AdC sanctions Moody’s and Informa D&B for cartel
Press Release 09/2022
The AdC issued a sanctioning decision against Bureau Van Dijk Electronic Publishing, Unipessoal, Lda (Bureau Van Dijk), of Moody's Group, and Informa D&B - Serviços de Gestão Empresarial Soc. Unipessoal, Lda (Informa D&B) for a cartel related to the trade of the business information database SABI.
The AdC started the investigation in May 2021, after receiving a leniency application from Moody's Group, which acquired Bureau van Dijk in 2017.
Following unannounced inspections conducted by the AdC in June 2021, Informa D&B submitted its own leniency application in February 2022.
The behavior in question refers to Bureau van Dijk's product SABI, whose data is provided by Informa D&B.
SABI has a unique financial analysis and strategic marketing system regarding Portuguese and Spanish firms, which features data analysis, corporate results commercial and marketing information, as well as economic research, risk, and transfer pricing applications.
According to the contractual terms, both parties had the right to sell the final product to customers under the joint name of both companies.
The contractual terms adopted by the parties included clauses specifically referring to the coordination of sales forces, coordinated pricing policy, revenue sharing, and a non-compete clause whereby Informa D&B committed to discontinue a competing product.
According to the information provided by the companies, as well as the evidence gathered by the AdC, the behavior of the parties began in April 2013 and lasted until June 2021, covering the entire Portuguese territory.
The Competition Law explicitly prohibits agreements between companies which, having as their object to restrict competition in all or part of the national market, have, by their very nature, a high potential of negative effects, reducing consumers’ welfare and damaging the competitiveness of companies and the economy as a whole.
The settlement procedure
In addition to the reduction of the fine resulting from its leniency application, Informa D&B also benefited from a reduction of the fine for admitting to its participation in the anticompetitive behavior, cooperating with the AdC, and waiving to litigation in court, under the settlement procedure.
The fine imposed on Informa D&B, in the amount of €353.000, has been paid.
Bureau van Dijk also joined the settlement procedure and was granted a full immunity from the fine as it was the first company to report the infringement and provide evidence of its participation in the cartel (leniency).
The use of the settlement procedure is instrumental to simplify and enhance efficiency of procedures, while ensuring that companies that commit competition infringements are sanctioned.
For further information on the case, read the website.
The Leniency Program
The opening of the investigation by the AdC followed a complaint to the AdC from a company participating in the cartel, under the Leniency Program.
The Leniency Program provides a special regime for the immunity from or reduction of the fine in cartel cases investigated by the AdC. The first company to report a cartel in which it participates, may benefit from immunity from the fine. The following companies may benefit from a progressively smaller reduction of the fine. The Competition Law explicitly prohibits cartels, as agreements between companies restrict, by their nature and significantly, competition, in the whole or in part of the national market, reducing the welfare of citizens and companies.
Combatting cartels is a priority for the AdC, given the damage they invariably cause to consumers and companies, forcing them to pay higher prices and reducing the quality and diversity of the goods and services available.