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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 228

Valur Thrainsson
6 min read

Good morning CompetitionFeed readers!

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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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Microsoft buys Nuance Communications in a $16 billion deal | CNBC
The deal will give Microsoft a foothold in health-care technology.
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Virgin Media and O2 'blockbuster' merger provisionally approved | BBC
The deal will make the telecoms firm a "powerful" rival to BT, according to analysts.
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The European Commission has published today a Staff Working Document that summarises the findings of the evaluation of procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU merger control. Following the results of the evaluation, the Commission decided to adopt a communication providing guidance on the application of the referral mechanism between Member States and the Commission set out in Article 22 of the Merger Regulation, and launch an impact assessment on exploring policy options for further targeting and simplification of merger procedures. Read more.
The Nordic Competition Authorities have 14.4.2021 published a joint memorandum on online pharmacy markets in the Nordics. The memorandum finds that the size and regulation of online pharmacy markets varies among the Nordic countries. Based on the experience in more liberalised markets, online pharmacies offer great potential in organizing pharmacy services more efficiently and enhance accessibility of pharmacy services. Read more.
The Federal Court has found that Google LLC and Google Australia Pty Ltd (together, Google) misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018, in a world-first enforcement action brought by the ACCC. “This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the Court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. Read more.
Even though public enforcement of competition law has traditionally played a significant role in deterring companies from committing antitrust infringements, private enforcement has proved to be an effective ally in this quest. Ever since the adoption of Directive 2014/104/EU (Damages Directive) and, in particular, the European Commission’s (EC) Decision in the Trucks cartel, litigation over... Read more.
A few days ago, Global Competition Review announced that Carles Esteva Mosso, Deputy-Director General at DG Competition, would leave the Commission to join Latham & Watkins in Brussels. Read more.
At the end of 2020 I wrote a post here titled “The Key to Understand the Digital Markets Act: It’s the Legal Basis”, noting how, in my view, this is the single most important lega… Read more.
The South African Competition Act and the re-emergence of non-binding advisory opinions: Draft regulations published for comment By Jemma Muller and Estelle Naude After the suspension of the Compet… Read more.
Natalia Fabra
Addressing climate change requires full decarbonization of our economies. Whether this objective is achieved at least cost for society hinges on good policy design. In turn, this calls for a thorough understanding of firms’ and consumers’ incentives in the presence of asymmetric information, the determinants of strategic interaction, and the impact of market design and market structure on the intensity of competition. Read more.
Michele Bisceglia, Jorge Padilla, Salvatore Piccolo
We study the competitive and welfare effects of wholesale price-parity agreements. These contracts prevent a monopolist, who sells its product to final consumers both directly and indirectly through alternative distribution channels, to charge different input (wholesale) prices to competing intermediaries (e.g., platforms). Read more.
Michele Bisceglia, Jorge Padilla, Salvatore Piccolo and Pekka Sääskilahti
We describe the healthcare industry as a mixed oligopoly, where a public and two private providers compete, and examine the effects of a merger between two private healthcare providers on prices,
quality, and consumer surplus. When the price and quality of the public provider are regulated, the cost synergies required for the merger to increase consumer welfare are less significant than in a setting with only profit-maximizing providers. Read more.
Douglas H. Ginsburg
Remarks on the Consumer Welfare Standard On the occasion of receiving the John Sherman Award from the Antitrust Division Department of Justice. Read more.
Richard Gilbert and Michael L. Katz
We examine the effects of merger and merger policy on a potential entrant’s pre-merger investment incentives. We establish conditions under which the possibility of merger can induce an entrant to inefficiently imitate an incumbent’s product instead of innovating with a more differentiated product. Turning to policy, current practice is to evaluate a proposed merger by focusing on post-merger effects (e.g., whether the merged firm will charge higher prices or invest less in innovation than would the two firms if they remained independent of one another). Read more.
Gregory J. Werden
Exploitative abuse of a dominant position is a long-recognized category of infringements of what is now Article 102 TFEU. Article 102’s prohibition originated in the EEC Treaty, which broke down barriers and prohibited restraints on competition so the free market could reign. But every exploitative abuse case is a breach of faith in the market. And punishing exploitative abuse weakens the rule of law: No rule or standard controls, so potential infringers have no way to know what is expected of them. Exploitative abuse should be abandoned, and this essay argues that doing so would not disrespect the text of Article 102, ignore the intentions of the EEC Treaty’s drafters, or undermine any stated goal of the Treaty. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of Email:
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