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19 January 2021 / article

Competition law in the Netherlands in 2020

We are pleased to present to you with our overview of competition law developments in the Netherlands in 2020. 2020 proved to be an interesting year with the first (published) cartel fines since 2015 and various landmark merger cases. In addition, the ACM intensified its focus on the digital sector and published several important decisions on the enforcement of competition law in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus crisis, this made it an intense and successful year for our Competition Team, in which we accelerated our growth of the last years.

What happened in 2020? A landmark case was the Rotterdam district court’s annulment of the first ministerial approval of a merger that was prohibited by the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (PostNL/Sandd). Another case in point was the high-profile media acquisition DPG Media-Sanoma, in which Loyens & Loeff successfully represented DPG Media. No less than five phase II merger decisions were taken (with a sixth case being withdrawn very late into the process).

In addition, the ACM published its first cartel fines decisions in nearly five years (including a total of EUR 82 million of fines being imposed on the major tobacco producers in the ACM’s first decision relating to an indirect exchange of information between competitors). The ACM also investigated alleged abuses of a dominant position by pharmaceutical companies. Finally, the ACM issued three important statements regarding the application of competition law during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these landmark cases was handled by our Competition Team.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. We will be happy to discuss.

Click here to download the pdf-version from 'Competition law in the Netherlands in 2020' or read it below.

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