The case of South Staffordshire/Cambridge: is clearer water emerging?

In May 2012, the UK Competition Commission cleared a water merger without requiring any undertakings: the first time this has happened in the history of the privatised water sector. Building on previous analysis, the CC changed its approach to valuing the detriments to regulation of the water sector caused by mergers. Along with proposed changes to the merger regime being put forward in the Draft Water Bill, this case should provide clearer guidance to those considering acquisitions in the sector.

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Presuming too much? The UK consultation on private actions in competition law

The European Commission and various Member States would like to see more competition law cases in court. The UK government recently set out a number of proposals to improve on the current regime. Based on Oxera’s response to the consultation, we discuss two aspects of the reforms: the plan to make the Competition Appeal Tribunal a major venue for competition actions, and the introduction of a rebuttable cartel overcharge presumption.

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Not a powerful comparison: purchasing power parity in OECD telecoms reviews

Purchasing power parity indices are intended to make measures of GDP and per-capita income comparable between countries. However, sometimes such indices are used to compare prices of individual items or specific sectors—for example, in reviews of telecommunications services by the OECD. Dr Adriaan ten Kate, independent economist based in Mexico, explains why this approach is spurious.

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Financial regulation: protecting consumers from poor value?

Financial regulation is topical, partly due to what it could or perhaps should have done to stop banks feeding asset price bubbles. Peter Andrews, Head of Research and Economic Analysis, Financial Services Authority, does not discuss these controversies, but describes the government’s plan for better protecting financial consumers. He shows that successive statutes have imposed progressively greater requirements for economic analysis, argues that these improve financial regulation, and outlines how the latest requirements can help make the new Financial Conduct Authority successful.

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