Exploring the future of merger control

Mette Alfter, Director at Frontier Economics and head of the Frontier’s Brussels office, spoke at the 2nd Annual GCR Merger control conference held on 29th October 2019 in Brussels.

The conference explored the latest developments in merger control and was attended by leading regulators, lawyers, academics, economists, in-house counsels and practitioners.

Mette joined the roundtable “Back to the future? Trending (non-digital) theories in merger control”. Other panel members included Andrea Coscelli (CMA), Suyong Kim (Hogan Lovells), Karen Kazmerzack (Sidley Austin) and the panel was moderated by Christoph Stadler (Hengeler Mueller).

The panellists discussed the latest trends and theories of harm in non-digital mergers, focussing on the following topics:

  • The innovation theories of harm. Following the Dow-Dupont case, the roundtable debated on how antitrust authorities should assess the Parties’ overlap when competition takes place in the ‘research pipeline’, where it is unclear whether the products will ever be commercially viable.
  • Common ownership and partial acquisitions. The panellists focussed on the economic and legal aspects that antitrust authorities should take into account when assessing common ownership and partial acquisitions and how this differs across different jurisdictions and legal regimes.
  • Non-price effects in merger analysis. The discussion touched upon the analytical tools currently used to assess non-price effects which could arise after a merger (e.g. decrease in quality, range and service) in Europe and the USA. In particular the debate focussed on markets when there is a zero-price business model, such as digital platforms (on the users-side) like, TV, radio and hospitals.
  • The role of internal documents. The panel members discussed the increasing use of the Parties’ internal documents in merger assessment, especially in areas where it is more difficult to measure the impact of the transaction using data and empirical evidence (e.g. innovation theories of harm and non-price effects).

Frontier Economics regularly advises firms on competition issues across a wide range of sectors in Europe.

For more information, please contact media@frontier-economics.com or call +44 (0) 20 7031 7000.