The new law makes certain substantial adaptations to the
procedures before the French Competition Authority. However, the
Constitutional Council quashed the structural injunction procedure
in the retail sector in metropolitan France, which, according to
the bill, could have been set up by the Competition Authority
independently from any abuse of a dominant position.
Settlement in procedures relating to anti-competitive
The "no challenge" procedure is replaced by a
settlement procedure which offers greater predictability to
companies with regard to the level of the reduction which may be
granted to them. It is now stipulated that when an organization or
company does not challenge the objections of anti-competitive
practices notified to it by the Competition Authority, the general
case handler may submit to it a settlement proposal stating the
minimum and maximum amount of the contemplated financial penalty.
If, within a period fixed by the general case handler, the
organization or company agrees to the settlement proposal, the
general case handler proposes to the Competition Authority to order
the financial penalty within the limits fixed by the settlement.
However, the improved predictability of the penalty will only be
effective if the range proposed by the company is relatively
Merger review periods by the Competition Authority.
The Macron law allows the Competition Authority to suspend the
review period of a merger when (i) the parties to the notification
have failed to inform it of a new fact upon the occurrence thereof,
or (ii) have failed to communicate to it all or part of the
information requested during the formal review procedure within the
given deadline, or (iii) when third parties have failed to
communicate to it the requested information for reasons
attributable to the parties having made the notification. The
expiry of this suspension remains vague insofar as the new law
merely indicates in this respect that these periods will resume
"upon the disappearance of the cause justifying the
suspension". It is to be hoped that this will not deprive of
all efficiency the pre-notification procedure which today allows
the parties to ensure in advance that their file is complete and to
organize the closing date of their operation as from the formal
Anti-competitive practice with a local dimension.
The Competition Authority can now reject a referral when the
facts involved can be treated by the DGCCRF (administrative body of
the Ministry of Economy) and therefore have a local dimension. It
should be recalled that the DGCCRF is competent to rule on
practices which affect a local market (without of course affecting
trade between Member States) and provided the turnover realized in
France for each of the authors of the anti-competitive practice
does not exceed €50 million.
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