The European Commission recently adopted and published the revised Research and Development Block Exemption Regulation and Specialisation Block Exemption Regulation, together referred to as the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations (HBERs), accompanied by the revised Horizontal Guidelines (HGLs). The adoption of the new HBERs and HGLs comes after the conduct of a similar review process and the adoption of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and Vertical Guidelines in May 2022. This revised horizontal package seeks to provide businesses with up-to-date guidance to help them self-assess the compatibility of their horizontal cooperation agreements with EU competition law.
The European Commission recently adopted and published a package to simplify the procedures for reviewing concentrations under the EU Merger Regulation. The goal of the package is to simplify merger review procedures, with a targeted 25% reduction on reporting requirements.
A recent announcement by multiple federal agencies has highlighted their intention to enforce their separate regulations against developers, deployers and users of AI systems. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan and officials from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each reinforced their worries about automated systems, citing civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection and equal opportunity concerns. Their serious language, joint public commitment and previous enforcement actions in this area make this statement no simple theater.
With growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and services, businesses are ramping up their “green” advertising endeavors to showcase eco-friendly credentials like carbon emissions reductions, renewable energy and recycled materials. In light of this surge in “going green” marketing, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed revisions to its Guides for Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides). The aim is to furnish companies with supplementary guidance on the types of environmental claims that can be made and the necessary substantiation required to steer clear of legal disputes, penalties or unfavorable public perception. These revisions could significantly impact advertisers that make “green” claims by requiring more specificity and more substantiation than before.
On April 20, 2023, the EU Commission (Commission) adopted and published a package to simplify the procedures for reviewing concentrations under Regulation (EC) 139/2004 of January 20, 2004 (European Union Merger Regulation – EUMR). This package includes a set of three materials comprising (i) a revised Merger Implementing Regulation (Implementing Regulation), (ii) a Notice on Simplified Procedure (Notice), and (iii) a Communication on the Transmission of Documents to the Commission (Communication). The new notification forms (Form CO, Short Form CO, Form RS and Form RM) are also provided as Annexes to the Implementing Regulation.
The core objective of the package is to simplify merger review procedures, with a targeted 25% reduction on reporting requirements. This evolution is more than welcome, especially in light of the very recent Regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (FSR) which recently entered into force, imposing additional burdens on M&A transactions. We discuss this recent entry into force of the new FSR in our last article, available here.
This new package intends to bring significant benefits for businesses and advisers in terms of easing preparatory work and related costs. Relieving this administrative burden lying on the parties to a concentration should hopefully speed up the approval process by the Commission. The new package will apply from September 1, 2023.