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How do you solve a problem like a merger?

There are growing concerns about large corporations dominating markets and economies, and calls on competition authorities to take a tougher stance on mergers and acquisitions. Are these concerns any different from those about large trusts a century ago, and those about conglomerates in the 1960s and 1970s? Does merger control require radical reform? Dr Gunnar Niels, Oxera Partner, shares some views


Vertical contracts and their effects on the passing-on of overcharges

The passing-on of overcharges is a recurrent theme in competition law infringement cases. As purchasers further down the value chain are often affected by overcharges, contracts between direct and indirect purchasers are an important driver of this passing-on, and therefore the quantification of damages claims. Professor Markus Reisinger of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management sets out how different forms of vertical contracts—and vertical restraints in general—affect who absorbs harm from antitrust infringements


Moonshots and market failures: the economics of space

A variety of new and old companies are looking to invest in space applications. From space tourism to on-demand meteor showers for that special occasion, entrepreneurs and investors are trying to understand the economics of space. Investing in space technology is costly and uncertain, but has the potential to generate large economic gains, such as those enabled by GPS technologies, satellite photography and earth observation. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s explore that final frontier…


De-stressing distressed investments: portfolio returns in restructuring aid cases

In the EU, state intervention to assist firms in financial difficulty is often justified by demonstrating that the aid is compatible based on the European Commission’s Rescue and Restructuring Aid Guidelines. However, these Guidelines impose restrictions on firms’ activities, which can tie the hands of the beneficiary, limiting the options to ensure a return to financial viability. But can state intervention be justified on commercial grounds by focusing on the state’s overall portfolio of assets?


The science of misbehaving: Richard Thaler wins the Nobel Prize

Richard Thaler has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for his contributions to behavioural economics. His work on mental accounting, self-control and ‘nudging’ are stand-out achievements. Thaler’s work from the late 1970s to the present day reflects a combination of collaboration and determination, and has affected government and regulatory policy around the world


The right price for intellectual property rights: the debate continues

Competition policy and regulation are increasingly focusing on fair pricing, and various tests have been developed for assessing when prices are excessive or unfair. Do these tests differ in the case of intellectual property? And how have they been implemented in recent cases concerning copyright and standard essential patents?


A ‘new normal’: airport competition in Europe

The European aviation sector has evolved rapidly in recent years, with low-cost carriers (LCCs) and super connectors flourishing in particular. What effect do these changes have on competition between airports and on the competitive landscape in which they operate, and what do they tell us about a ‘new normal’ for European airports?


Moore’s Law or Murphy’s Law? Intel and the reform of the EU abuse of dominance rules

On 6 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) published its widely anticipated judgment on the Intel case. It set aside an earlier General Court ruling that upheld the European Commission’s previous €1.06bn fine on Intel for abuse of dominance in the chip market. The judgment confirms the importance of analysing economic effects in cases involving exclusivity rebates to customers


Regulating oligopolies in telecoms: a solution in search of a problem?

Proposals by the European Commission to reform the regulatory framework for electronic communications services are under debate in the European Parliament. Meanwhile, national regulators are requesting new regulatory tools to tackle more concentrated ‘oligopolistic’ market structures emerging across Europe. Are their requests justified?


It’s a tough one: Ofwat’s PR19 methodology

In July 2017, Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water industry in England and Wales, published its eagerly awaited consultation on the methodology for the 2019 price review of the sector (PR19). The key message? Across virtually all areas, things will be tougher for companies than at the previous review

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