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French Regulator Drops Meat-Cutting Sector Case Following Antitrust Review

 |  May 15, 2024

The Autorité de la concurrence in France has dismissed a case concerning practices within the meat-cutting sector. This ruling marks the first time the Autorité has scrutinized mergers below national notification thresholds under antitrust law and subsequently dismissed the case.

The examination, conducted under the Towercast judgment of March 16, 2023, granted the Autorité the power to assess whether mergers below judicial review thresholds have engaged in anticompetitive practices, as outlined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The case involved Akiolis, Saria, and Verdannet, who were accused of creating and implementing an agreement to allocate the French meat-cutting market geographically through 21 cross-divestitures of business assets in 2015.

However, the Autorité found that the evidence presented did not uphold the existence of an overall geographic market allocation plan. It concluded that the exchanges between the parties were part of preparatory discussions for the mergers and did not constitute an anticompetitive practice.

Furthermore, the Autorité determined that the merger agreements did not have an anticompetitive purpose, while the lack of sufficient information prevented a thorough analysis of the agreements’ effects on the market.

Source: Autorite de la Concurrence