The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has called for a new regime to regulate the online economy, after its digital advertising study found the market power of Google and Facebook is causing substantial harm to “society as a whole”.
The enforcer today asked the UK government to create a digital markets unit and empower it to break up big tech companies and enforce a code of conduct among online platforms to resolve competition concerns in that sector. It did not specify if the new unit should function within an existing body or be created as a new standalone regulator.
The EU enforcer launched a public consultation on its proposed market investigations tool in May. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has cited the CMA’s similar power as an efficient way of tackling competition concerns in fast-moving markets.
Euclid Law partner Becket McGrath, who advised a publisher during the UK enforcer’s market study, said it is understandable why the CMA asked the government to introduce a new regulatory regime. Conduct that is not good for competition does not necessarily infringe antitrust law, but it could be addressed through careful, targeted regulation, he said.
Combating concerns related to the market power of big tech requires difficult public policy trade-offs that extend well beyond competition law, McGrath added.
“With all these moving pieces, there has to come a point when the CMA, as an independent and unelected agency, hands over to the government,” he said.
McGrath also questioned if the UK could effectively implement some of the CMA’s proposals without aligning with reforms emerging elsewhere, particularly in the EU. “Solutions need to be closely coordinated – it’s not good for businesses if there is too much divergence,” he warned.
To read the full article on GCR website, click here.
Euclid Law is delighted to announce Becket McGrath has joined the London office as Partner.
Prior to joining the team, Becket one of the founding partners of US firm Cooley’s London office in 2015 and established its Brussels office in 2019. Becket advises clients on all aspects of EU and UK competition law, with an emphasis on defending companies against investigations, distribution issues and merger control.
He advises clients in a broad range of sectors, in particular media, technology and life sciences sectors. He is a leading expert on distribution issues raised by e-commerce, including in the context of selective distribution, and has advised a number of major online retailers and marketplaces on a wide range of strategic competition issues.
He has experience of enforcing UK and EU competition law at a senior level in the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (now the Competition and Markets Authority) and retains good links with enforcement agencies and regulators in the UK and across the EU.
Becket is listed as a ‘thought leader’ in the latest Who’s Who Legal/Global Competition Review directory of leading competition lawyers.
Full press release can be found here.
Congratulations to our Euclid Law Partner Sarah Long recognised as One of the World’s Leading Young Antitrust and Competition Law Partner for 2020.
The award recognises the top private practitioners and economists in the world and is a testament to Sarah’s professionalism, passion and dedication to the trade.
“[…] I was drawn to the intellectual challenge of practising competition law and the intersection between law, economics and business. This remains what I enjoy most about practising competition law: getting to really understand a business so that the advice can be tailored to suit the specific market and the commercial realities of that company.” – Sarah Long
Read the full interview here.
Sarah Long commented to PaRR analytics on the increased use of interim measures, cautioning that despite the CMA’s recognition that the tool should be used more, the legal test remains relatively difficult to meet, and interim measures have never been successfully applied in the UK. The CMA cites the Online Auction Platform case (which Euclid Law advised on) as an example of a successful interim measures case in its 2018/2018 annual report, although the case was closed after commitments were offered so there was no interim measures decision. You can read Sarah’s article – co-authored with Simon Chisholm (CRA) and Helen Parker (UK Auctioneers Group) – here.
On 1st of April 2020, Oliver Bretz had the pleasure of chairing a live webinar alongside speakers Mr. Carlo Pettinato, Head of Investment Policy Unit – DG Trade, European Commission; Mr. Manuel Vélez Fraga, Partner – Uria; and Mr. Alan Riley, Senior Fellow – Atlantic Council.
The discussion focused on foreign direct investment (“FDI”) screening mechanisms and the approach of the European Commission (the “Commission”) during the COVID-19 crisis.
Notes from the webinar can be found here.
The inaugural GCR conference taking place on Thursday 2 April 2020 will discuss the rapidly evolving landscape of foreign investment review at a global level. Oliver will be involved in the session focusing on the practical impact of EU screening mechanism and “how practitioners can balance the tension between attracting global capital and protectionism in Europe?”
The debate will focus on key emerging themes as the speakers will no doubt shed light and help participants navigate the complex and transient area of law across jurisdictions.
The session will be chaired by John Davies, Brunswick and Jonas Koponen, Linklaters.
Click here for more information and to register.
We are excited to announce the new Brussels Office of Euclid Law at Chaussée de Vleurgat, 119 – on the corner of Av Louise. As ever, we look forward to providing market-leading EU and UK competition advice to our multinational clients from this exceptional new space.
Marie Leppard chaired the teleconference “The European “CIFIUS”: Understanding the EU Foreign Investment Screening (EUFIS)” organised by the ABA Section of International Antitrust Law Committee Panel on 29th October 2019.
The event covered the new EU Foreign Investment Screening (EUFIS) framework and its similarities to CFIUS and Investment Canada. EUFIS will come into force in October of 2020 and is already relevant to deals and investments being negotiated today.
The speakers participating in the teleconference included:
- Carlo Pettinato – head of Investment Policy Unit, DG Trade at European Commission
- Damara Chambers – Partner at Vinson & Elkins
- Michael Cadelcott – Senior Associate at McCarthy Tetrault.
Sarah Long will be speaking at the eHackaton EDGE Conference by Ascential this week, alongside Daren Garcia from Vorys, on “Protecting Brand Equity in the eCommerce Age”
Follow the link to register.
We are thrilled to announce that Euclid Law has won the 2020 Corporate Intl Magazine Global award for ‘Competition Law Firm of the Year in Belgium – 2020’. As well as confirming our position as leading Competition Law experts on the London market, we are pleased to continue our growth and further consolidate our reputation in Continental Europe.