Eckart Wagner, together with Dr. Klumpe, presiding judge of the Cartel Chamber at the District Court of Dortmund, will moderate the discussion among the members of the Competition Litigation Forum on the recent judgment of the Amsterdam Law Bank, Netherlands, dated May 12, 2021, on damages in the truck cartel (the subject of the case is cartel damages for more than 200,000 trucks).
In the panel, together with the members, lawyer Joost Möhlmann, representing the plaintiff Cartel Damage Claims, Henner Schläfke from the law firm Noerr, representing the company DAF involved in the truck cartel, and Prof. Weber from Erasmus University Rotterdam will discuss the judgment of the Amsterdam court and draw possible comparisons with the German legal situation.
WAGNER LEGAL advised Ceravis, a leading company in agricultural trade and seed and feed production, part of the Danish Agro group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on the establishment of a joint venture, E-Vita, and conducted merger control proceedings before the EU Commission on behalf of all companies involved.
E-Vita will be active in the marketing, use, distribution and further development of electron technology for chemical-free seed treatment. WAGNER LEGAL was able to obtain merger control clearance for the establishment of E-Vita in an abbreviated Phase 1 procedure three weeks after notification.
JUVE recommends WAGNER LEGAL for competition law in its 2020/21 handbook: [WAGNER LEGAL’s] “long-standing relationships with clients.” “The founder’s excellent network helps it to regularly win new and large mandates.” Eckart Wagner is “frequently recommended” as, “very experienced in litigation” (competitor)
WAGNER LEGAL is growing with the addition of Eric Veillerobe. read more
Eric Veillerobe spent many years in Brussels advising on German and EU competition law and general EU law, first for the Confederation of German Employers' Association and then as a lawyer with Haver & Mailänder. His most recent focus was on private enforcement of competition law, inter alia in connection with the truck cartel and best price clauses on market places in the hotel sector. He represented clients in competition litigation matters before German courts.
He also advised on antitrust and merger control proceedings before the EU Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, inter alia in the food sector and conducted antitrust compliance training, in particular, for the European and German associations in the steel, chemical and textile sectors. In addition to his native languages German and French, he speaks fluent English, Spanish and Italian.
WAGNER LEGAL is very pleased that Eric Veillerobe is joining the team. With his international experience at the centre of European competition law and his special expertise in the field of private enforcement, Veillerobe is the ideal addition, bringing further strength to the team.
The largest German dairy company, DMK, is selling some of its ice cream production facilities in a complex asset and share deal, which will only be closed in 2021, to the largest German food retail group, Schwarz group, and its ice cream subsidiary Bon Gelati. The complexity of the transaction and the characteristic of the relevant markets caused certain difficulties relating to merger control and competition law matters.
WAGNER LEGAL advised DMK, together with the specialised corporate law firm Lawentus and the specialised employment law firm Altenburg (the Schwarz group is advised by Noerr) and could in close cooperation with Schwarz group's in-house competition lawyers achieve a first phase clearance by the German Federal Cartel Office. JUVE reported about the transaction in German, in JUVE Rechtsmarkt, April 2020, p. 70.
WAGNER LEGAL represented the parties in the merger control proceedings.
The JUVE Handbook 2019/20 recommends WAGNER LEGAL and Eckart Wagner as in previous years, here: “Often recommended: Eckart Wagner (‘always up to date,’ ‘competitor’).” JUVE also justified the recommendation as follows: “The antitrust boutique is characterized by long-standing client relationships and experience in litigation.” Wagner “and his team are among the most active lawyers in litigation. The boutique also regularly advises some well-known clients on mergers. The boutique also regularly advises a number of well-known clients on merger controls and has repeatedly demonstrated that it can also manage complex mandates.”
Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court dismisses Reuter's action against Cor (JUVE reports) read more
Reuter and WAGNER LEGAL (together with Rospatt Osten Pross), brought an action against the furniture manufacturer Cor before the Regional Court of Dortmund for damages and continued delivery after termination, following the successful legal dispute against the fittings manufacturer Dornbracht before the Federal Court of Justice (see News under 13.09.2014). The core of the legal dispute was the question - which, unlike in other antitrust damages cases, was not clarified in advance by the antitrust authorities - of whether Cor Reuter had impliedly given instructions on the level of the resale price in violation of antitrust law. In the opinion of the Dortmund Regional Court, Reuter was unable to prove the existence of such an implied price maintenance agreement and dismissed the action. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court has now dismissed the appeal (Reuter was represented by Osborne Clarke before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court). A possible clarification by the BGH is still pending. JUVE reported on the legal dispute here.
WAGNER LEGAL has filed a lawsuit against the German Banking Industry/Banking Associations for antitrust damages. The background of the lawsuit is the so-called commitment decision of the German Federal Cartel Office of April 2014, in which the German Federal Cartel Office ordered the German banking industry to negotiate the fees that merchants have to pay to the card-issuing bank for the acceptance of electronic cash (EC-Card)/girocard payments in a competitive environment instead of setting them uniformly. The plaintiffs claim that the uniform setting of merchant fees was in violation of antitrust law and led to excessive merchant fees.
WAGNER LEGAL, together with the French law firm MRP, advised the French ACTIA Group SA and Germany’s Kromberg & Schubert GmbH & Co. KG, both leading suppliers in the field of automotive electronics and electrical systems, on the formation of a joint venture and conducted the merger control proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office.
WAGNER LEGAL advised the Federation of the German Sporting Goods Industry (BSI) (members include Adidas, Asics, Reebok and more than 150 other sporting goods companies) on antitrust limits of the advertising and marketing ban during the Olympic Games and represented it as complainant in the abuse of dominance proceedings against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) before the German Federal Cartel Office. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Federal Cartel Office made binding commitments by the IOC and the DOSB which significantly expand the advertising and marketing opportunities of athletes and their (potential) sponsors also during the Olympic Games (see the JUVE report here and the press release of the Federal Cartel Office here.
WAGNER LEGAL advised Zentis on the establishment of a joint venture with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the marketing of plant proteins and represented Zentis before the German Federal Cartel Office.
Eckart Wagner speaks on antitrust limits to the restriction of sponsors' advertising and marketing opportunities during the Olympic Games at the Sports & Trademark Law Symposium of IP law firm Vossius & Partner, Munich.
WAGNER LEGAL advised Hoyer on the acquisition of NWB, which was responsible for the bunker business of the Marquard & Bahls Group, and represented it before the German Federal Cartel Office. Although the proceedings had raised some merger control issues and the prior notification of a third party's intention to acquire NWB was withdrawn in the second phase of the relevant merger control proceedings due to such issues, the Federal Cartel Office cleared the transaction in the first phase.
The JUVE Handbook 2018/19 recommends WAGNER LEGAL and Eckart Wagner as in previous years (see here). read more
“Often recommended: Eckart Wagner (‘experienced, competent, always up to date’, competitor).” JUVE also justifies the recommendation by stating that WAGNER LEGAL, in addition to its focus on distribution antitrust law, is “increasingly developing into a specialist for competition law-driven litigation,” including for “particularly complicated special cases.” JUVE also points out that competitors praise WAGNER LEGAL's know-how in intellectual property law as well as its industry knowledge of the toll market.
The European Court of First Instance initially declared EDEKA Hessenring's claim admissible following a reprimand by the European Commission in an interlocutory proceeding. After the European Commission subsequently published its fine-decision in the EURIBOR proceedings against Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Société Génerale, EDEKA Hessenring declared that the action had been partially settled. In a departure from previous case law practice, the European Court thereupon stated in the judgment only that the European Commission need not give further reasons for rejecting EDEKA Hessenring's request to also inspect the table of contents of the file.
WAGNER LEGAL is advising and represents Hoyer, a leading petroleum and liquefied petroleum gas distributor, with respect to its claim for damages against members of the truck cartel.
As in previous years, the JUVE Handbook 2017/18 recommends WAGNER LEGAL and Eckart Wagner for competition law. read more
JUVE justifies the recommendation, among other things, by stating that “competitors praise in particular its ‘tenacious representation’ and great ‘know-how’,” as well as the “competence in damages cases.” JUVE also points to WAGNER LEGAL's “considerable reputation” and the fact that WAGNER LEGAL is “pushing one of the largest damages actions against the sugar cartel” and is increasingly providing antitrust advice on joint ventures.
WAGNER LEGAL provided antitrust advice to HANSA-HEEMANN, the leading mineral water and soft drinks producer, with regard to the acquisition of Nestlé's “Fürst Bismarck” business (in particular, mineral water marketed under the “Fürst Bismarck” brand) and conducted the merger control proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office.
WAGNER LEGAL has advised the Working Group of Suppliers to Federal Motorway Filling Stations with regard to Tank & Rast's model for the award of fuel distribution rights at freeway filling stations applicable as of 2018 and represented it vis-à-vis the Federal Cartel Office and Tank & Rast (see the press release of the Federal Cartel Office here). Members of the Working Group of the Suppliers to Federal Motorway Service Stations are on the one hand mineral oil companies such as Shell, BP/Aral, Jet, Orlen and OMV and on the other hand the associations of the mineral oil middle class UNITI and bft.
WAGNER LEGAL provided antitrust advice to DMK subsidiary TURM-Sahne on the acquisition of the business of Bauer subsidiary Immergut in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and conducted the merger control proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office.
JUVE quotes Eckart Wagner in the article on the changes in antitrust law due to the 9th GWB (German Act against Restraints of Competition) amendment and its impact on antitrust damages law in the November 2016 edition of the magazine “Rechtsmarkt”.
Eckart Wagner will speak at the “UNITI Information Event” on the topic of, “Truck manufacturer cartel: options for medium-sized petroleum dealers with their own or leased fleets to possibly assert claims for damages”.
EU Commission subsequently publishes it. read more
The European Court of First Instance has declared admissible the action brought by EDEKA Hessenring against the rejection of its request to inspect, inter alia, the European Commission's decisions imposing fines in the EURIBOR antitrust proceedings against Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Société Générale. The European Commission subsequently published the EURIBOR fine decision on its website two days later.
As in previous years, the JUVE Handbook 2016/2017 recommends WAGNER LEGAL and Eckart Wagner for antitrust law. JUVE justifies the recommendation by stating that WAGNER LEGAL is “moving the market” on the currently particularly significant topic of antitrust damages and is receiving a great deal of praise from the market. Competitors praise WAGNER LEGAL's team as “experienced, competent and innovative” as well as “competent and very committed” and attest WAGNER LEGAL operates at “the highest level.”
German Federal Cartel Office terminates proceedings initiated by banking associations to reopen proceedings on EC merchant fees read more
In an order dated April 8, 2014, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office had declared binding commitments made by the Association of German Banks, the Federal Association of German Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken, the German Savings Banks and Giro Association and the Federal Association of German Public Banks to no longer set merchant fees in the electronic cash/girocard card payment system in a uniform manner, but to negotiate them bilaterally and freely in each case.
On January 29, 2015, the banking associations had filed requests for the Federal Cartel Office to reopen this commitment procedure and release the banking associations from these commitments. WAGNER LEGAL represented UNITI as an intervenor in the reopening proceedings. The Bundeskartellamt terminated the reopening proceedings on September 22, 2016, after the banking associations withdrew their requests for reopening.
ZDF's Frontal21 magazine interviews Eckart Wagner on “Secret Price Agreements” in the program broadcast on September 13, 2016.
Article with comments by Eckart Wagner read more
In its August 2016 issue, the EID Energy Information Service published an article on the antitrust assessment of the setting and level of merchant fees for the acceptance of EC/Giro cards and credit cards, as well as possible claims for damages by affected merchants, with comments by Eckart Wagner and Gunter Schröter, former chair of UNITI's Cards & Automation Working Group (see here).
JUVE quotes Eckart Wagner in the cover article “Netzattacken: The battle of online retailers against brand manufacturers” in the December 2015 issue of “Rechtsmarkt” magazine.
WAGNER LEGAL advises and represents leading mineral water and soft drinks producer HANSA-HEEMANN with regard to claiming damages against members of the so-called sugar cartel.
WAGNER LEGAL is advising and represents EDEKA Hessenring in enforcing claims for access to the fine decisions and the table of contents of the European Commission's files in the EURIBOR cartel proceedings against Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Société Générale. After the rejection of the request for access to the file by the European Commission, WAGNER LEGAL filed an action against this rejection before the European Court in Luxembourg.
JUVE justifies these recommendations, inter alia, by noting that "Eckart Wagner won one of the first awarding judgments in antitrust damages," competitors praise "very persistent and tenacious representation and advice at the highest level," and "the team of the large-law firm experienced antitrust lawyer is well connected in the market and has been consulted in several international merger control cases."
Süddeutsche Zeitung quotes Eckart Wagner in an article on antitrust limits for restricting online trade.
Graco Inc. acquired Illinois Tool Works, Inc. in 2012. read more
Under U.S. antitrust law, this acquisition was approved only under the condition that Graco sell the spray painting business ("Liquid Finishing Business Assets") with sales in excess of EUR 200 million to an acquirer approved by the U.S. antitrust authority. Until then, the spray coating business had to be held separately from Graco by a trustee. Against this background, Graco sold the spray painting business to Carlisle Companies Inc. on April 1, 2015. WAGNER LEGAL handled the merger control proceedings required for this divestiture on behalf of the trustee of Graco before the German Federal Cartel Office.
The German banking industry has made a commitment to the German Federal Cartel Office that it will no longer set a uniform fee for payment transactions with the Girocard. read more
In its decision of April 8, 2014, the Federal Cartel Office declared these commitments to be binding. Since then, at any rate, the card-issuing banks and their head associations have been obliged to negotiate the fees bilaterally with the merchants who accept the respective Girocard for payment transactions. On the merchant side, this negotiation can be conducted by so-called merchant concentrators. On March 9, 2015, also against the background of the competitive pressure emanating from the Electronic Direct Debit (ELV) and the planned EU regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions, the German Federal Cartel Office declared that the commitments had been implemented and terminated the proceedings against the credit institutions.
WAGNER LEGAL advised UNITI on the establishment of such a merchant concentrator, in which the companies of the petroleum industry cooperate, and represented UNITI in the process vis-à-vis the Federal Cartel Office and the credit institutions.
Eckart Wagner participates in the panel discussion on indirect cartel effects at the L&A Competition Day in Hamburg together with leading antitrust lawyers and competition economists from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Norton Rose, CDC and Lademann & Associates.
RWS reports read more
WAGNER LEGAL assisted Lawentus in the sale of Ziegler Group, a market-leading manufacturer of nonwovens for especially the automotive sector, to funds of DPE Deutsche Private Equity, in particular by handling the merger control proceedings for Ziegler Group.
The JUVE Handbook 2014/2015 lists Eckart Wagner as one of the “leading names in competition law” in Germany and recommends WAGNER LEGAL as a “renowned firm in competition law.” “Exceptional [...] is the experience with international merger controls. However, the strongest comment in the market was on the litigation success for Reuter, which was a much-noted damages decision of the year. Clients praise a ‘pleasant cooperation’ and Wagner as a ‘capable and proven expert.’”.
Eckart Wagner speaks at the “Online Trade Day” of the German Online Trade Association alongside the Head of the Competition and Consumer Policy Department at the German Federal Ministry of Economics, members of the German Bundestag, as well as representatives of online retailers, academia and online marketplaces on restrictions on online trade, including possible claims for damages.
Juve reports read more
The antitrust senate of the German Federal Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG and Mr. Andreas Dornbracht against the non-admission of the appeal in the judgment of the 1st Cartel Senate of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court of November 13, 2013 (see "News" on this judgment under this date). The judgment is thus legally binding.
As reported by Juve here, the decision of the Federal Court of Justice in this pilot case on antitrust damages in the case of indirect distribution restrictions was eagerly awaited, as it concerned particularly explosive issues at present. For the first time, it has now been clarified by the highest court that brand manufacturers can be liable for damages for measures that make online retailing even indirectly less economically attractive. Similarly, it has now been decided by the highest court for the first time with effect far beyond this case that, in addition to a company, members of the management can also be personally liable in full for damages under competition law.
Operators of gas stations and companies that have pricing authority for gas stations must report current price data for fuels to the Market Transparency Unit for Fuels at the German Federal Cartel Office. read more
The Market Transparency Unit passes this data on to approved consumer information services (VID). WAGNER LEGAL has assisted UNITI companies - under competition law - in establishing not only a VID, but also a price information service provider, which prepares the price data for consumers.
Eckart Wagner speaks on “Online trade and competition law” at the workshop “Restraints on trade in online trade” of the German Online Trade Association (BVOH) in Berlin on July 29, 2014.
Eckart Wagner lectures read more
Eckart Wagner speaks at the workshop organized by the EU Commission's Directorate General Connect as a member of the “Panel: Bans on Sales on Online Platforms: Effects on the Internal Market, Competition Law Perspective” on the antitrust framework for internet sales in the EU and Germany.
JUVE reports read more
Statoil Fuel & Retail AS acquires shares in Trafineo from BP Europa SE. Trafineo supports almost all European toll operators as a service provider. Trafineo is a wholly owned subsidiary of BP Europa SE, which manufactures and distributes petrochemical products within the BP Group in various European countries, and markets fuels and lubricants under the “BP”, “Aral” and “Castrol” brands. Statoil Fuel & Retail AS belongs to the Canadian Couche-Tard Group and primarily operates a large service station network in Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltic States and Russia.
Eckart Wagner, then still a partner at Corinius, led a team of corporate lawyers around former Corinius and current Lawentus partner Dr. Tilman Rückert, which supported the joint venture negotiations of BP Europa SE and Statoil Fuel & Retail AS and drafted the SPA and the joint venture agreements. After the formation of WAGNER LEGAL in August 2013, WAGNER LEGAL continued to lead the mandate and, in consultation with Dr. Tilman Rückert, continued to advise both parties on issues relating to the drafting of the joint venture agreements as well as analyzing merger control notification obligations for both parties and conducting the merger control proceedings in Germany as well as coordinating them in Austria - in cooperation with Schönherr partner Volker Weiss.
Eckart Wagner was mandated by BP Europa SE and Statoil Fuel & Retail AS because of his extensive experience in advising and representing companies in the petroleum sector, including in the area of fuel cards and toll-related services.
For further information, please see the related JUVE article here.
Auchan acquired the Eastern European business of Metro's grocery subsidiary Real for €1.1 billion on Dec. 6, 2012. The European Commission had transferred responsibility for the merger control review of the Polish part of the transaction to the Polish antitrust authority. After the acquisition of the Polish Real business was approved by the Polish antitrust authority in January 2014, subject to conditions, the transaction has now been completed.
Leading Polish commercial law firm SK&S advised Auchan on this transaction, which was subject to German law. WAGNER LEGAL has supported SK&S in this regard since September 2013.
SK&S and Eckart Wagner of WAGNER LEGAL (at that time still as a partner of Corinius) have already cooperated in advising the largest Central Eastern European group, the Polish petroleum group PKN Orlen and its German subsidiary Orlen Deutschland GmbH, respectively.
Rockwell Collins, Inc., USA, a leading global manufacturer of electrical and electronic equipment on board aircraft, has acquired ARINC Incorporation, USA, a leading global aviation communications services provider, for US$1.4 billion from private equity firm The Carlyle Group, USA, late last year following merger control clearances in the US and Germany.
Rockwell Collins was advised by Steptoe & Johnson and The Carlyle Group/ARINC by Latham & Watkins on the transaction. The merger control proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office were conducted by WAGNER LEGAL in cooperation with Steptoe & Johnson's Brussels partner Yves Botteman. It was possible to obtain merger control clearance from the German Federal Cartel Office in the 1st phase despite the size and competitive complexity of the transaction as well as third party submissions.
JUVE reports. read more
On November 13, 2013, the 1st Cartel Senate of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled that Reuter GmbH, the leading German online retailer in the sanitary ware sector, is entitled to damages in the millions against Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG, a leading manufacturer of sanitary fittings, because the criteria and conditions of Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG for the distribution of its products restrict online trade in violation of antitrust law. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court also ruled that Mr. Andreas Dornbracht, as the managing director responsible for the antitrust violation, is also personally liable for the full amount of the damages as an instigator or aider and abettor under the tortious participation rules.
Further information can be found in the JUVE press release here
Victoria von Meding comments in detail on EU state aid law issues regarding the promotion of professional sports clubs by the city of Bremerhaven in a TV report by Radio Bremen (buten un binnen magazine).
“Global Anti-Corruption and Anti-Cartel Investigations, Risk Management and Crisis Handling.” read more
Eckart Wagner will speak alongside leading international experts from the legal profession, corporations and government agencies (Yves Botteman, Steptoe & Johnson, Brussels; Mariana Tavares de Araujo, Levy & Salomo, Sao Paolo; Elisa Kearney, Davis Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto; Richard Battaglia, formerly Senior Antitrust Counsel, BP, Washington) at a session at the four-day Fall Conference of the International Law Section of the U.S. Bar Association on the intersection of antitrust and criminal corruption law and its impact for businesses in Germany and beyond.
Global Competition Review quotes Eckart Wagner extensively in the article “EU damages amendments may chill leniency” on the EU's proposed directive on damages actions for antitrust violations.
Eckart Wagner is organising and moderating this workshop. read more
Eckart Wagner is organising and moderating this workshop and, together with leading experts from labour, corporate and white-collar criminal law (Thomas Wahlig, PuschWahlig, Berlin; Dr. Patrick Teubner, Krause & Kollegen, Berlin; Dr. Tilman Rückert, Corinius, Hamburg), will speak on typical, competition law, compliance risks in practice as well as on prevention and response options.
Further information can be found here.