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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 236

Valur Thrainsson
5 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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House Dems unveil bills to rein in Silicon Valley giants — opening rift among Republicans | POLITICO
The bills target the empires of companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and potentially Microsoft. 
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Study by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority shows that the current national turnover thresholds allow... Read more.
The CMA is inviting observations and evidence on commitments offered by Google in relation to the CMA’s investigation into Google’s proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. Read more.
General considerations
1. Highlights that a competition policy aiming to ensure a level playing field in all sectors, drive innovation and give consumers more and higher quality choices, is crucial for guaranteeing the proper functioning of the single market;
2. Expresses its concern regarding the increase in industry concentration in Europe; observes in this regard that between 2001 and 2012 the average industry across 10 European economies saw a 2-3 percentage point increase in the share of sales of the largest 10 % of companies... Read more.
A North Carolina engineering firm was sentenced today after pleading guilty to long lasting conspiracies to rig bids and defraud the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Read more.
Despite the best efforts of the European legislator, in some European Member States private enforcement of competition law, that is, private litigation for compensation of cartel overcharges is meagre at best. One of the numerous reasons why private enforcement of competition law mostly fails is the lack of meaningful provisions for determining the damage suffered,... Read more.
Yesterday, the French competition authority (“Autorité de la concurrence”) handed down a landmark decision finding that Google has breached Article 102 TFEU and the equivalent provision of French c… Read more.
Democratic leadership of the House Judiciary Committee have leaked the approach they plan to take to revise U.S. antitrust law and enforcement, with a particular focus on digital platforms.  Broadly speaking, the bills would: raise fees for larger mergers and increase appropriations to the FTC and DOJ; require data portability and interoperability; declare that large... Read more.
Erik Hovenkamp and Jorge Lemus
Patent settlements between rivals restrain competition in many different ways. Antitrust requires that their anticompetitive effects are reasonably commensurate with the firms’ expectations about (counterfactual) patent litigation. Because these expectations are private and non-verifiable, this standard is hard to administer; to date, it has been successfully applied only within a very narrow class of agreements. We show that it can be applied universally by policing the economic structure of the firms’ contract. This approach determines whether settlement outcomes will be antitrust-compliant for any private beliefs the firms might have, thus avoiding the need to speculate about such beliefs. Read more.
Katalin J Cseres, Agustin Reyna
As a result of the global lockdown, countries around the world are now facing multiple crises at the same time: a health crisis, a financial crisis, and a collapse in commodity prices, which all interact in complex ways. As a reaction, governments and policymakers are providing unparalleled support to firms, financial markets, and households.
Read more.
Marc Veenbrink
Judgment of 28 January 2021, Qualcomm v Commission, C-466/19P, EU:C:2021:76, and Judgment of 2 February 2021, DB v Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob), C-481/19, E EU:C:2021:84
The Court of Justice of the European Union conformed and clarified in Qualcomm, the well-established scope and application of the freedom from self-incrimination; in DB v Consob, it ruled that this principle is applied in conformity with case law of the European Court of Human Rights and made a distinction between undertakings and natural persons.
Read more.
  • We evaluate whether a merger between two major transport groups may give rise to merger efficiency gains.
  • The industry setting allows us to employ a difference-in-differences methodology evaluating the effect of the merger on operating costs of merging transport groups.
  • Our results show that, no matter the specification considered, we cannot conclude that the merger resulted in any merger specific efficiency gains for the merging parties, a result robust to a great number of robustness checks as well as to the introduction of heterogeneous treatment effects.
  • Our study contributes to a growing number of case studies undertaken by economists that can help determine whether horizontal merger policy is being properly enforced.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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