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Portrait of Szabolcs Szendrő

Szabolcs Szendrő

Head of Competition

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP Magyarországi Fióktelepe
YBL Palace
Károlyi utca 12
1053 Budapest
Languages Hungarian, English

Szabolcs Szendrő is a partner and Head of Competition at CMS Budapest. He has more than 10 years’ experience in Competition Law and has an economic background. 

Before joining CMS, he worked for the Hungarian Competition Authority as the chief legal counsel of the Merger Division, where among others he led in-depth investigations and contributed to legislative and regulatory measures actively. During his legal career at the Authority, he also amassed extensive experience in the fields of abuse of dominant position procedures and cartel cases, with special regards to Network Industries (e.g. Energy, Telecommunications, IT and Media). 

As a head of CMS Competition Team, Szabolcs leads major antirust cases including in-depth market analysis and detailed data screenings. Szabolcs also participates in domestic and cross-border mergers, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, EU level competition cases, State aid investigations and consumer protection procedures. He provides legal advice and preliminary legal/economic analysis on wide range of competition law related issues. In addition to his core practice, Szabolcs is also involved in academics as he provides training and lectures for both local and international audiences. (e.g. OECD Capacity Building Projects in CEE) and Hungarian audience as an assistant lecturer at ELTE University of Law. 


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"Super responsive and very diligent in working on a matter.”

Chambers, 2021

"He makes a great appearance in front of court with detailed knowledge of law combined with a sheer willingness to win the case."

Legal 500, 2020

"excellent in competition matters, always concentrating on finding the best solution for the client."

Legal 500, 2020


Chambers, 2021 and Legal 500

Relevant experience

  • Merger and Acquisition control – managing several in-depth investigations as the leader of the case handler team of the Hungarian Competition Authority, concerning companies such as: Telekom Group, RTL Group, Axel-Springer, MET, Gazprom, and Libri-Shopline. As a legal advisor he provided preliminary competition analysis for a planned joint venture of a leading Telecommunication Company, advised certain acquisitions over major financial market players and coordinated the multi-jurisdictional merger clearance notifications (EU and NON-EU states as well) of one of the significant Banks of the Hungarian market.
  • Antitrust investigations – as the leader of the case handler team Szabolcs managed, among others, the cartel investigation against local daily newspaper publishers; investigation on the vertical agreements of the media broadcaster associations; abuse of dominance investigation against MOL Group (Hungarian Oil Company). As an Associate, Szabolcs lead the successful defence of a Vaccine Manufacturer Company against excessive pricing investigation carried out by the Competition Authority; he managed to prevent the initiation of an abuse of dominance case concerning Health Care companies; he participated in alleged abusive loyalty rebate/bundling investigations and he provided advice for a Commercial Bank in a large scale cartel investigation and an alleged unlawful information sharing.
  • State aid procedures – participated in several preliminary State aid analyses and in presenting successful submissions to the European Commission (DG Comp) concerning certain affected sectors of Hungary.
  • Consumer protection – provided competition law and consumer protection assessments on potentially misleading advertisements for clients from the medical, financial, retail and general service sectors. He represents the clients subsequent to the Hungarian Competition Authority’s consumer protection investigations as well, with persuasive results on the Court level.
  • Litigation and Court representation – the provided services include representation at the investigation stages of the Authorities, and also the entire representation during court actions.
  • Preliminary analysis and market research – on potential Competition risks (e.g. vertical agreements, horizontal efficiencies, commercial communications); according to transaction plans, business initiatives or other potentially competition related issues, Szabolcs provides extensive assessment based on his experience concerning the Competition Authority’s tools and aspects.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Member, ACE (Association of Competition Economics)
  • Member, the Hungarian Association of Competition Law (Magyar Versenyjogi Egyesület)
  • Member, the Budapest Bar Association
  • the CMS antitrust lawyers’ steering committee
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Lectures list

  • Assistant lecturer on Competition Policy and Competition Law – Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law.
  • Visiting lecturer at the University of Szeged, Faculty of Law.
  • Visiting lecturer on Market Analysis / Competition Economics - Central European University, Department of Public Policy.
  • Lecturer at Capacity Building Program of EBRD (Ukraine).
  • Lecturer at Twinning Programs of OECD (China, Albania, Ukraine).
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  • 2012 - Post-graduate degree in Economics, University of Corvinus, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2007 - American Legal Experts, Certificate degree, University of Toledo, Ohio, USA
  • 2007 - Doctor of Law, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
  • 2005 - European Law Specialisation Program, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
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CEE Mer­ger Clear­ance Mat­rix 2021
Cross bor­der M&A trans­ac­tions that re­quire mer­ger con­trol ap­provals in sev­er­al jur­is­dic­tions have be­come com­mon­place. To re­duce time delays and keep costs down, it is es­sen­tial to identi­fy at the early...
EU state aid law and rules in Hun­gary dur­ing Cov­id-19
In­tro­duc­tion The Hun­gari­an gov­ern­ment has is­sued a series of meas­ures sup­port­ing in­di­vidu­als and en­ter­prises since the de­clar­a­tion of the state of emer­gency. The first phase of the Gov­ern­ment’s Eco­nom­ic...
Com­pet­i­tion law en­force­ment in the phar­ma­ceut­ic­als sec­tor in Hun­gary
1. Is there any spe­cif­ic reg­u­lat­ory frame­work that deals with com­pet­i­tion reg­u­la­tion in the phar­ma­ceut­ic­al sec­tor in your coun­try? There is no spe­cif­ic com­pet­i­tion law re­lated reg­u­lat­ory frame­work con­cern­ing...
CMS ap­points Sz­a­bolcs Szendrő as new Com­pet­i­tion part­ner
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is de­lighted to an­nounce that seni­or coun­sel Sz­a­bolcs Szendrő has been ap­poin­ted as a part­ner and Head of Com­pet­i­tion in Hun­gary.Sz­a­bolcs has been work­ing at CMS for over...
EU is­sues draft of Di­git­al Mar­kets Act aimed at cre­at­ing a new and fair...
The European Com­mis­sion has pub­lished a draft pro­pos­al for a new com­pet­i­tion law frame­work for large on­line plat­forms, called the Di­git­al Mar­kets Act (DMA). The Com­mis­sion pro­posed the DMA due to the...
Di­git­al Mar­kets Act: a new and fair busi­ness frame­work for large plat­forms
The European Com­mis­sion has pub­lished the draft pro­pos­al for a new com­pet­i­tion law frame­work for large on­line plat­forms, called the Di­git­al Mar­kets Act (the “DMA”). The reas­on the Com­mis­sion pro­posed the DMA is that a small num­ber of large on­line plat­forms cap­ture the biggest share of over­all value gen­er­ated in Europe’s di­git­al eco­nomy, and these plat­forms have emerged by be­ne­fit­ting from sec­tor char­ac­ter­ist­ics such as strong net­work ef­fects, of­ten em­bed­ded in their own plat­form eco­sys­tems. These plat­forms rep­res­ent the key struc­tur­ing ele­ments in today’s di­git­al eco­nomy, in­ter­me­di­at­ing the ma­jor­ity of trans­ac­tions between end users and busi­ness users. A few large plat­forms in­creas­ingly act as gate­ways or gate­keep­ers between busi­ness users and end users, and en­joy a long-term, en­trenched po­s­i­tion, of­ten as a res­ult of the cre­ation of con­glom­er­ate eco­sys­tems around their core plat­form ser­vices, which re­in­forces ex­ist­ing entry bar­ri­ers.The DMA deals with those large on­line plat­forms act­ing as gate­keep­ers in di­git­al mar­kets. The DMA aims to en­sure that:these plat­forms be­have fairly on­line;in­nov­at­ors and tech­no­logy start-ups will have new op­por­tun­it­ies to com­pete and in­nov­ate in the on­line plat­form en­vir­on­ment without hav­ing to com­ply with un­fair terms and con­di­tions that lim­it their de­vel­op­ment;con­sumers will have more and bet­ter ser­vices to choose from, more op­por­tun­it­ies to switch their pro­vider if they so wish, dir­ect ac­cess to ser­vices, and fairer prices. Who are the gate­keep­ers? Gate­keep­ers are core plat­form ser­vices which meet the qual­it­at­ive and quant­it­at­ive cri­ter­ia set out in the DMA. Core plat­form ser­vices in­clude on­line in­ter­me­di­ation ser­vices, search en­gines, so­cial net­work­ing ser­vices, video-shar­ing plat­form ser­vices, num­ber-in­de­pend­ent in­ter­per­son­al com­mu­nic­a­tion ser­vices, op­er­at­ing sys­tems, cloud com­put­ing ser­vices, ad­vert­ising ser­vices in­clud­ing any ad­vert­ising net­works, ad­vert­ising ex­changes and any oth­er ad­vert­ising in­ter­me­di­ation ser­vices, provided by a pro­vider of any of the core plat­form ser­vices lis­ted above.A core plat­form ser­vice qual­i­fies as a gate­keep­er, if:it has a sig­ni­fic­ant im­pact on the in­tern­al mar­ket, which is pre­sumed if it achieves an an­nu­al EEA turnover equal to or above EUR 6.5 bil­lion in the three pre­ced­ing fin­an­cial years, or where the av­er­age mar­ket cap­it­al­isa­tion or the equi­val­ent fair mar­ket value of the un­der­tak­ing to which it be­longs amoun­ted to at least EUR 65 bil­lion in the pre­ced­ing fin­an­cial year, and it provides a core plat­form ser­vice in at least three Mem­ber States;it op­er­ates a core plat­form ser­vice which serves as an im­port­ant gate­way for busi­ness users to reach end users, which is pre­sumed if it has more than 45 mil­lion monthly act­ive end users es­tab­lished or loc­ated in the Uni­on and more than 10,000 yearly act­ive busi­ness users es­tab­lished in the EU in the pre­ced­ing fin­an­cial year;it en­joys a long-term, en­trenched po­s­i­tion in its op­er­a­tions or it is fore­see­able that it will en­joy such po­s­i­tion in the near fu­ture, which is pre­sumed if the thresholds in point b) were met in each of the three pre­ced­ing fin­an­cial years.   What are the gate­keep­ers’ main ob­lig­a­tions? Do’s and Don’ts     What kind of tools and powers do the Com­mis­sion and oth­er bod­ies have? The DMA grants powers and dif­fer­ent pro­ced­ur­al rights to the European Com­mis­sion and es­tab­lishes the Di­git­al Mar­kets Ad­vis­ory Com­mit­tee for is­su­ing opin­ions in is­sues re­lated to the DMA.The DMA gives the Com­mis­sion the fol­low­ing powers:to des­ig­nate core plat­form ser­vices that meet the DMA cri­ter­ia as gate­keep­ers;to re­view ad-hoc the status of gate­keep­ers on re­quest or on its own;to re­view at two-year in­ter­vals the status of gate­keep­ers;to spe­cify meas­ures to be taken by gate­keep­er to com­ply with the DMA;to sus­pend cer­tain gate­keep­er ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA at a gate­keep­er’s re­quest, if the gate­keep­er demon­strates that com­pli­ance with that spe­cif­ic ob­lig­a­tion would en­danger its eco­nom­ic vi­ab­il­ity;to ex­empt a gate­keep­er from cer­tain ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA on the grounds of pub­lic mor­al­ity, pub­lic health or pub­lic se­cur­ity;to ini­ti­ate mar­ket in­vest­ig­a­tions:lower-ro­manto ex­am­ine wheth­er a pro­vider of core plat­form ser­vices should be des­ig­nated as a gate­keep­er;in­to sys­tem­at­ic non-com­pli­ance by a gate­keep­er;to ex­am­ine wheth­er cer­tain ser­vices in the di­git­al sec­tor should be ad­ded to the list of core plat­form ser­vices and identi­fy prac­tices that might lim­it the con­test­abil­ity of core plat­form ser­vices or might be un­fair.The DMA grants in­vest­ig­at­ive, en­force­ment and mon­it­or­ing powers to the Com­mis­sion dur­ing its pro­ceed­ings, based on which the Com­mis­sion is en­titled to:re­quest in­form­a­tion from any un­der­tak­ings and from the gov­ern­ments and au­thor­it­ies of EU mem­ber states;ac­cess data bases and al­gorithms;in­ter­view any private per­son or leg­al en­tity to col­lect in­form­a­tion re­lat­ing to the sub­ject-mat­ter of an in­vest­ig­a­tion;con­duct on-site in­spec­tions at the premises of any un­der­tak­ings, in­clud­ing to­geth­er with aud­it­ors and ex­perts;or­der in­ter­im meas­ures against a gate­keep­er on the basis of a prima facie find­ing of an in­fringe­ment of ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA;mon­it­or the ef­fect­ive im­ple­ment­a­tion and com­pli­ance with the ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA.   What will the sanc­tions for non-com­pli­ance be? If the Com­mis­sion ad­opts a non-com­pli­ance de­cision in which it finds that a gate­keep­er does not com­ply with one or more ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA, the Com­mis­sion may fine a gate­keep­er.The max­im­um amount of a fine is 10% of the total world­wide an­nu­al turnover of the gate­keep­er in the case of a ma­ter­i­al breach of the ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA, and a max­im­um 1% in the case of a less ser­i­ous breach of ob­lig­a­tions un­der the DMA.The Com­mis­sion is also en­titled to or­der peri­od­ic pen­alty pay­ments of up to 5% of the av­er­age daily turnover in cer­tain cases defined in the DMA.In the case of sys­tem­at­ic breaches of the DMA ob­lig­a­tions by gate­keep­ers, ad­di­tion­al rem­ed­ies may be im­posed after a mar­ket in­vest­ig­a­tion. Such rem­ed­ies will need to be pro­por­tion­ate to the of­fence com­mit­ted. If ne­ces­sary and as a last re­sort, non-fin­an­cial rem­ed­ies can be im­posed. These can in­clude be­ha­vi­our­al and struc­tur­al rem­ed­ies, e.g. the di­vestit­ure of (parts of) a busi­ness.   What are the next steps? The European Par­lia­ment and Mem­ber States will dis­cuss the Com­mis­sion’s pro­pos­al ac­cord­ing to the or­din­ary le­gis­lat­ive pro­ced­ure, which will take at least 18 months. Once ad­op­ted, the Act will dir­ectly ap­ply across the EU and the core plat­form ser­vice pro­viders will have six months to pre­pare for the new leg­al re­gime.We will con­tinu­ously mon­it­or the status of the le­gis­lat­ive pro­cess and keep you up­dated on any changes to the draft text of the DMA.
Hun­gari­an com­pet­i­tion au­thor­ity launches new in­quiry in­to on­line re­tail
On 16 Decem­ber 2020, the Hun­gari­an Com­pet­i­tion Au­thor­ity (HCA) an­nounced the launch of a mar­ket ana­lys­is to ex­plore how the “data as­sets” of on­line re­tail­ers are cre­ated and the ef­fects of data col­lec­tion...
Anti-trust pres­sure grows on banks in­volved in syn­dic­ated lend­ing in CEE
Com­pet­i­tion au­thor­it­ies in CEE are tak­ing a keen­er in­terest in banks that provide syn­dic­ated lend­ing fol­low­ing a European Com­mis­sion re­port last year in­to loan syn­dic­a­tion and its im­pact on com­pet­i­tion...
An­ti­trust law and le­gis­la­tion in Hun­gary dur­ing Cov­id-19
1. In­tro­duc­tion Due to the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic, the Hun­gari­an gov­ern­ment de­clared a state of danger (in Hun­gari­an: “veszély­he­lyz­et”) ef­fect­ive 12 March 2020. Giv­en this spe­cial leg­al or­der, the Gov­ern­ment...
COV­ID-19 out­break and com­pet­i­tion law in Hun­gary: the com­pet­i­tion au­thor­ity...
Due to the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic, the Hun­gari­an gov­ern­ment de­clared a state of danger (in Hun­gari­an: “veszély­he­lyz­et”) ef­fect­ive 12 March 2020. Giv­en this spe­cial leg­al or­der, the Gov­ern­ment ad­op­ted...
The Hun­gari­an Gov­ern­ment's re­sponse to the coronavir­us crisis: state aid...
Apart from the key health is­sues res­ult­ing from the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic, ad­dress­ing the ser­i­ous dis­turb­ance across the EU eco­nomy is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ur­gent, rais­ing ma­ter­i­al Com­pet­i­tion Law and State...
Hun­gari­an Com­pet­i­tion Au­thor­ity finds no ma­jor prob­lems with pay­ment cards
Bring­ing a sigh of re­lief from pay­ment-card is­suers, the Hun­gari­an Com­pet­i­tion Au­thor­ity (HCA) has just re­leased a fi­nal re­port on pay­ment card ac­cept­ance ser­vices (Fi­nal Re­port), and iden­ti­fied no ser­i­ous...