The international legal practice Osborne Clarke successfully represented the German company REWE Touristik in the pending procedure for restricting competition in travel sales at the European Commission – the group went unpunished. The hotel chain Sol Melia had given several tour operators guidelines on where and to whom cheap offers could be marketed. In the Brussels cartel guards’ opinion, the discrimination based on nationality or place of residence that this creates leads to restrictions on competition in the EU internal market.
The hotel chain now has to pay a fine of millions. The REWE Touristik (DERTOUR) defended by Osborne Clarke and the TUI represented by WilmerHale went unpunished, as did the insolvent Thomas Cook. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/de/ip_20_302
In order to ensure that Spanish or Italian travellers do not have to pay different hotel prices than German or Danish tourists, the commission already approached large tourism companies in 2015 with requests for information and has formal procedures in 2017, among other things, against TUI and REWE Touristik (DERTOUR) initiated. The Commission suspended this today without imposing any fines. The Commission typically rewards cooperating companies with a 10% reduction in fines.
TUI relied on Dr. Ulrich Quack and the WilmerHale team in Berlin. Dr. Thomas Funke in Osborne Clarke’s Cologne office led the defense for REWE. In the past, the retail group had used various sparks, most recently for Lekkerland when it was sold to REWE.
The parties involved in the process included:
Osborne Clarke (Cologne): Dr. Thomas Funke (partner), Ghazale Mandegarian-Fricke
In-house: Dr. Vanessa Farmand (Head of Antitrust Law, Dr. Carsten Bronny (both REWE Group, Cologne); Dr. Sebastian Hempel (Head of Legal Department Tourism), Dr. Anja Schlepper (both DERTOUR, Frankfurt)
DG Competition, Unit F1: Hubert de Broca, Daniel Boeshertz (successively Head of Unit), Dr. Markus Schmillen, Laura Stockute
WilmerHale (Berlin): Dr. Ulrich Quack
Representative Thomas Cook:
Skadden (Brussels): Ingrid Vandenborre
Representative Sol Melia Hoteles:
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels): Jacques Derenne
Garrigues (Madrid): Marcos Araujo