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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

Publications: 26 January 2023

Digital Markets Act enters into force: a roadmap for “gatekeeper” digital platforms

Following publication in the EU Official Journal, the Digital Markets Act (DMA, Regulation (EU) 2022/1925) officially entered into force on 1 November 2022.

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Cityscape

Publications: 25 January 2023

Tackling foreign subsidies: new EU rules enter into force

On 12 January 2023, the EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) entered into force. The FSR will have a significant impact on and create new obligations for parties that are participating in…

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Ornate concrete architectural columns

Publications: 25 January 2023

FTC announces increase in HSR filing thresholds and changes to HSR premerger filing fees

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced increases to the notification thresholds under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act, which requires premerger notification of certain…

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Foreign direct investments in the Czech Republic: do not trust, but control

Publications: 04 May 2021

Foreign direct investments in the Czech Republic: do not trust, but control

As of 1 May 2021, a foreign direct investment control regime has become applicable in the Czech Republic. Act No. 34/2021 Coll., on the screening of foreign investments (the Act), applies, among…

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Recognition