Gaël Hichri, an Associate in the Paris office, is a member of the Antitrust & Competition Group. Gaël specializes in competition and distribution law.
He advises and represents companies in matters relating to anticompetitive practices before the French Competition Authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) and the European Commission. He also advises companies on restrictive practices and litigation in the context of competition law.
Gaël has an extensive experience in the sectors related to pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, energy sectors, as well as luxury and mass consumer goods.
Before joining Orrick, Gaël worked at Clifford Chance (Commercial contracts – Paris) and at Toison Villey Broud (Antitrust & Distribution – Paris).
After gathering information from nearly 1800 stakeholders from all 28 EU Member States and collecting around 8000 distribution agreements, the EU Commission published on 15 September a preliminary report on the findings of its ongoing competition sector inquiry into e-commerce.
The inquiry was launched by the Commission in May 2015, after finding that despite the growing significance for e-commerce across EU countries over the last years (approximately 50% of the population of the Union shopped online in 2014), cross-border online trade remained limited.
While such limitations may have been attributable to language barriers, consumer preferences or differences in legal frameworks between Member States, the Commission sought to investigate the sector based on indications that companies active on the e-commerce market may be engaged in anticompetitive agreements.
On 18 July 2016, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) broke new ground in France by holding that retail distribution of electronic products through both physical stores and online channels is a single relevant market.
The background and the FCA’s Decision
The FCA’s decision concerns Fnac’s acquisition of Darty. The proposed transaction drew a great deal of public attention because it involves France’s two largest click and mortar retailers. It drew even more attention in March 2016, when the FCA announced a phase II examination of the potentially negative effects of the merger. However, in its 18 July 2016 decision, the FCA reversed course and granted conditional approval for the transaction after determining the relevant market includes both online and physical distribution channels.