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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 232

Valur Thrainsson
6 min read

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Here below, you find the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications over the last week.

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U.S. judge dismisses advertisers' antitrust claims against Google | Reuters

A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed antitrust claims against Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google brought by a group of advertisers, but offered them a chance to try again after addressing what she called "serious concerns."

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Apple accused of breaking UK competition law by overcharging for apps | Apple | The Guardian

Almost 20 million users could be eligible for compensation, with £1.5bn damages sought

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ACCC wants to appear in Epic-Apple lawsuit to provide its public policy views | ZDNet

Australia's competition regulator has thrown its hat in the Epic-Apple legal fight ring as it wants to share its views on competition public policy with the court.

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Vestager’s campaign against controversial tax deals reaches final stage | POLITICO
High court showdown over Fiat will give clues for similar state aid cases brought by the EU competition czar, including the €13B Apple decision.
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Today Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Commissioner Rohit Chopra issued the following statement in response to the announcement by 7-Eleven’s parent company that it had pressed forward in its merger agreement with Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the agency’s ongoing investigation: “Today, Seven & i Holdings, the Tokyo-based owner of 7-Eleven, announced that it closed a $21 billion transaction with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, purchasing roughly 3,900 Speedway retail gasoline and convenience store businesses from Marathon." Read more.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld the CMA decision that GlaxoSmithKline and some generic suppliers of the anti-depressant paroxetine broke competition law. Read more.
The Antitrust Authority has ordered Google to include in Android Auto the Enel X app allowing the use of services related to the recharging of electric vehicles. Read more.
On 6 May 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a staff working document (“SWD”) on its evaluation of the horizontal block exemption regulations on research & development and specialisation agreements (“H-BERs”) and the horizontal guidelines. The SWD is accompanied by an evaluation study, commissioned to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence to support the Commission’s evaluation. Read more.
As readers will know, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Apple last week (for the press release, see here). The investigation focuses on the firm’s practices in relation to the … Read more.
One of the great features of competition law as a discipline is that reasonable people can have different views on the application of the law to the same set of facts. There is therefore scope for... Read more.
As an academic, I sometimes feel that ideas of principle are not discussed often enough. One misses, every now and then, deep exchanges on substantive issues. Sometimes there is so much noise around… Read more.
One of the more remarkable appointments Joe Biden has made is that of Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, which is one of two government departments tasked with enforcing antitrust laws. Khan made her bones exposing how lax antitrust law enabled Amazon’s dominance, so when he nominated her, the antitrust establishment was utterly horrified. “Putting more extremists on the commission is not the way to do better,” said University of Pennsylvania law professor Herb Hovenkamp, who is probably the most important antitrust scholar of the last generation and whose work has been essential in eroding the foundations of anti-monopoly law. Read more.
By Gina Lodolo Enforcement agencies, lawyers and experts, globally, have grappled with the regulation of the big tech in terms of ‘conventional’ anti-trust laws and whether legislative amendments... Read more.
T-Mobile promised its $26 billion merger with Sprint would add new jobs to the economy literally every single day, but a report from The Wall Street Journalconfirms the newly combined company actually employs fewer people now than it did before the merger. Read more.
Serge Moresi and Steven C. Salop
This article explains the inherent loss of an indirect competitor and reduction in competition when a vertical merger raises input foreclosure concerns. We then calculate a measure of the effective increase in the HHI measure of concentration for the downstream market, and we refer to this “proxy” measure as the “dHHI.” Read more.
Louis Kaplow
The supposed ubiquity of potential efficiencies is understood to justify permitting most horizontal mergers despite their tendency to raise prices. Yet efficiencies are said to be rarely decisive in actual merger decision-making. Moreover, the economic analysis of merger efficiencies lags far behind that of anticompetitive effects. This article addresses this analytical gap, drawing attention to the merger specificity of both efficiencies and anticompetitive effects, the teachings of neglected literature such as that on the theory of the firm, and the relevance of vertical efficiencies to horizontal mergers. Read more.
Pauline Affeldt, Reinhold Kesler
Big Tech, commonly associated with the firms Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft (GAFAM), makes up the most valuable companies worldwide in 2020. In the ten years leading up to 2020, these five companies alone acquired more than 400 firms, predominantly in the technological sector. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of Email:
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