Booking.com prevails in court – „narrow“ MFNs now permissible in Germany

On June 4, 2019, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals lifted the Bundeskartellamt’s prohibition decision of Booking.com’s “narrow” best price (or most favored nations, MFN) clauses in Germany. The court found that these clauses were necessary to ensure a “fair and balanced exchange of services between portal and hotels”.  The decision may have a significant impact on the assessment of best price clauses by digital platforms in Germany.  Silke Heinz wrote a post on Kluwer Competition Law Blog on the decision, see here.

Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 8, 2019, the BKartA decided that Facebook’s practice to collect and combine user data from third-party websites/apps, including from Facebook-owned services What’sApp and Instagram, without requesting user consent is an abuse of dominance.  It ordered Facebook to terminate the infringement, as well as to suggest solutions for an opt-out system, so that users refusing consent can continue using Facebook (and can only be subject to very restricted data collection and combination).  This is a far-reaching decision and aims right at Facebook’s business model.  Silke Heinz comments on the decision in Global Competition Review, see here.

She has also published a blog on the decision on Kluwer Competition Law Blog, see here.

Bundeskartellamt said to oppose Siemens/Alstom merger

Based on media reports, the Bundeskartellamt sent a letter to the European Commission opposing the planned merger, including with respect to the commitments the parties have offered.  Silke Heinz is quoted on this in Global Competition Review, inter alia on the national competition authorities only having an advisory role in European Commission’s merger control proceedings.  While they are heard, they cannot veto any Commission merger decisions.  You can find the article here.