South African Competition Tribunal clears the acquisition of AutoTrader by OLX 14.11.17
On the 2nd of November the Competition Tribunal of South Africa cleared the acquisition of Autotrader South Africa by OLX (part of Naspers), subject to a condition surrounding employment. The proposed transaction brought together OLX, one of the leading generalist online advertising portals in South Africa, with Autotrader, one of the leading automotive online advertising portals. The clearance followed the South African Competition Commission’s recommendation that the transaction be approved on the basis that OLX was not a close competitor to Autotrader and that the merging parties would continue to face a range of competitors post-transaction.
Google Search (Shopping) appeal 13.11.17
Google has appealed the European Commission’s infringement decision in Google Search (Shopping), along with the record-breaking fine imposed of €2.42 billion. The Decision found that Google abused a dominant position as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its comparison shopping service.
Google’s pleas to the General Court, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 30 October 2017 (available here), argue that the European Commission was wrong to find that Google favoured its own comparison shopping service. The appeal also argues that the Decision erred in its finding that the allegedly abusive conduct “diverted” search traffic and in its finding that the conduct was likely to have anti-competitive effects, particularly as a result of a failure to take proper account of the competitive constraint exercised by merchant platforms like Amazon and eBay on comparison shopping services. Finally, the appeal argues that the Decision erred by treating quality improvements as abusive and that given the novelty of the case (as well as the fact that the Commission selected the case for commitments), a fine is unwarranted.
The case number for the action before the General Court is T-612/17 (Google and Alphabet v Commission).
RBB has advised Google on this case since its beginnings in early 2010. RBB also advises Google on a range of other competition matters, including the Google Android and Google Search (AdSense) EC cases.
UCT Law@Work Competition Conference 13.10.17
Patrick Smith will speak at the UCT Law@Work Competition Conference, to be held in Johannesburg, over 12 and 13 October 2017. The programme includes an opening address by the Minister for Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, and panel discussions involving Judges from the Competition Appeal Court and members of the Competition Tribunal. Patrick will speak across two sessions, first discussing recent developments in the presentation of economic expert evidence, and second addressing the topic of “the concentration problem”, that is the primary area of focus in proposed amendments to the South African Competition Act.
RBB Partner to speak at the annual competition conference in Russia 13.10.17
Vitaly Pruzhansky will join a panel discussion on abuse of dominance at the 9th annual conference “Antitrust in Russia” in Moscow on 27 October 2017. The conference brings leading practitioners and competition officials discussing the hottest issues in competition enforcement in Russia. For more details click here.