Skip to content
Sub practice
Sub practice

Sector Regulation, Monopolisation and Market Investigations

Companies with strong market positions may also be subject to individual investigations, which could affect the operation of the business and lead to severe sanctions.

Sector/market regulation is an increasingly important means for authorities to regulate competition and enforce antitrust rules. Companies increasingly face the risk that their industry as a whole will be closely scrutinised. This could result from a wide-ranging sector inquiry by the European Commission, or a market or regulatory investigation at national level carried out by a competition agency or sector regulator (or both). We have advised in relation to a number of market studies and market investigations carried out by the European Commission and national competition authorities.

Recent inquiries have spanned a broad range of industries: pharmaceuticals, financial services, telecommunications, building materials, insurance and pay-TV. In the past year, the European competition authorities have initiated some high-profile investigations in the technology sector at the intersection between competition laws and IP rights. Our team has been involved in many of these cases, and can advise on:

  • strategy for dealing with authorities, who will expect (and often compel) industry players to provide detailed commercial information
  • preparing submissions, briefing papers, and responses to information requests
  • negotiating commitments to address authorities' concerns

Within a particular sector, companies with strong market positions must carefully consider the impact of their conduct. Any abuse of a monopoly or dominant position can carry severe penalties which may reach hundreds of millions of euros or dollars. It is also an issue high on many antitrust authorities' enforcement priorities, as seen by the recent investigation into Google which has attracted attention of agencies around the globe. We have a strong record of helping companies to navigate this complex area, acting for both complainants and companies under investigation.

Specific sector regulators may be consulted on, or even in some countries lead, antitrust investigations. Complex networks of regulation may apply across jurisdictions. Our team has expertise in dealing with sector regulators and has wide experience of advising on cases involving parallel antitrust and regulatory review processes. We guide companies through the regimes involved, helping to develop coordinated responses and strategies.

News and insights

Globe of planet earth from space

Publications: 13 March 2024

Regional snapshots for antitrust enforcement fines in 2023

We have collected data on antitrust fine totals, and on fines and cases by conduct type for Europe, APAC and the Americas to give a snapshot of antitrust enforcement in each region. Although global…

Read more
Blue and orange digital data waves

Publications: 13 March 2024

Digital markets remain a focal point for antitrust enforcement

2023 marked a significant year in the evolution of digital market regulation, largely influenced by the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into force in May 2023. 

Read more
Sun shining through city buildings at sunset

Publications: 13 March 2024

Abuse of dominance enforcement declines as new forums emerge

The level of fines imposed in abuse of dominance cases continued to decrease across the world in 2023.

Read more
Aerial view of highways illuminated at night

Publications: 13 March 2024

Mixed picture for antitrust enforcement continues but change is on the horizon

2023 saw another muted picture in terms of overall global fines for antitrust enforcement, with total penalties for the jurisdictions surveyed in our report down at USD2.9 billion, a moderate decrease…

Read more