Competition Tribunal overturns decision against book publishers

The Competition Tribunal overturns the decision of the Norwegian Competition Authority against five companies in the Norwegian book market. The Tribunal does not agree with the Authority that four publishers and the database operator, Bokbasen, have violated the Competition Act.

The Competition Tribunal does not agree with the Norwegian Competition Authority that the practices in question constituted a restriction of competition by object violating section 10 of the Competition Act which prohibits anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices. The fines imposed on the parties have thus been annulled.

– In this case, the Norwegian Competition Authority found that an exchange of information between competitors in a concentrated market violated the Competition Act. The Competition Tribunal disagrees with our decision, and we will now carefully review of the Tribunal’s decision, says Tina Søreide, Director of Competition.

As the Competition Tribunal has found in favour of the parties, the ruling is final.

– This case will now be closed by the Competition Authority. The Authority cannot bring this decision before the courts. Following a recent amendment to the Competition Act, the Authority will have the opportunity to bring an appeal against decisions of the Tribunal in future cases, says Karin Stakkestad Laastad, Legal Director.

This is the case:

  • In January 2018, the Norwegian Competition Authority carried out inspections at the premises of the five companies involved.
  • Following the inspections, a number of statements were obtained from involved persons and extensive documents and data were reviewed.
  • A statement of objections was sent to the participants on 24 September 2020.
  • The parties submitted their replies to the Competition Authority’s statement of objections to in January 2021.
  • On 29 November 2022, the Norwegian Competition Authority imposed fines on the five companies involved totalling NOK 545 million.
  • In May 2023, the parties appealed the decision to the Competition Tribunal.
  • On 23 November 2023, the Competition Tribunal overturned the Competition Authority’s decision.
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Portrait photo of Tina Søreide
Tina Søreide, Director General of the Norwegian Competition Authority
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Portrettfoto av Karin Stakkestad Laastad, juridisk direktør i Konkurransetilsynet.
Karin Stakkestad Laastad, Legal Director.

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