Global antitrust in 2017

The impact on antitrust enforcement of changing political dynamics globally is likely to be felt in several material ways through 2017 and beyond. Anticipating and preparing for these changes will be crucial for businesses seeking to limit their exposure to investigation for suspected anti-competitive behaviour or looking to carry out cross-border deals in strategic or sensitive sectors.

Strong competition policies remain central to economic growth agendas. However, more antitrust authorities are coming under pressure to help deliver wider political goals of ensuring businesses are behaving responsibly, markets are open and competitive and all stakeholders – including consumers and employees – are being treated fairly.

A number of important themes are emerging that could impact commercial decision-making and risk management in the year ahead:

  • increased risk of political intervention in cross-border deals involving strategic sectors: separate drivers globally are contributing to increased risks of intervention in cross-border investments in certain sectors and countries. Changes to laws and policies need to be monitored closely;
  • increased scrutiny of new business models and impact on consumers: authorities remain focused on ensuring consumers are being treated fairly in the roll-out of new services and ways of doing business, with companies engaged in e-commerce or digital platforms remaining in the spotlight;
  • intrusive investigation techniques: as authorities rapidly build their expertise in data collection, businesses subject to cross-border investigations are facing challenging disclosure and data privacy issues, which must be anticipated well in advance to minimise the risk of challenge; and
  • rise of antitrust litigation: the increasing number of countries with legal frameworks in place to give rise to credible threats of private damages actions, together with the rise of class actions globally, is heightening the need for co-ordinated defence strategies.

We are delighted to enclose our seventh annual review of key trends in global antitrust enforcement, which explores these and other themes. If more detail on any of the issues discussed would be helpful, please get in touch with us or approach your usual contacts in our antitrust, competition and trade team.

Our best wishes for a successful 2017.

David Broomhall
Co-head, Antitrust, Competition and Trade Group
T +32 2 504 7015
david.broomhall@freshfields.com
Martin Klusmann
Co-head, Antitrust, Competition and Trade Group
T +49 211 49 79 137
martin.klusmann@freshfields.com