Seized by FIN in February 2017, the French Competition Authority has dismissed FIN’s claim against Reed of "abuse of economic dependency" and its request for urgent interim measures.
Following termination of the prior contract between FIN and Reed, the Competition Authority has ruled that the post-contractual clause guaranteeing Reed the full management of the Cannes Yachting Festival for a period of 20 years complies with competition law.
Reed’s rights to continue organising the Cannes Yachting Festival until 2041 have therefore been confirmed.
Following several months of investigation and the production of almost 6,700 pages and supporting documents by the two parties, the Competition Authority has not granted any interim measures sought by FIN intended to prevent Reed from preparing the 2018 edition and it did not uphold any of the charges made against Reed (*).
In regard to the two markets targeted by FIN in its claim, namely boat shows and yacht construction, the Competition Authority ruled that “the full and complete” organisation of the Cannes Yachting Festival by Reed did not in any way interfere with normal competition, and therefore does not conflict with the interests of the nautical sector or those of consumers.
According to Michel Filzi, CEO of Reed Expositions France,
"While we have never had any doubts as to the outcome, we are extremely pleased with this important and landmark court ruling. We are all the more happy that it comes after lengthy and detailed proceedings, during which we provided a great deal of material evidence to support our rights and prove our compliance with the rules of competition, allowing FIN’s claims to be dismissed”.
Michel Filzi continues,
“FIN's decision to bring litigation before the Competition Authority has ended in total defeat for them. We are also very confident on the outcome of the proceedings before the Court in Paris, which FIN has also seized, but which will only rule in 2018. I once again regret, however, that FIN’s management continues to resort to legal proceedings and accusations that, as we have just seen, are vicious and entirely unfounded, rather than seek a lasting solution with its former partner and with whom FIN has worked for nearly 30 years for the good of the development of the nautical sector.”
With regard to the Cannes Yachting Festival, Mr. Filzi explains,
“Reed is proud and happy to be able to continue working undisturbed on developing the Cannes Yachting Festival for the benefit of French and international nautical industry professionals, and also its partners and the Cannes economy. A new project for the show will be launched in 2018 to satisfy our customers awaiting additional space. With the support of the City of Cannes and the Nice-Côte d'Azur Chamber of Commerce, we look forward to being able to fully dedicate ourselves to this project."
The forthcoming Cannes Yachting Festival takes place from 12–17 September, bringing together French and international shipyards, with over 600 boats on display and over 100 world premieres.
(*) The full ruling will soon be made available on the French Competition Authority website.