On 22 December 2021, the Bundeskartellamt published its review of 2021, which explains the actions it took in that year. First, it initiated new proceedings against Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta (formerly Facebook). This was partly because the Bundeskartellamt had improved its abuse control in early 2021, enabling it to proceed more quickly and effectively against anti-competitive practices by large digital corporations.
Second, it imposed fines of approximately EUR 105 million for illegal cartel agreements. The fines were imposed on special steel producers and steel forging companies and for vertical price-fixing agreements for musical instruments, school bags and consumer electronics. Nine companies informed the Authority about infringements in their sector using the Authority’s leniency programme. Further tip-offs were received from other sources.
Third, although the scope of application of merger control was limited by a legislative amendment in early 2021, the Bundeskartellamt examined approximately 1,000 corporate mergers. Of these cartels, 14 were closely examined in the so-called second phase. Three of these were cleared without obligations. One merger was cleared with obligations, which meant that EDEKA was only allowed to take over some of the Real stores.
Finally, the Competition Register for Public Procurement was launched at the Bundeskartellamt in 2021. The Competition Register provides over 30,000 public contracting authorities in Germany with information helping them to assess whether a company must or can be excluded from a public procurement procedure for having committed economic offences.