Editors' Note

We are pleased to present the next edition of Mayer Brown’s Antitrust & Competition Review. This edition focuses on antitrust compliance efforts and previews recent developments as well as upcoming changes in the United States, Europe, and South America.

Compliance Efforts

Price Increases. Implementing price increases can be a stressful time for manufacturers. In addition to the business concerns that accompany an increase, manufacturers must also be wary of the dangers associated with competitor communications at or near the time of the increase. Adam Hudes and Stephen Medlock offer tips on how companies can avoid the antitrust pitfalls associated with price increase announcements.

Criminal Cartel Enforcement. In recent years, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has significantly increased its efforts to prosecute and penalize corporate executives who engage in cartel conduct. This has resulted in, among other things, an increased focus on foreign nationals and historically long prison sentences for antitrust violations. Bob Bloch, Kelly Kramer and Stephen Medlock analyze the trends and highlight the importance of effective corporate compliance programs.

Compliance Programs. Speaking of compliance programs, the fact that a company has such a program is just the beginning. If companies want to reduce the likelihood of antitrust violations or minimize the impact when a violation occurs, it is necessary for the program to be proactive and have “buy in” from the company’s top executives. Richard Steuer analyzes recent comments from the US Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement at the DOJ Antitrust Division on how to maintain an effective antitrust compliance program.

Recent Developments and Upcoming Changes

Private Damages Actions in the EU. Traditionally, private damages actions for antitrust violations in the European Union (“EU”) have been at a very low level compared to the United States. However, in November 2014, the EU issued a directive to make it easier for private citizens and companies to recover damages for violations of antitrust law through litigation before the courts of the Member States. Margarita Peristeraki and Kiran Desai summarize the directive’s key provisions and consider the future of such actions in the European Union.

Promotional Allowances. The US Federal Trade Commission recently issued revisions to the “Fred Meyer” Guides, which are intended to help businesses ensure that their advertising allowances and promotional payments are in compliance with the price discrimination statute, the Robinson-Patman Act. Richard Steuer reviews the impact of the new amendments.

Natural Gas Industry. Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could have significant consequences on the regulation of pricing conduct in the natural gas industry. Paula Garrett Lin examines the parties’ arguments and previews what is at stake.

Merger Control Measures in Brazil. Finally, Eduardo Gaban evaluates recent announcements by Brazil’s Council for Economic Defense (“CADE”) regarding the upcoming changes to the country’s merger clearance system.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Mayer Brown’s Antitrust & Competition Review, and we welcome your questions and comments.

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