Information exchange under EU and UK competition law
Information exchange under EU and UK competition law

The following Competition practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Information exchange under EU and UK competition law
  • Different types of information exchange and antitrust risk
  • EU competition law
  • Information exchange in the 2010 Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines
  • Prevention, restriction or distortion of competition
  • Restrictions of competition by object
  • Restrictions of competition by effect
  • Approach to information exchange in the Commission’s Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines
  • Market characteristics
  • Characteristics of the information exchange
  • More...

Information exchange is a regular commercial practice which can increase transparency of price and other commercially sensitive information and, in some instances, generate efficiencies.

The European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been increasingly targeting information exchange as an anti-competitive practice. At the same time, information exchange remains one of the most challenging areas for the application of competition law. Examples of relevant conduct include alleged price signalling, exchange of information and bid-rigging, unilateral disclosure of information about pricing intentions, indirect exchanges of information, information exchange through an intermediary, information exchange in Initial Public offerings and share placing or information exchange between merging parties.

This Practice Note considers the application by the Commission and CMA (and sectoral regulators) of Article 101 TFEU and the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 to agreements and concerted practices involving the exchange of information.

The Commission has provided guidance on information exchange between competitors in its Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines and devotes a whole section to this issue. However, the guidance has its shortcomings in providing only a starting point for assessing information exchange. It is far from comprehensive in covering the increasingly diverse situations in which information exchange has attracted the attention of the competition authorities.

Different types of information exchange and antitrust risk

A distinction should be drawn between:

  1. exchange of information to monitor a cartel

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