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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 7/2022

Valur Thrainsson
7 min read

Welcome to CompetitionFeed, a weekly newsletter with the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications. Never miss an update. If you’d like to receive issues over email, you can sign-up here.

Pentagon: Contractor mergers hurt national security, economy | AP News
The Defense Department on Tuesday released a report that says mergers and consolidation among its contractors pose risks to the U.S. economy and national security. Senior Biden administration officials previewed the report ahead of its release. 
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The U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division and the FBI announced an initiative on Thursday to detect and prosecute companies that take advantage of supply chain disruptions to collude with rivals in order to raise prices. Read more.
A host of progressive foreign policy provisions on issues like scrutinizing advanced weapon sales to the United Arab Emirates and welcoming more asylum-seekers fleeing Beijing’s oppression were tucked into House Democrats' bill aimed at bolstering competition with China. Read more.
Big Tech now has a big friend in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the biggest lobbying group in the country — taking up the latest antitrust threats coming out of the White House and Congress. Representing over 3 million businesses and organizations, the U.S. Chamber release a report, U.S. Antitrust Legislative Proposals: A Global Perspective, offering a far-reaching comparative critique of how the U.S., China, and the European Union grappled with policy approaches. Read more.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday that it would file a lawsuit aimed at stopping the merger of Rhode Island's two largest health care providers, Lifespan Corp and Care New England Health System. Read more.
Google is expanding its Privacy Sandbox to Android devices and the UK's antitrust watchdog is set to play a crucial role in ensuring that the tech giant does not abuse its market dominance in the process. Read more.
Athens, February 16, 2022 - Today, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) carried out unannounced inspections (dawn raids) at the premises of nine (9) undertakings active in the supply and retail sale of pasta products. The unannounced inspections are part of the HCC’s investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices under Article 1 of Law no. 3959/2011 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union. Read more.
Global efforts to prevent anti-competitive conduct from occurring in the supply and distribution of goods will be boosted by a new working group announced today between the ACCC, US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Canadian Competition Bureau, NZ Commerce Commission, and UK Competition and Markets Authority. The five competition authorities will focus on illegal conduct, including collusion, in global supply chains, in light of the pandemic-induced disruptions that have led to much higher freight rates and more expensive goods for consumers. Read more.
In response to the announcement that Lockheed Martin Corporation has terminated its proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. “I am pleased that, for the second time in the span of a week, merging parties have abandoned an anticompetitive vertical transaction in the face of an FTC challenge. Lockheed Martin announced two days ago that it would terminate its attempt to acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne. ... Read more. 
Though coined by academic economists, the term “consumer welfare standard” has been captured and changed by the economic school of thought known as the Chicago School and the courts to mean a defendant-friendly antitrust standard that dismisses the benefit of quality and innovation. This standard, justifiably criticized by New Brandeisians and the media, bears little... Read more.
Jonathan M. Barnett
President Joe Biden’s July 2021 executive order set forth a commitment to reinvigorate U.S. innovation and competitiveness. The administration’s efforts to pass the America COMPETES Act would appear to further demonstrate a serious intent to pursue these objectives. Yet several actions taken by federal agencies threaten to undermine the intellectual-property rights and transactional structures that... Read more. 
Ignacio García-Perrote Martínez
Advocate General Rantos delivered his Opinion in a request of a preliminary ruling by a Spanish court (case C-267/20), the Audiencia Provincial of León, the appellate court in a trucks’ cartel damages claim. In particular, Advocate General Rantos Opinion deals with the temporal scope of application of the Damages Directive; the “substantive” or “procedural” nature... Read more. 
Pablo Ibáñez Colomo
In November 2021, the General Court of the EU delivered its much-awaited judgment in the Google Shopping case. The case is a major landmark that will have a significant impact in the years to come. To begin with, it signals the focus of enforcement on digital markets and more precisely the so-called Big Tech. Read more.
Nancy L. Rose and Carl Shapiro
We offer recommendations for how the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission can update the Horizontal Merger Guidelines ("HMGs") to strengthen merger enforcement. We focus our recommendations on three main areas. First, we suggest several ways that the HMGs can strengthen the structural presumption in a manner consistent with sound economics and with how the courts have been analyzing mergers in recent decades. Most important, the HMGs can do more to explain how and why the Hypothetical Monopolist Test (“HMT”), embraced by the courts for decades as a method to define relevant markets, often leads to narrow markets.  Read more.
Maarten Pieter Schinkel
Equity concerns in antitrust could justify market power in return for a fairer allocation by weighing the consumer welfare of certain disadvantaged groups more heavily. A simple example of an equity-justified agreement illustrates how seeking distributive justice through relaxed antitrust enforcement is ineffective and inefficient. Permitting competitors to jointly set prices gives them the power to price discriminate, which they could use to redistribute wealth by overcharging the rich and giving lower than competitive prices to the poor. Read more.
The regulatory environment in a country is an important factor that affects firm performance. This study investigates the impact of a particular regulation—license requirements for certain firm activities—on the innovation performance of Indian firms in the 1990s. Using a unique firm-level panel data set, it shows that the removal of license requirements led to an eight percentage points higher innovation rate within two years following the reform. We measure innovation as the introduction of new product varieties that had not been produced by the firm before. It takes a longer time for firms to innovate in industries in which they were not producing before. The findings of this study are also robust to the inclusion of controls for other policy reforms that occurred during the period of licensing reform. They also persist in tests with different subgroups of firms and with the use of alternative estimation methods. Read more.
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