The Merger Control Review: France

Introduction

i Merger control authority and regulatory framework

Exclusive jurisdiction of the French Competition Authority

Since 2008, the French Competition Authority (FCA) has been the only authority in charge of French merger control.

As an independent administrative authority, the FCA has replaced the Minister of Economy. However, the latter has retained some residual powers pursuant to Article L430-7 of the French Commercial Code (FCC), including the right to request, at the end of Phase I, the initiation of an in-depth review (the FCA has total discretion on whether to act upon this request) and the right to use its power, regardless of the final decision at the end of Phase II, to overturn the FCA's decisions on public interest grounds (e.g., notably, preservation of employment).

Regulation and guidelines

French merger control is regulated by:

  1. Articles L430-1 to L430-10 and R430-1 to R430-10 of the FCC; and
  2. the FCA's merger control guidelines, which are not binding but are usually applied by the FCA except in exceptional circumstances.

The FCC and the FCA's guidelines refer to the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR)2 and to its consolidated merger control notice from 2008. In the context of modernisation and simplification of the merger control procedure in France, the FCA's guidelines were revised in July 2020, replacing the previous version from 2013.3

ii Transactions that require prior approval

All concentrations that meet the applicable thresholds require a filing to the FCA.

Definition of a concentration

Pursuant to Article L430-1 of the FCC, a concentration occurs when:

  1. two or more previously independent undertakings merge;
  2. one or more persons, already holding control of at least one undertaking (or one or more undertakings) acquire, directly or indirectly, control of the whole or parts of one or more other undertakings; or
  3. a joint venture that performs all the functions of an autonomous economic entity, on a lasting basis, is created.

A notifiable concentration may result from an acquisition of control but also from the change of the quality or structure of control (e.g., change from joint control to exclusive control and vice versa).

The notion of control is similar to the definition under the EUMR (i.e., the exercise of a decisive influence over the activity of another undertaking). An undertaking is deemed to have a decisive influence when it can either adopt (positive control) or block (negative control) strategic decisions (e.g., approbation of the budget or the business plan, nomination of the board). Control can be exercised either individually (exclusive control) or jointly (joint control).

Rights, contracts or other elements can confer control, either separately or in combination, when they provide the possibility of exercising decisive influence on the activities of an undertaking. This is the case in particular for:

  1. rights of ownership or use of all or part of the assets of an undertaking; and
  2. rights or contracts that confer a decisive influence on the composition, deliberations or decisions of the organs of an undertaking. The FCA recently indicated that it will, however, require additional factual or legal elements if control is acquired by way of a contract only.4

Thresholds

The FCC provides the applicable thresholds. The turnover to be considered depends on the undertaking concerned: merging entities, acquirer or target in the case of acquisition of exclusive control, and parent companies and target in the case of joint control.

To calculate the turnover of the undertakings concerned, Article L430-2 of the FCC refers to the rules set out by Article 5 of the EUMR, which provides that the relevant turnover is the turnover of the last audited fiscal year (excluding internal turnover). Specific turnover calculation rules are set out for certain sectors, such as the financial sector. Adjustment of turnover must take into account the effect of permanent changes in the economic situation of the undertakings concerned if these changes are not reflected in the latest audited accounts (e.g., acquisition, divestment).

General thresholds

Article L430-2 of the FCC provides three cumulative conditions:

  1. the total worldwide turnover of all the undertakings concerned exceeds €150 million;
  2. the aggregate turnover in France of at least two of the undertakings concerned is more than €50 million; and
  3. the transaction does not fall within the European Commission's jurisdiction.

There are no specific rules for foreign-to-foreign transactions, which are reportable to the FCA if they meet the above thresholds.

Specific thresholds in the retail sector and French overseas territories

Article L430-2 of the FCC provides alternative thresholds if (1) at least two undertakings concerned operate in the retail sector or (2) at least one undertaking concerned operates a part or the totality of its business in French overseas territories (i.e., Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion Island, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy) and the total worldwide turnover of all the undertakings concerned exceeds €75 million; the aggregate turnover in France of at least two of the undertakings concerned exceeds €15 million (€5 million if it is related to the retail sector and is located in French overseas territories); and the transaction does not fall within the European Commission's jurisdiction.

French Polynesia and New Caledonia now have their own merger control regimes.

Mandatory notification and failure to notify

Notifications to the FCA are mandatory and suspensive (i.e., the parties cannot implement the transaction prior to the approval of the FCA). The acquirer is the notifying party in the case of an acquisition of exclusive control, both parent companies in the case of an acquisition of joint control or the merging entities in the case of a merger.

Pursuant to Article L430-8 of the FCC, the failure to notify or the implementation of a transaction before its authorisation is illegal (gun-jumping). The applicable penalties include a fine of up to a maximum of 5 per cent of the notifying party's turnover in France during the last closed and audited financial year, an order to file with penalties or an order to unwind the transaction.

The FCA has already imposed fines for failure to notify, with the most significant fine (€4 million) imposed in 2013 to Castel group, a company active in the wine industry.5 The FCA found – after a third-party complaint – that Castel did not notify the acquisition of six companies prior to closing the deal in May 2011. The transaction was ultimately notified and cleared after a Phase II examination period.6 The FCA justified the amount of the fine, in particular by determining that (1) there was no doubt that the transaction was notifiable, (2) the sale agreement identified a mandatory notification that was expressly waived by Castel in the transaction's implementation agreement, and (3) Castel was aware of merger control rules, having filed a notification with the European Commission two months before signing the litigious sale agreement. The FCA's decision was partially overturned on appeal, with the amount of the fine reduced to €3 million.

With regard to the violation of the suspensive effect of a notification, the FCA imposed one of the highest fines (€80 million) for gun-jumping in Europe on Altice/SFR (2016). The investigations concluded that Altice had breached French merger control regulations by implementing the transaction before its authorisation. The FCA highlighted that during the suspension period, Altice (1) approved SFR's submission to calls for tenders, (2) approved commercial conditions of a significant contract for SFR, which was renegotiated, (3) influenced SFR's pricing policy, and (4) coordinated with SFR for the acquisition of OTL. Altice also exchanged various pieces of commercially sensitive information and coordinated on common commercial actions with SFR and OTL before the authorisation. Altice was also fined for gun-jumping by the European Commission in 2018 (€124.5 million) in the context of the acquisition of PT Portugal under the EUMR as well as under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Year in review

Due to the covid-19 crisis, FCA activity decreased in 2020 with 196 merger control decisions, compared to 270 cases in 2019. In 2020, its first prohibition decision was issued in the food retail sector.7 In the first four months of 2021, the FCA adopted 70 decisions, including a second prohibition decision.8

i Prohibition decision in the food sector: Soditroy/E Leclerc

Soditroy and the Association des Centres Distributeurs E Leclerc intended to acquire joint control over a Geant hypermarket in Troyes. After an in-depth analysis, the FCA determined that the transaction would create a local duopoly between Carrefour and E Leclerc, leading to significant competitive restraint on the food retail market in the Troyes area, and that the presence of regulatory barriers to entry would prevent any new competitor from entering the market. For the FCA, the main consequence of the transaction would have been (1) an immediate reduction in products offered to customers, (2) a risk of a price increase due to unilateral effects, and (3) coordinated effects between Carrefour and E Leclerc in the Troyes area due to the high transparency of the market. To address these concerns, the parties proposed to reduce the surface area of the store by 2,000m2. This was not considered to be a suitable commitment because it would have further reduced the offer available on the market. In the absence of any appropriate remedy, the FCA blocked the transaction.

ii Buying alliances and ex ante control: Auchan/Casino/Metro/Schiever and Carrefour/Tesco

In October and December 2020, the FCA used its power to control ex-ante non-concentrative operations for the first time. Parties to joint purchasing agreements or the establishment of any non-concentrative entity to buy products in common must notify this action to the FCA at least four months before the implementation of the agreement if specific thresholds are met. In 2020, the FCA considered two large-scale purchasing agreements in the private label sector. To address the competitive concerns identified by the FCA, the parties had to offer remedies, which consisted of reducing the scope of joint purchases of private label goods and limiting the cooperation to certain product families to ensure small and medium-sized enterprises retained the right to bid for tenders.

iii Prohibition decision in the refined hydrocarbon industry: Ardian/SPMR

This transaction concerned the acquisition of sole control by Ardian of SPMR, which controls a pipeline in south east France. The FCA concluded after conducting a Phase II review that the transaction would allow Ardian to be the sole decision maker on the commercial policy of this pipeline, which was qualified as essential infrastructure. Ardian would thus be in a position to potentially increase prices or reduce quality of services. It is interesting to note that the FCA acknowledged that the pipeline is subject to state oversight (protection of national security concerns related to the supply of refined products), which, however, does not include competition issues. This regulatory framework alone would therefore be insufficient to set aside the competitive concerns. The FCA concluded that the commitments offered by the parties were insufficient and that no injunction was possible unless France adopted an ex ante regulation applicable to the sector. The prohibition decision remains subject to an appeal.

The merger control regime

i Waiting periods and time frames

There are two exceptions to the standstill obligation:

  1. exceptional circumstances such as insolvency proceedings;9 and
  2. exchange of securities on a regulated market that provides an automatic derogation if the acquirer does not exercise the rights attached to the securities.10

Pre-notification

Prior to the formal review period, the notifying party is encouraged to engage in pre-notification discussions with the FCA. In theory it is optional but in practice it is almost automatic, especially in complex cases, which allows the notifying party to complete the notification and limit information requests during the Phase I review period. The pre-notification period is not time limited and can last from a week to several months, depending on the complexity of the case.

To initiate the pre-notification phase, the notifying party can rely on a binding agreement or any proof demonstrating that the negotiations are sufficiently advanced (e.g., letter of intent or a memorandum of understanding). In the case of a public bid, pre-notification may take place once the purchase or exchange offer has been publicly announced. The FCA may also contact the parties directly if it sees public information about a reportable transaction. Since 2019, there has been an online pre-notification procedure available for very simple cases.11

Phase I review period

The Phase I review period begins the day after the formal submission of a complete notification to the FCA. Under the revised guidelines, the FCA intends to issue a certificate of completeness 'generally' within 10 business days of the notification date.

The FCA has 25 business days to review the transaction in Phase I, automatically extended to 40 business days if the parties propose commitments. The parties can also request an additional 15 business days to finalise their commitments. The FCA can stop the clock at any time during Phase I if the notifying party (1) fails to inform it of a new fact that should have been included in the notification, or (2) fails to provide the information requested or prevents third parties from providing requested information.

The FCC does not provide a shorter review period for simplified cases. However, past experience shows that the FCA generally issues a decision in an average of 15 business days. The revised guidelines include, for the first time, this average time frame, which is not, however, binding on the FCA.

After the Phase I review period, the FCA can:

  1. consider that the transaction does not require a notification;
  2. authorise the transaction unconditionally or subject to remedies (subject to the Minister of Economy's power to request the opening of a Phase II review within five business days); or
  3. if serious doubts persist on the effects of the transaction on competition, open a Phase II review.

Phase II review period

The Phase II review period can be initiated by the FCA in the event that a concentration raises serious doubts as to its effects on competition or at the request of the Minister of Economy. During the first 15 business days, the FCA sends a report to the parties and to the representative of the Minister of Economy, who can submit comments. During this period, additional requests, state-of-play meetings and hearings take place.

The FCA has 65 business days to issue a decision, but the review can be extended if:

  1. commitments, or amendments to commitments previously proposed, have been submitted more than 45 business days after the date of the opening of Phase II; or
  2. the notifying party requests an extension of up to 20 business days.

Phase II cannot last more than 85 business days but the FCA can stop the clock for the same reasons as in Phase I. In practice, the average review period for Phase II by the FCA is approximately 170 business days from the notification date. However, in a 2020 retail transaction prohibition case, the review period was 249 business days.

At the end of the review period, the FCA can authorise the deal unconditionally or subject to remedies, authorise the transaction and impose on the notifying party measures necessary to ensure effective competition on the market, or prohibit the transaction. In 2020 and 2021, the FCA blocked two transactions12 following an in-depth analysis, which constitute the only prohibition decisions since the FCA has been exclusively in charge of merger control in France.

After the final decision of the FCA, the Minister of Economy has 25 business days to use its power to overrule the decision. Since 2008, this has happened only once, in 2018, when the Minister of Economy decided to review the William Saurain/Cofigeo transaction (cleared subject to commitments by the FCA) and modified the commitments to preserve employment in the region.13

ii Third-party access to the file and rights to challenge mergers

While third parties do not have access to the file, there are various opportunities for them to share their comments and observations, or to challenge the transaction, including during the pre-notification phase. After the publication of the summary of the transaction on the FCA's website, the transaction becomes publicly known, giving third parties the right to submit comments within a specified time. Third parties are mainly solicited (via questionnaire, hearings, etc.) during the market test in case of the existence of an affected market or when the FCA deems it appropriate, or to assess the effectiveness of proposed commitments.

iii Resolution of authorities' competition concerns

To address the FCA's competition concerns, the notifying party may propose effective, verifiable, neutral and proportionate remedies during Phase I or Phase II. If the parties do not propose such remedies, the FCA may impose them by way of injunction. The latter has happened only twice between 2008 and 2021.14

The FCA states in the revised guidelines that it has a clear preference for structural remedies, which mainly include asset divestitures. Some commitments can be mixed, particularly when they attempt to address horizontal and vertical concerns at the same time. The FCA is, however, generally more likely than the European Commission to accept behavioural commitments. For example, in Bernard Hayot Group/Vindémia, the FCA accepted innovative behavioural commitments consisting of maintaining the existing level of supplies from local producers and introducing a new provision into supply agreements with manufacturers likely to be in a state of economic dependence, allowing them to conclude a two-year contract.15 The FCA also published a study on behavioural commitments in 2020.16

In 2020, the FCA cleared nine Phase I cases subject to commitments: structural remedies were imposed in five cases,17 mixed commitments in two18 and behavioural remedies in two.19

To monitor the implementation of the adopted remedies, the FCA can appoint a monitoring trustee. A model of the trustee's mandate is provided in the FCA's revised guidelines.

If the parties fail to comply with remedies, Article L430-8 of the FCC grants the FCA the power to impose financial penalties on the notifying party of up to 5 per cent of its turnover achieved in France and other measures (e.g., injunction20 or withdrawal of the authorisation).21 In Altice/SFR,22 the FCA imposed two fines (€15 million in 2016 and €40 million in 2017) for non-compliance with behavioural remedies. In 2018, in FNAC/Darty,23 the FCA imposed its first fine for failure to comply with a structural remedy (€20 million).

iv Appeals and judicial review

The FCA's decisions can be appealed before the French Administrative Supreme Court within two months of the notification of the decision to the parties (or of the publication of the decision for third parties, who must demonstrate that they have an interest in challenging the decision). The appeal does not have suspensive effect, but the applicant may request it as an interim measure.

In November 2019, the Court confirmed the FCA's fining decision in the FNAC/Darty case and stated that the FCA does not have an obligation to justify the amount of the fines in cases of violation of commitments.24 In March 2021, the Court recognised that the social and economic committee of the target company can be considered an 'interested party' entitled to challenge the decision and ensure that the interests of employees are taken into account.25

v Regulatory review

The sectors in which specific merger rules apply include:

  1. the broadcasting, banking and insurance sectors: the FCA must consult the relevant regulatory authority when it opens a Phase II procedure;
  2. the retail sector: the creation of a joint purchasing agreement or any non-concentrative entity to jointly procure products must be notified at least four months before the implementation of the agreement if it triggers specific thresholds;26 and
  3. the media sector: conglomerate mergers in the media sector are restricted and prior approval of the French broadcasting authority (CSA) is required.

The FCA can also request non-binding opinions from sectoral regulatory authorities.

Other strategic considerations

i Coordination with other jurisdictions

The FCA is engaged in permanent dialogue with other competition authorities. At the European level, the FCA continues to be an active member of the European Competition Network and the European Competition Authorities. Following the recent creation of competition authorities in French Polynesia and New Caledonia, the FCA has actively provided support to these authorities on both technical and operational levels, including by seconding officers and providing training to local case handlers.

A significant recent development concerns cooperation with the European Commission. While the FCA and the Commission do not have concurrent jurisdiction, they can and do refer cases to one another under the referral mechanisms provided by the EUMR. For example, the Commission fully referred two merger cases in the retail sector to the FCA.27

However, in September 2020, the FCA publicly welcomed the announcement by the Commission that it would accept referrals from national authorities under Article 22 of the EUMR, including when concentrations are not subject to national merger control rules. Soon thereafter, in April 2021, the FCA submitted a referral request to the Commission under Article 22 of the EUMR to assess the proposed acquisition of Grail by Illumina. This is the first application of Article 22 of the EUMR in the case of a transaction that does not reach Commission or national notification thresholds and would therefore not be subject to merger control review in France or the EU. The parties to the transaction appealed the referral request of the FCA before the French court (Council of State), but the appeal was rejected for lack of jurisdiction. The referral is part of the EU procedure and therefore subject to review by the European courts.

ii Financial distress and insolvency

Article L430-4 of the FCC provides the possibility of requesting a derogation from the suspensive effect to allow parties to proceed with a transaction before obtaining clearance from the FCA.

The revised FCA guidelines consolidate its approach in restricting the derogation procedure to exceptional cases only. The notifying party needs to address the question of the viability of the target company and the urgent nature of the matter justifying a derogation from the suspensive effect. In practice, the FCA applies a strict and formalistic approach, requesting almost systematically that the target company should already be subject to formal insolvency proceedings or should be taking active steps to imminently be subject to these proceedings.

In practice, this approach was not modified in the context of the covid-19 crisis. However, while the statutory review periods were temporarily suspended in March 2020, the FCA mostly strived to apply a pragmatic approach and adopt decisions within a time frame compatible with the timing of the notified transactions. Due to a mandatory working-from-home policy, the FCA also temporarily allowed companies to submit notifications electronically. This no longer applies and physical submissions are again required.

iii Transactions in regulated sectors

The existence of laws and regulations applicable to the relevant markets is traditionally taken into account by the FCA throughout the competitive assessment. The revised guidelines provide that the existence of a regulatory framework must be considered, in particular to the extent it impacts a key element of competition (e.g., the behaviour of the demand, the setting of prices or the quality of the products or services at stake).

Recent FCA decisions signal that it will scrutinise mergers taking place in regulated sectors by considering the effects of the transaction on the parameters of competition not entirely covered by the relevant regulation. For example, in the social housing sector, the FCA considered that while social housing organisations are subject to strict regulation with respect to the selection of candidates, maintaining a certain level of quality of facilities and setting the maximum rent, they remain free to provide higher quality or lower rent, especially in geographic areas where the pressure on social housing is less significant. This approach allows the FCA to assess, in detail, the effects of proposed acquisitions in certain geographic areas.28

More recently, and as indicated above, the FCA blocked the proposed acquisition by Ardian of sole control of SPMR, a company operating a pipeline for refined hydrocarbon products in south east France.29 The FCA noted, in particular, that no remedy or injunction to prevent a potential price increase by SPMR was possible. According to the FCA, any such injunction would be equivalent to sectoral regulation and the FCA considered that a behavioural injunction cannot replace ex ante regulation.

Outlook and conclusions

i Continuous modernisation of the French merger control regime

The FCA strives to continuously modernise the French merger control rules and procedures. In 2019, it created an online platform allowing electronic submissions and simplified the notification form and, on 23 July 2020, it adopted the revised guidelines.

The revised guidelines consolidate the most recent case law of the FCA and provide a clearer view of both procedure and substantial analysis. Procedural changes include, in particular, the possibility of requesting a case team, similarly to the European Commission, the extension of eligibility to the simplified procedure, and the FCA's commitment to confirm whether the notification file is complete within 10 working days of notification. The latter constitutes a noticeable evolution of the FCA's practice, which formerly consisted of confirming that the notification was complete only at a later stage of the formal procedure. It is yet to be observed whether this new approach leads the FCA to stop the clock more frequently.

In substance, the revised guidelines provide an updated view of competitive assessment, including the possibility of taking into account competitive pressure from online sales in the retail sector. The guidelines also include templates for the submission of structural commitments and the appointment of a monitoring trustee, as well as further clarification of the nature of internal documents that the FCA may request.

The adoption of the revised guidelines does not put an end to the modernisation of the merger control regime. Significantly, the FCA is studying the relevance of a post-closing review of certain transactions falling below the notifiable thresholds, in particular in the digital sector. This reform would nevertheless require the intervention of the French Parliament and appears less relevant because of the reform of Article 22 of the EUMR.

ii Focus on digital sector and integration of environmental concerns

The FCA announced its intention to focus on digital markets in both antitrust cases (e.g., the creation of a unit dedicated to the digital economy in January 2020) and merger cases (e.g., the publication of a study on competition policy and digital markets in January 2020). The FCA signals that it will take into account the competition exercised by online platforms, consider effects that are not price-related (e.g., collection and use of data) and have a more forward-looking analysis.

We also expect that the FCA will pay attention to transactions in the financial technology sector after the publication of an opinion on fintechs and competition law in April 2021. The FCA acknowledges, in particular, that market definition may be a particularly difficult exercise in the fast-moving technology markets in the financial sector.

Finally, integration of sustainable development concerns into the FCA's decision-making process is also to be watched. This is in line with the European Green Deal initiative and the general trend of adapting competition policy to environment-related concerns.

iii Expected clarifications on transactions below thresholds

The FCA stated that it will exercise caution in the context of the health and economic crisis. This may have two consequences. First, a larger number of transactions involving companies in financial distress is expected, and the FCA will need to adapt its assessment to the current economic situation, especially in the retail sector, which has been seriously impacted by the covid-19 crisis.

Second, the FCA is expected to monitor transactions escaping its jurisdiction due to the lower turnover achieved by companies in 2020. In this regard, we may see further referrals to the European Commission based on Article 22 of the EUMR, and the future judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal on the appeal of an FCA decision of January 202030 will have material relevance. The FCA stated in that decision that a concentration, even if it does not reach the national thresholds requiring compulsory notification, is not subject to antitrust rules and does not constitute in itself an abuse of dominance. Should the Paris Court of Appeal confirm this analysis, it would provide legal certainty to parties implementing a concentration that does not meet the notifiable thresholds.

Footnotes

1 Faustine Viala is a partner, and David Kupka and Maud Boukhris are associates, at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

2 Council Regulation (EC) No. 139/2004.

3 For more information on the guidelines revision, see Section IV.

4 For example, capital participation or specific shares (e.g., the acquisition of the distribution services of electrical goods of 30 Carrefour hypermarkets by Fnac-Darty, decision dated 1 July 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-81).

5 Cases Nos. 12-D-12, 13-D-01 and 13-D-22.

6 Acquisition of six Patriarche Group companies by Castel Frères SAS, decision dated 2 July 2012, Case No. 12-DCC-92.

7 Acquisition of joint control of a food retail business by Soditroy alongside the Association des Centres Distributeurs E. Leclerc, decision dated 28 August 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-116.

8 Acquisition of sole control of Société du Pipeline Rhône-Méditerranée by Transport Stockage Énergies, decision dated 12 May 2021, Case No. 21-DCC-79.

9 See, e.g., acquisition of sole control of 511 stores of Camaïeu International and Financière Brame by Financière Immobilière Bordelaise, decision dated 8 December 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-172.

10 Equivalent to Article 7 of the EUMR.

11 For more information, see Section V.

12 See footnotes 7 and 8.

14 Acquisition of sole control of part of the ambient ready-made meals division of the Agripole group by Financière Cofigeo, decision dated 14 June 2018, Case No.18-DCC-95 and acquisition of sole control of TPS and CanalSatellite by Vivendi and Canal Plus Group, decision dated 23 July 2012, Case No. 12-DCC-100.

15 Acquisition of sole control of Vindémia Group by Groupe Bernard Hayot, decision dated 26 May 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-72.

17 Acquisition of joint control of Financière Pain Frotté by the Kin Siong, Lam Tow and Yong Wai Man groups, decision dated 3 March 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-28; acquisition of sole control of the Laborizon Group by the Biogroup, decision dated 17 July 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-90; acquisition of sole control of the Dyomedea-Neolab group by the Biogroup, decision dated of 23 July 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-92; acquisition of sole control of the Via Location group by the Fraikin group, decision dated 23 September 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-132; and acquisition of sole control of assets from Franprix Leader Price Holding by Aldi, decision dated 17 November 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-164.

18 Acquisition of sole control of Vindémia Group by Groupe Bernard Hayot, decision dated 26 May 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-72; and merger between the agricultural cooperatives Coopérative Dauphinoise et Terre d'Alliances, decision dated 30 June 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-82.

19 Acquisition of sole control of la Société de financement local by la Caisse des dépôts et consignations, decision dated 18 September 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-126; and acquisition of sole control of Euro Information Telecom by Bouygues Telecom group, decision dated 22 December 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-191.

20 Compliance with the engagement taken in the decision allowing the acquisition of SFR by Altice regarding the agreement concluded with Bouygues Telecom, decision dated 8 March 2017, Case No. 17-D-04.

21 Fulfilment of the commitments stated in the decision allowing the acquisition of TPS and CanalSatellite by Vivendi Universal and Canal Plus Group, decision dated 20 September 2011, Case No. 11-D-12.

22 Compliance with the engagement taken in the decision allowing the acquisition of SFR by Altice regarding the agreement concluded with Bouygues Telecom, decision dated 8 March 2017, Case No. 17-D-04.

23 Compliance with commitments annexed to Decision 16-DCC-111 of 27 July 2016 regarding the acquisition of sole control of Darty by Fnac, decision dated 27 July 2018, Case No. 18-D-16.

24 Judgment of the Administrative Supreme Court dated 7 November 2019, Appeal No. 424702.

25 Judgment of the Administrative Supreme Court dated 9 March 2021, Appeal No. 433214.

26 See, e.g., practices implemented in the major food retailer sector by the Auchan, Casino, Metro and Schiever groups, decision dated 22 October 2020, Case No. 20-D-13.

27 Aldi/FPLPH Assets, 4 June 2020, Case M.9847 and Mobilux/Conforama France, 26 June 2020, Case M.9894.

28 See, e.g., acquisition of sole control of Sodiac by CDC Habitat, decision dated 17 July 2020, Case No. 20-DCC-84.

29 Acquisition of sole control of Société du Pipeline Rhône-Méditerranée by Transport Stockage Énergies, decision dated 12 May 2021, Case No. 21-DCC-79.

30 FCA decision 20-D-01 of 16 January 2020.

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