultation back in July last year, there are some surprises.

To discover and be surprised, download a copy of our briefing.

The CMA’s draft VABEO Guidance Consultation

Response of Euclid Law Ltd. to the Consultation on the CMA’s Draft Guidance on the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order 2022 (CMA154)

We welcome publication of the CMA’s draft guidance on the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Order 2022 (‘VABEO’) (the ‘Draft Guidance’) and the opportunity to comment on it.

Given the shared heritage of the VABEO and the EU Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (‘VBER’), as well as the extensive precedent in which the VBER and related principles of EU law have been applied in a UK context, we agree with the CMA’s decision to “broadly reflect” the EU’s Vertical Guidelines (the ‘EU Guidelines’) in the Draft Guidance.

While there are some instances where the application of principles developed with the EU’s single market in mind to a UK-specific context can come across as somewhat strained, we agree that prioritising consistency is the right approach at this time.

To read and download the full Response, click here.

Response to the additional Public Consultation on Proposed Guidance relating to Information Exchange in the context of Dual Distribution

As part of the ongoing review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines, on 4 February 2022, DG COMP launched a two-week consultation regarding proposed guidance on information exchanges in dual distribution.  The proposed new section provides much needed clarity and valuable additional guidance on the circumstances in which information exchange in a dual distribution context will not raise concerns.  The Commission also appears to have dropped the proposed 10% market share threshold, which is very welcome as this will materially reduce complexity and uncertainty.   

Euclid Law’s response is available here

Control Online Sales in the US and Europe for Optimized Growth

BWG ConnectVorys eControl & Euclid Law invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on Feb 24, 2022, 12:00pm – 1:pm EST / 5pm – 6pm GMT


In this webinar, Sarah Long, Partner at Euclid Law, Daren Garcia, Partner at Vorys eControl and Jessica Cunning, Partner at Vorys eControl will discuss the similarities and differences between a U.S. and European online sales control program to achieve successful eCommerce growth.

Discussion Topics

  • The critical need for online sales control across geographies
  • Key distribution and sales control elements needed to address growing challenges
  • Differences in seller enforcement & monitoring tools when in the U.S. vs. Europe
  • Online sales control as a function of empowering sales growth and protecting brand value

Meta hit with second fine for breach of Giphy hold-separate order

by Charley Connor / 4Feb 22 / the Global Competition Review (GCR)

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has fined Meta £1.5 million for failing to alert the agency about the departures of three key US staff during an in-depth review into its Giphy acquisition, which Meta claims could interfere with its employees’ rights under US labour law.

The CMA today issued its second penalty to Facebook’s parent company for breaching the initial enforcement order imposed on it as the authority reviewed – and ultimately blocked – its already-completed acquisition of Giphy.

The order in part required Meta to inform the authority in advance of any “material changes” to its business. That included resignations of key staff named on a list drawn up by the CMA and seeking the agency’s prior consent before rehiring or redistributing responsibilities.

But Meta failed to comply with each of these requirements after three “key employees” resigned and the company reallocated their roles, the enforcer said today.

It added that Meta had also failed to properly inform it of staff changes “multiple times” in 2021.


Sarah Long was quoted, saying “the CMA’s initial enforcement orders can come down like a sledgehammer on a business under investigation.  The scope of any such order can be “draconian” and is not limited to those parts of the business that cause a competition issue. Importantly, any derogation from an initial enforcement order must be negotiated with the CMA on an individual basis, which can take time and require significant interactions with the purchaser’s counsel. Companies therefore have no option other than to take an IEO seriously. Otherwise, as we have seen, the financial penalties for breaching an IEO can be severe.”

Link to the full article for GCR subscribers.

Competition Boutique Continues London Buildout With Macfarlanes Hire

by Hannah Roberts

Euclid Law has boosted its London ranks with another partner hire nearly a year after it brought on board a heavyweight partner from Cooley.

Competition lawyers are poised for a deluge of trade-related work since the U.K.’s exit from the European Union at the start of the year, with many firms bolstering their benches as a result.

Michael advises clients on a broad range of UK, EU and global antitrust matters, including cartels, abuse of dominance, merger control, state aid, competition litigation and general EU law across a wide number of industries. His experience spans sectors including TMT, energy, manufacturing, retail, leisure and transport.

Oliver Bretz: “I am delighted that someone of Michael’s quality and experience is joining Euclid. We are the pre-eminent competition boutique and our recent additions of Becket McGrath from Cooley and internal promotion of Natalie Greenwood are a testament to our market growth and positioning. We are delighted to welcome Michael to this fantastic team”. 

Michael Reiss: “I’m excited to be joining Euclid because of the top quality work and the calibre of the firm’s clients. Over the past twelve years I’ve worked on some complex merger control, investigations and litigation matters, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the growth of the practice. Moreover, on a personal level, they are a great team of colleagues to have.”

Read the full UK|Legal Week article here.

The future of vertical restraints in the UK post-Brexit (A UKAEL talk by Sarah Long)

Sarah Long will be joining Andrea Biondi (King’s College London), Anneli Howard QC (Monckton Chambers), Jonathan Scott (Interim Chair of the Competition and Markets Authority) and Paul Craig (UKAEL (UK Association for European Law)) for a panel discussion on UK Competition Law post #Brexit this Thursday 25 March 2021, 5.30-7pm UK time.

Sarah will be focusing on the future of vertical restraints in the UK post-Brexit, in the light of the CMA’s recently announced review of the retained #VBER. With the opportunity for #divergence from the EU, will we see a return to the more permissive approach favoured by the UK pre-modernisation?

Details to sign up here.

Natalie Greenwood becomes Partner at Euclid Law

Euclid Law is pleased to announce that Natalie Greenwood will become a Partner with effect from April 2021 having joined as counsel in September 2019. Natalie, who is dual-qualified in the UK and Spain, has over 15 years’ experience and, prior to joining Euclid, worked as a lawyer at Lloyds Banking Group (where she was recognised as one of 30 most notable in-house competition professionals in her 30s) and as a senior associate at Clifford Chance. Natalie has extensive experience advising on all aspects of competition law, including cartels, mergers, behavioural antitrust matters and competition litigation. She has particular experience in financial services, in addition to a range of other sectors, including media and consumer goods.

Oliver Bretz, Managing Partner at Euclid Law, commented: “I am absolutely delighted that Natalie has agreed to join our Partnership.  She is already an invaluable member of the team and brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise, both in private practice and in-house. I have had the privilege to work with Natalie, both at Clifford Chance and at Euclid Law, and I am of the view that she will continue to be a great asset to Euclid and to our clients.”

Natalie Greenwood commented: “I am very happy to be taking this next step and joining the Partnership of Euclid Law. Euclid Law brings a unique combination of outstanding expertise in a boutique model.  I have found that this offering is very appealing to clients – and also makes it a great place to work.”

Notes to editors: Euclid Law is an award-winning boutique competition law firm with offices in London and Brussels, made up of 5 partners, 1 senior consultant and a team of outstanding paralegals.