March 2020 – February was another month where Turkey's digital economy was in focus. The month's main highlight was the conclusion by the Turkish Competition Authority ("TCA") of its Google Shopping investigation.
In another important development, the Ankara Administrative Court annulled the controversial 2018 excessive pricing decision of the TCA against the online platform Sahibinden.com. It was stated in the judgment of the Ankara Administrative Court that; the TCA failed to provide detailed economic evidence and could not meet the sufficient standard of proof for excessive pricing. This judgment is expected to provide very important insights on the two on-going excessive pricing investigations against Port Akdeniz (a Mediterranean port) and Biletix (Ticketmaster in Turkey).
The TCA concluded the following investigations in February:
- The TCA concluded the mobile telecommunication companies Turkcell and Vodafone did not violate Article 6 of Law No.4054 (concerning abuse of dominant position) by not providing call termination services to NetGSM.
- The TCA imposed an administrative monetary fine on Google for a total amount of approximately EUR 15 million for violating its dominant position in the comparison and general search markets by showing its online sales competitors at disadvantageous locations in favour of its own services. The TCA gave Google three months to comply with certain obligations of its decision. Moreover, Google is obliged to submit reports to the TCA once a year for a total period of five years for its market conduct.
- The TCA decided that Turk Telekom did not abuse its dominant position by engaging in indirect refusal-to-deal concerning leased lines for data services it provides. The allegations were that Turk Telekom imposed high prices and applied disproportionate agreement terms on its downstream competitors that won government tenders and which rely on access to Turk Telekom's infrastructure. Although the TCA did not find any infringement as a result of the investigation, it decided to send an opinion letter to the Information Technology and Communication Institutions, Turkey's telecoms regulator—probably pointing out some structural problems.
The TCA approved the following merger control filings at the Phase I stage:
- Merger of Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd with Sanyo Chemical Industries Ltd.
- Acquisition of sole control of OMNOVA Solutions, Inc by Synthomer plc.
- Joint control of Aquila Capital Holding Gmbh by Daiwa Securities Group in favour of Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure Co. Ltd.
- Acquisition of joint control of investment funds of the Blackstone Group Inc by HH Global Group Ltd.
- Acquisition of sole control of Veeam Software Holding Limited by funds managed by Insights Holdings Group, LLC.
- Acquisition of Bayer Animal Health (a branch of Bayer AG) by Elanco Animal Health Inc.
- Acquisition of sole control of Sanovel İlaç San. ve Tic. A.Ş. and its subsidiaries by MCP Private Capital Fund III SCSp bia MCP Investments III Sarl in favour of Yamma Investments.
- A joint venture between Peugeot SA, Opel Automobile GMBH and Saft Groupe S.A. that will operate in the area of developing, manufacturing and suppling battery cells and modules for electric batteries.
- Acquisition of Sebat Çakmak Sınai ve Tüketim Malları San ve Tic. A.Ş., controlled by Gözde Girişim Sermayesi Yatırım Ortaklığı A.Ş., by Can Uluslararası Yatırım Holding A.Ş.
- Interim joint control of Untes Isıtma Klima Soğutma, Untes VRF Klima and Untes Rhoss by NIBE Industrier AB (sole control shall be acquired after the interim period).
- Acquisition of joint control of Zaragoza Properties SOCIMI, S.A. by Generali SCF S.a.r.l and Union Investment Real Estate GMBH.
- Acquisition of sole control of Clariant Plastics & Coating AG, a subsidiary of Clariant AG, by PolyOne Corporation.
- A joint venture between Sumitomo Corporation, Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Kirk J. Lewis.
- Acquisition of Macquarie AirFinance Limited and a limited number of shares of Macquaire AirFinance Group Limited by Sunsuper Pty Limited.
- Acquisition of sole control of Asia Capital Reinsurance Group Pte. Ltd. by Catalina Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd.
- A joint venture between Daimler A.G. and Swiss Re Ltd.
- A joint venture between Prime Overseas Holdings LLC and Hayim Pinhas Kimyevi ve Maden Mamülleri İhracat ve İthalat A.Ş. for the sale of several chemicals.
- Merger of Upjohn branch with Mylan N.V. after separation from Pfizer Inc.
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