Monday, 1 July - Tuesday, 2 July 2019, Steigenberger Wiltcher's, Avenue Louise 71, 1050, Brussels, Belgium

E-mail Tel: +44 20 3780 4137

Chairs

Benoît Durand

RBB Economics, Brussels and Paris

Benoît Durand is a Partner at RBB Economics, which he joined in 2008. He has over 20 years of experience in competition economics, particularly in applying quantitative techniques in the context of competition law investigations. Prior to joining RBB, he was Director of Economic Analysis at the UK's Competition Commission, and a member of the Chief Economist Office at the Directorate General for Competition at the European Commission.

Thomas Janssens

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Brussels

Thomas heads our global antitrust, competition and trade practice group – a role he combines with his dynamic and broad client practice.

In client mandates, Thomas immerses himself in the business of his clients in order to provide innovative, tailored solutions to global antitrust issues. In leading our antitrust practice, he works with colleagues across the firm to apply our energy, thought leadership and values to stay on top of our game.

He advises on EU and international antitrust law, covering transactional and conduct matters as well as related litigation. Clients turn to Thomas for complex EU and international mandates, especially those requiring strategic management of cross-border challenges and parallel proceedings before several authorities.

Keynote Speaker

Richard Whish QC

Emeritus Professor, King's College London

Emeritus Professor Richard Whish is a legal academic and author. He is a qualified solicitor and was in legal practice in London from 1989 to 1998. He was admitted in 1977. He has been recommended for his contribution to competition law and policy, in the UK, the European Union and in many other countries with competition laws throughout the world.

Programme

Monday 1 July 2019

13.25: Welcome coffee and registration

13.45: Chair's opening remarks

Thomas Janssens, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Benoit Durand, RBB Economics

14.00: Keynote speech

14.30: Merger control in flux

Is merger control broken? Amid the real or perceived politicization of EU merger control and a renewed push for European champions, is there a need for reform of the bloc’s merger regulations?

This panel will also explore the sands shifting under merger control regimes around the world. Are non-mainstream theories of harm the new normal? And should authorities look more critically at vertical mergers? Are efficiencies real? Should authorities presume harm?

15.40: Coffee break

16.10: No more smoke-filled rooms? – developments in cartel enforcement

As the number of leniency filings around the world plummets, is leniency still attractive? Has harsher scrutiny of whistleblowers and leniency applicants killed the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg? 

This panel will also ask whether this downturn is simply a dip in the cycle of cartel enforcement – with the various amnesty-plus pipelines drying up - or if algorithms, parallelism and other less-detectable cartel activity – coupled with those leniency concerns – has ended the golden age of anti-cartel enforcement.

17.20: Conclusion of day one

19.00 onwards: All delegates are invited to attend a drinks reception and All Conference Dinner sponsored by Shearman & Sterling

 

Tuesday 2 July 2019

8.15: Welcome coffee and registration

8.45: Richard Whish QC’s The Year in Review

Professor Whish will review the year just gone, emphasising the themes and trends behind the headlines.

Speaker:

Richard Whish QC, Emeritus Professor, King's College London

10.15: Coffee break                           

10.40: Mergers in the courtroom

This panel will explore the strategies and outcomes of a host of recent merger trials that have affected case law on both sides of the Atlantic. The panel will explore the impact of the AT&T/Time Warner trial and appeal in the US, and the UPS/TNT case and the outstanding appeals in the EU courts, along with several other merger matters that have found their way to the courtroom in various jurisdictions. What did the agencies get right or wrong in each case, and what are the lessons for future litigants challenging or defending deals?

11.50: Vertical reform in Europe

With three years until Europe’s vertical block exemption regulation expires, we ask how the European Commission has enforced the law in light of the exemption, and whether the exemption remains fit for purpose. We also look at recent resale price maintenance cases and whether such agreements should fall under the exemption and be shielded from the EU’s article 101.

12.50: Networking lunch                                

13.50: Full compensation for injured parties: where do we stand more than four years after the adoption of the Antitrust Damages Directive?

Follow-on damages actions have been increasing for some several years, but has the directive really made a difference to facilitate these actions? And if so where?

The panel will also ask whether the damages directive had any impact on leniency applications, and whether the EU’s draft guidelines on the passing-on of overcharges, if enacted, would help follow-on actions, notably for indirect customers.

15.00: Coffee break

15.20: Reviewing the Vestager years and looking forward – will the pendulum swing in the other direction?

As Commissioner Vestager’s tenure as head of DG Competition comes to a close, we look back at her time as Europe’s head competition enforcer and ask whether the agency under her guidance has been as fair and transparent as possible; examine her legacy of strong state aid and abuse of dominance enforcement; and question whether Europe might abandon local competitiveness in favour of global competitiveness under the next head of DG Competition.

16.20: Chairs’ closing remarks 

Thomas Janssens, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Benoit Durand, RBB Economics

16.30: Conference close

Venue

Steigenberger Wiltcher's, Avenue Louise 71, 1050, Brussels, Belgium

Ticket prices

Private Practitioner
Type Price Until
Super Early €1,300  17 May 2019
Early €1,500 14 June 2019
Standard €1,800 2 July 2019

 

In-house/governmental
Type Price
Standard €0