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Swiss Competition Commission approves merger of local.ch and search.ch

By Gabriele Accardo

On March 24, 2015, the Swiss Competition Commission (“COMCO”) approved (press release available in French or in Italian) the merger between Swisscom Directories Ltd (“local.ch”) and search.ch despite the fact that the concentration will result in the creation of a dominant position in the online directories market. Swisscom Directories, with its online directories platform local.ch and its Local Guide phone directories business, is a leading advertiser and provider of directories in Switzerland. search.ch is a leading search and information service in Switzerland. Amongst other things, it offers an electronic telephone directory, an interactive map, a route planner, local weather reports, and up-to-date TV and cinema listings.

Following an in-depth investigation, COMCO concluded that effective competition would not be impeded because the two companies will continue to operate as separate services to create strong Swiss alternatives to global providers of search engines, such as Google and social networks, such as Facebook.

Swiss Competition Authority closes investigation against V-Zug and Electrolux

On 11 July 2011 the Swiss Competition Commission (“COMCO”) issued its decision (only in German, but the COMCO press release is available in Italian and French) concerning Electrolux’s and V-Zug’s restrictions of online home appliance sales.

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Swiss Competition Commission investigates online sales restrictions by Electrolux and V-Zug

On 16 September 2010, the Swiss Competition Commission (“COMCO”) announced (French, German, not available in English) that it is investigating Electrolux’s and V-Zug’s restrictions of online home appliance sales.

In particular, COMCO will look into Electrolux’s and V-Zug’s refusal to allow distributors to sell their products via the Internet.  The press release states that, pursuant to COMCO’s new guidelines (see also press release in German) on vertical agreements, in principle distributors should be able to use the Internet and to respond to online orders.

Although COMCO does not apply European Union competition law (because Switzerland is not an EU/EEA Member State), last June the Swiss authority issued new guidelines on distribution agreements in order to align its rules with the recently amended EU rules on vertical agreements, which the European Commission published last April and then entered into force on 1 June (See Newsletter 3/2010, p. 4).

The investigation may last up to 12 months, and the authority does not exclude the possibility that other producers of white goods may eventually be drawn into the investigation. [Gabriele Accardo]