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The high fine spares Meta an official determination by the Israel Competition Authority that it violated competition law by failing to report mergers, and serves as a “warning sign” to other international corporations that may not be sufficiently familiar with the obligation pursuant to Israeli law to report a merger if the company fulfills the monopoly criterion.
In light of the security situation in Israel, the Director General of the Israel Competition Authority issued several special guidelines last week to facilitate business activities during the state of emergency.
Commercial information or intentions disclosed in public companies’ public statements might expose them to investigations or sanctions by the Israel Competition Authority. The tension between the reporting obligation and the desire to maintain a competitive market will be resolved only through clear guidelines issued by the regulatory authorities.
According to the Competition Authority’s Director General, the negative covenants included in the merger agreement between Strauss Group and Wyler Farm raise concerns of harm to competition, and the parties began implementing the merger before receiving approval.
The amendment is part of the government’s efforts to bring down the cost of living by increasing competition in the import sector. However, the amendment also imposes considerable restrictions on direct importers.
As part of a series of measures to combat the cost of living, the Israel Competition Authority’s Director General is taking broad law enforcement measures for the first time against major food suppliers for violations of the Food Law. Inter alia, the Food Law prohibits food suppliers and retailers from engaging in various commercial arrangements that could prevent small suppliers or retailers from competing.
This is not the first time the Israel Competition Authority has imposed sanctions on companies that fail to respond adequately to its demands for data. However, this is the highest sum ever imposed for such a violation and approaches the maximum the ICA’s Director General may impose in this regard.
The regulations grant several new rights to the relevant data subjects, when the database contains information transferred from the European Economic Area (EEA) to Israel, including the data subject’s right to delete information and a broader right of review.
The Israel Competition Authority is imposing a stricter policy against resale price maintenance arrangements, and increases enforcement in this area, to make the market more competitive.
The Israeli government is continuing to amend the Competition Law with the intention of curbing the cost of living. In the crosshairs are direct importers, who will be subject to strict scrutiny once the amendments are enacted.
The Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Competition Authority are pushing to introduce a plan in the annual Economic Arrangements Law that would impose significant restrictions on importers and suppliers of major brands, with the aim of reducing concentration and increasing competition in the food and toiletries market in Israel.
The Israeli Competition Authority believes its authority to issue information requests is not limited to Israeli companies, and that foreign companies with no affiliation to Israel are also subject to its authority and to fines for breach of the Competition Law.
Israeli district courts have already recognized the possibility of suing a monopoly for charging an unfair excessive price, but the Israeli Supreme Court’s recognition of this cause of action ends defendants’ potential arguments for opposing this very possibility.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling in principle that it sees no merit in the approach of releasing a person who breached the law from criminal liability based on the fact his or her lawyer failed to warn that the planned action was criminal.
The striking innovation in this draft bill is that, upon its enactment, monopolists, even if not declared as such, must publish their financial statements, even if they are not reporting companies.
The new format heralds a reduction in the volume of transactions that require reporting. However, it imposes a far heavier burden on parties to transactions that do require reporting, even for mergers posing no competitive concerns.
A few days ago, the Israeli Competition Authority published for public comments draft public statement 1/22, presenting its position on vertical price maintenance arrangements. The final public statement 1/22 will replace the Competition Authority’s previous statement 2/17 published in 2018.
In December 2021, the Jerusalem District Court dismissed two motions to certify a class action against the leading dairy manufacturer in Israel, Tnuva, for charging excessive prices. Both the motion and the dismissal are part of an intense dispute for years. The dispute revolves around whether the prohibition of a monopolist charging an “unfair” price applies to charging excessive fees. In 2014, the director-general of the Competition Authority published a public statement on the prohibition of excessive pricing by a monopoly.
For the first time, the Israel Competition Authority has opened enforcement proceedings against a monopolist for abuse of its dominant position by charging an unfairly high price. Subject to a hearing, the authority intends to impose a pecuniary sanction of ILS 8 million on MBI Pharma Ltd. and personal sanctions on two officers of the company (of about ILS 600,000 each). The company faces accusations of charging an excessive price for Leadiant, a life-saving drug for CTX patients (an incurable genetic disease), which is marketed by MBI Pharma in Israel.