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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 16/2022

Valur Thrainsson
5 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

The UK has announced a bundle of consumer protection and competition reforms which could see platforms that fail to tackle fake reviews fined up to 10% of their global annual turnover. Also incoming: Stronger powers for the national competition regulator to prevent tech giants from being able to bu… Read more.
The CEO of crypto app Coinbase says that Apple's treatment of crypto apps is a possible antitrust issue. "Apple so far has not really played nice with crypto, they've actually banned a bunch of features that we would like to have in the app, but they just won't allow it... so there's potential antitrust issues there." Read more.
The National Grocers Association today submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the agency to scrutinize harm to competition that results from enhancement of buyer-side market power. Read more.
The CMA has found that the merger of Noble and Maersk Drilling could increase operating costs for oil and gas producers in the UK North Sea. Read more.
The Federal Trade Commission took action today to preserve competition by requiring Prince International Corp. and Ferro Corp. to divest three facilities used to make porcelain enamel frit, glass enamel, and forehearth colorants, as a condition of Prince’s parent company – American Securities Partners VII, L.P. – acquiring competitor Ferro Corp. for $2.1 billion. The consent agreement preserves competition in the North American market for porcelain enamel frit, and in the world markets for forehearth colorants and glass enamel. It also requires both the newly merged company and the divestiture buyer to obtain FTC approval for 10 years for certain future transactions involving these product markets. Read more.
Some time next month the Commission is due to adopt a revised version of the regulation that governs how the competition rules are applied to online sales in Europe. The Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) is set to run until 2034 and will have a major impact on the relationship between brand owners, retailers and consumers. It also risks causing harm to the European economy and creating considerable legal uncertainty because of the way in which the Commission has approached the renewal process. Read more.

Last week, a version of the Digital Markets Act dated 13 April 2022 was leaked. This version is based on the political agreement reached by the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European... Read more.
The European Commission’s airfreight cartel investigation has had a protracted and complex procedural history since Lufthansa brought the cartel to light, and made its leniency application back in 2005... Read more.
Antitrust enforcement in labor markets has become a focus of the U.S. antitrust regulators in recent years, with particular scrutiny on agreements between employers not to recruit or solicit each other’s employees—so-called “no poach” agreements.  In a recent decision, a court in China held no‑poach and employee compensation-fixing agreements to be illegal, the first such court decision in the country.  The court’s decision, however, reveals the difficulties in analyzing no-poach agreements within China’s existing antitrust regime and analytical framework.  This article provides an overview of the Chinese court’s reasoning in its recent decision and a comparative assessment to the approach in the United States. Read more.
Carl Shapiro and Michael Katz (UC Berkeley Haas School of Business), Richard J. Gilbert (UC Berkeley Department of Economics), Daniel Rubinfeld (NYU Law School and UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus), and Joseph Farrell (UC Berkeley Department of Economics).
On April 20, 2022, the Center for Transnational Law and Business (CTLB) hosted a panel of esteemed economists from UC Berkeley to discuss how to reform antitrust and competition policies in the United States. Read more.
Ioannis Lianos, Bruno Carballa-Smichowski
The digital economy has brought new business models that rely on zero-price markets and multi-sided platforms nested in business ecosystems. The traditional concept of market power used by competition authorities cannot engage with this new reality in which (economic) power manifests beyond price and output within a relevant market. Read more.
In a two-tier industry where an upstream monopolist supplies an essential input to horizontally differentiated downstream firms, two-part tariffs (TPTs) and share-based agreements (SBAs) are two contractual agreements for addressing potential double-marginalization problems. In this paper, we show that SBAs are not equivalent to TPTs. This holds under both secret and interim observable contract terms, as well as under quantity and price downstream competition. SBAs lead to higher wholesale and retail prices, and lower aggregate output, consumer surplus, and social welfare. However, under exclusive dealing between multiple upstream suppliers and downstream firms, these two types of vertical contracts are equivalent. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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