Federal Cartel Office: Edeka’s “wedding rebates” after Plus takeover were abusive
On 3 July 2014 the German Federal Cartel Office decided that the “wedding rebates”, which Edeka demanded from about 500 suppliers after its takeover of the Plus markets in 2009, were abusive. The decision of principle concerns the so-called “Anzapfverbot” which has been treated rather restrictively in case-law so far and is of major importance for the food retail sector.
According to the Federal Cartel Office, Edeka has violated the “Anzapfverbot” by a combination of demands made with retroactive effect, the specific selection of individual preferential conditions granted to Plus markets by suppliers in the past, and demands of substantial bonuses without substantiation (so-called “synergy bonuses“ or “bonuses for product range expansion”).
The decision confirms that retail companies that are dominant buyers on the market or on which the suppliers are at least dependent for the sale of their goods may not demand benefits from their suppliers without any objective justification, and is of fundamental importance for the German food retail sector. This branch will continue to be a focus of the Federal Cartel Office as the authority is currently examining the buyer power in the food sector more closely in a sector inquiry.