The Israeli Competition Authority recently published a draft public statement regarding the submission of joint bids by competitors in tenders. The draft proposes an interpretation of the Competition Law that may significantly affect the business activities of entities operating in Israeli tender markets. Foreign entities that consider participating in bids in Israel as part of a group should be aware that they may need to obtain the competition commissioner's prior approval.
The Competition Tribunal's recent judgment thoroughly analysed the legality of target discounts offered by a dominant firm to its customers. The tribunal adopted a cautious approach towards retroactive target discounts, ruling that such pricing schemes could be condemned even if an equally efficient competitor was not excluded by the target discount and the level of market foreclosure was limited.
The attorney general (AG) recently submitted his opinion regarding the applicability of the excessive pricing prohibition under Israeli law and the appropriate test for its application. Adopting the Israeli Competition Authority's current opinion regarding excessive pricing while opposing the broad approach taken by the court in the Central Bottling Company case, the AG maintained that the Supreme Court should determine that the Competition Law prohibits monopolists from setting unfairly high prices.
The Israeli Competition Authority recently published several clarifications regarding the application of the Economic Competition Law 5748-1988 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The clarifications refer to three main issues – namely, collaboration arrangements between competitors, gun-jumping rules in merger cases and postponement of reports required under the Law for the Advancement of Competition in the Food Sector 2014.
In February 2019 the Israel Competition Authority (ICA) published for public consultation a draft amendment to Public Statement 1/16: Considerations of the Competition Commissioner in Determining the Amount of a Monetary Penalty. Following public comments on the draft amendment, the ICA has now published a final amended statement. As such, the ICA's new methodology for imposing monetary penalties has taken full effect.
The Israel Competition Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Antitrust Regulations (Registry, Publication and Reporting of Transactions) for public consultation. The draft includes significant and far-reaching changes regarding the scope of the transactions that will require merger approval by the competition commissioner, as well as the extent of the disclosure that will be required when filing merger notifications.
In January 2019 Parliament passed a comprehensive amendment to the Economic Competition Law 1988. Among other things, the amendment introduced an alternative definition of a 'monopoly' based on a market power test rather than market share and significantly increased the maximum cap for monetary administrative penalties which can be levied on corporations. To put the new rules into practice, the Israel Competition Authority recently published draft guidelines on both of these matters.
Parliament recently passed an amendment to the Economic Competition Law that represents its most significant overhaul since its enactment in 1988. The amendment covers nearly all of the law's substantial chapters and affects the regulation of restrictive arrangements, the merger control regime, the regulation of monopolies and criminal and administrative enforcement measures.
The Israel Competition Authority recently published amended versions of the Block Exemption for Ancillary Restraints in Mergers and the Block Exemption for Joint Ventures. The amended block exemptions intend to lower the regulatory burden imposed on businesses and enable the fast implementation of efficient arrangements by expanding the use of block exemptions.
In recent years, parallel and private imports have become an important factor in the public debate surrounding the cost of living in Israel. The level of competition (and ultimately prices) in many product markets is heavily dependent on imports. The recent amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law aims to provide the antitrust commissioner with the authority to prevent conduct by official importers that may hinder competition from parallel and private imports.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently published the Antitrust Rules (Joint Loans Block Exemption) 2018. The exemption deals with loans extended jointly by a number of financial institutions to a single business borrower and provides a more formal and broader framework than the IAA's previous policy of periodic public opinions, which exempted consortium arrangements from restrictive enforcement under certain conditions.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Vertical Block Exemption for public comment. The amendment aims to expand the substantive self-assessment of vertical arrangements and was published as a response to Supreme Court rulings which called for a more lenient approach to vertical arrangements and practitioner criticism of the current exemption. The amendment reflects a more general trend in Israeli antitrust law towards a substantive self-assessment regime.
The Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law for public comment. The amendment proposes a broad reform of the law as regards restrictive arrangements, monopolies and mergers. According to the authority, the amendment aims to decrease the existing regulatory burden that applies to legitimate and efficient practices and strengthen anti-competitive enforcement.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that Regulation 500(7) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, which concerns court approval for service outside Israel, is not met where the alleged act or omission occurred outside Israel and only the anti-competitive effects are alleged to have taken place in Israel. The court further ruled that the effects doctrine – the governing doctrine for applying local antitrust law to foreign conduct – pertains only to the substantive applicability of such law to foreign conduct.
The antitrust commissioner recently announced her intention to impose unprecedented financial sanctions on several monopolies and market leaders in Israel, as well as some of their senior officers. These announcements indicate that the use of financial sanctions to combat the abuse of a dominant position will likely play a key role in the Israel Antitrust Authority's agenda for the coming years.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published draft guidelines on resale price maintenance arrangements, following a Supreme Court decision that fundamentally changed the legal standard applicable to vertical arrangements. The draft guidelines survey the main concerns arising from resale price maintenance arrangements, the competition benefits that they may produce and the general methodology that should be used to analyse such arrangements.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently concluded its initial re-evaluation of its policy on the prohibition on excessive pricing by monopolies and published draft guidelines on the factors that it will consider in enforcing the prohibition. The draft guidelines structure the IAA's decision-making process in enforcing the excessive pricing prohibition and are expected to reduce significantly the number of cases in which the IAA will take action on the grounds of excessive pricing.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently published draft guidelines on the factors that the IAA commissioner will consider when determining the financial sanction to be imposed on antitrust violators. The draft guidelines aim to structure the commissioner's decision-making process when determining financial sanctions while considering the specific circumstances of each case and offer a quantitative methodology in this regard.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently announced a public hearing and formal re-evaluation of the merits, enforceability and effectiveness of its policy regarding the prohibition on excessive pricing by monopolies. The announcement may result in a major overhaul of the IAA's policy regarding excessive pricing and the annulment of major portions of its guidelines on the issue.
The antitrust commissioner recently imposed a $2.3 million fine on Ashdod Port for providing retroactive discounts to vehicle importers that used its facilities. Discounting practices are generally welcome, but when undertaken by monopolies, some discounting schemes may contravene antitrust laws. Dominant firms are advised to check their pricing practices to avoid potential liability.