In its decision no. 17-D-19 dated 6 October 2017, the French Competition Authority dismissed the case against Groupe Drouot, thus ending a procedure launched five years ago by the Figaro company against various entities of Groupe Drouot.
The Figaro company claimed that Groupe Drouot was abusing a dominant position by imposing the exclusive use of its live auctioning platform (Drouot Live) for public auctions conducted within the Hôtel Drouot.
The Authority deemed that the dominant position of Group Drouot had not been demonstrated. The Authority’s conclusion is primarily based on the "very specific circumstances" in play, in particular as regards the specificity and history of Groupe Drouot whose vast majority of clients are shareholders (over 70 voluntary sales operators).
The Authority concluded that “the counter power held by the clients of the company did not enable the latter to act on the market independently from its clients, owing to the existence of possible alternative solutions (apart from Drouot) for the rental of auction rooms and, furthermore, to the extensive powers given to clients by the specific conditions of their presence within the shareholding and executive bodies”.
Groupe Drouot was advised by Gide with partner Antoine Choffel and associate Charles Terdjman. The Figaro company was advised by Veil Jourde.