Alphabet / Google is subject to new abuse control rules applicable to large digital companies in Germany

On December 30, 2021, the Federal Cartel Office has decided that Google has paramount significance for competition across markets in Germany under Section 19a ARC. Accordingly, Google is now subject to the new special abuse control rules for large digital companies. Silke Heinz has published a guest commentary (in German) in the legal journal Wirtschaft und Wettbewerb 02/2022, see here.

The FCO has published a press release on the decision (in English), see here.

The decision has also been published by now (only in German), see here

Heinz & Zagrosek recognized as top antitrust/competition law firm in Germany in several rankings

Heinz & Zagrosek has been recognized as one of the top antitrust/competition law firms in Germany in several rankings this year: renowned magazines brandeins, Wirtschaftswoche, Focus as well as Handelsblatt/Best Lawyers all rank partner Silke Heinz and the law firm Heinz & Zagrosek among the top antitrust lawyers in Germany.  We are very pleased and would like to thank everyone for the great feedback! This provides us with even more motivation to continuously aim at producing excellent work, offer tailor-made services to our clients and become even better!

(Here are links to the rankings.)

Competition law compliance and digitization

Silke Heinz gave a short speech on the topic Competition law compliance and digitization at the webconference Legal & Compliance Forum on April 30, 2020.  She speaks about the recent tendencies of competition authorities pursuing hardcore restrictions in vertical supply relations and horizontal cartels, including on the role of technological developments in the digital economy.  At the end, Ms. Heinz talks about the role of algorithms, how competition authorities view these and presents conclusions for compliance work.  You can find a video of the speech here (in German)

New publication: Knott/Zagrosek, The Company as Perpetrator – Compliance and M&A under the Planned German Corporate Criminal Sanctions Code (November 19, 2019).

The Company as Perpetrator, Compliance and M&A under the Planned German Corporate Criminal Sanctions Code.
Germany law does not yet provide for a corporate criminal liability in general. For anti-trust law, similar corporate criminal provisions compared to those now planned in general do already exist. The level of fines will be much higher than in the past (up to 10% of worldwide group revenues) and violations must be prosecuted, there is no more discretion. The new law shall also provide for successor liability which in M&A transactions may cause the Buyer to be responsible in addition to the Target and the Seller. Indemnities and remedies against future losses as well as careful structuring of transactions is required. The publication is published in Revista de Direito Comercial, 2019, and available at SSRN:
https://ssrn.com/abstract=3496803.
Both authors have also published an article about this topic in German in: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht (ZIP), 2019, Heft 50/S. 2385, Knott/Zagrosek, „Das Unternehmen als Täter – Compliance-Fragen bei M&A Transaktionen nach dem geplanten Unternehmensstrafrecht“.

Amazon EU antitrust proceedings

Silke Heinz discusses the recently opened EU Amazon antitrust proceedings in a podcast of the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s series “Our Curious Amalgam”, together with the other guest, Damien Geradin, and the hosts Matthew Hall and John Roberti.  The discussion covers inter alia the impact of Amazon’s dual role as operator of the Amazon marketplace and as retailer active on the same platform, the information/data collection aspects of the case, and possible lessons for the digital economy.  You can listen to the podcast here.