France: The French Competition Authority Fines Database Providers For Price Fixing And Customer Allocation – Bird & Bird

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In its decision of April 12 2023, the French Competition
Authority (the “Authority“) condemned
the price-fixing and market-sharing practices committed over a
period of more than 30 years by Bureau van Dijk
(“BvD“) and Ellisphere in the sector of
the sale of subscriptions to economic intelligence and business
information products.

  • A total exemption from fines for BvD under the new leniency

BvD submitted a leniency application in accordance with Article
L. 464-2 IV of the French Commercial Code which allows undertakings
that have participated in a cartel to disclose its existence and
obtain, under certain conditions, the benefit of a total or partial
exemption from financial penalty.

In this case, BvD were granted a full exemption from financial

This is the first implementation of the new leniency procedure
resulting from the law of December 3 2020, which simplified the
applicable procedure.

  • Non-application of the Notice on Fines for Ellisphere which
    requested the application of the settlement procedure

It therefore remained for the Authority to sanction the other
party to the cartel, which did not benefit from the leniency

In the case at hand, Ellisphere did not contest the reality of
the practices and requested the application of the settlement
procedure provided for in Article L. 464-2 III of the French
Commercial Code.

Usually, even in a settlement procedure, the penalties are
determined by reference to the method set out in the Notice on
Fines (with a reduction granted for procedural efficiency).

The specificity in this case is that “in the interest
of uniformity in the analysis of the determinants of the penalty
and taking into account the particularities of the use of these two
” the Authority has chosen not to refer to its
Notice on Fines.

The decision of the French Competition Authority
is available here (in French)

Originally published May 17 2023

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