A new era for collective actions in the UK

The long-awaited UK Supreme Court judgment in Mastercard v Merricks 1 (‘the Judgment’) was handed down last Friday morning. The Judgment allows a £14bn opt-out collective proceeding to proceed. The application for a collective proceeding, launched by Walter Hugh...

The risks of using algorithms in business: artificial price collusion

Increasingly, prices are set by algorithms rather than humans. Many competition authorities have voiced their concerns that this may enable firms (knowingly or otherwise) to avoid competitive pressure and collude. Exactly how would such algorithmic collusion work? And what can businesses and other organisations that use pricing algorithms expect from competition authorities in the future?

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Here to stay: regression analysis in follow-on cartel damages

Regression analysis is a powerful statistical tool that can be used to estimate the damages caused by competition law infringements. In recent years, this type of analysis has increasingly been used to quantify follow-on damages claims in Europe. However, this trend is not yet reflected in final judgments by national courts. Why is this the case, and how might this change in the future?

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Abuse, She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher and her fellow protagonists in whodunnit stories, such as Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, knew the formula: find the motive of the suspect, and you have solved half the crime. Dr Gunnar Niels, Partner at Oxera, discusses how competition authorities sometimes behave as if they were in a detective novel by Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, focusing on the intent of the dominant company.

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New kid (needed) on the block? Vertical Block Exemption Regulation in the digital age

The recent rise of ecommerce has triggered debate around vertical agreements between suppliers and distributors/retailers. Against this backdrop, is the European Commission’s current Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) still fit for purpose, or should it be revised? Do its Guidelines on Vertical Restraints (VGL) also need to change? Drawing on Oxera’s response to the Commission’s 2019 consultation, we discuss a few areas where revision and further guidance might be welcome

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Which direction is the FCA walking on prices?

Yesterday, the FCA published the terms of reference for the forthcoming general insurance market study; a thematic review of the home insurance supervisory programme; and a discussion paper on fair pricing in financial services. Who is affected? The market study will...

Hide and seek: the effective use of cartel screens

Hardcore cartels seek to increase profits at the expense of their consumers by deviating from competitive behaviour, while avoiding detection and punishment. Econometric screens, if designed well, can be a useful tool in detecting such deviations from competitive patterns, and can thereby help to improve cartel enforcement. Moreover, they can reduce the extent to which cartels are able to covertly restrict competition

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Aussie rules: the Oxera Trading and Post-trading Monitor

Over the past two decades, the competitive structures of stock markets across the world have undergone considerable change. In many new markets, new trading platforms compete with national stock exchanges, and in most European markets investors and traders can choose from several competing central counterparties (CCPs) for the clearing of equity transactions. Oxera has updated its analysis of the costs of trading and post-trading services, with a focus on Australia

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The EU draft Damages Actions Directive: another rebuttable presumption to rebut?

In June 2013 the European Commission made another push towards promoting private actions for damages under competition law, through the publication of a ‘Practical Guide’ on quantifying damages and a draft Directive. The latter includes a new rebuttable presumption that a cartel has caused harm, citing economic evidence in support. Does this make sense from an economic and policy perspective?

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Price pressure analysis in UK merger control: a retrospective

On April 1st 2014 the successor authority to the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority, takes up the reins of UK merger control (among other responsibilities). 2014 also marks a decade of the use of price pressure analysis by the UK authorities in their scrutiny of mergers. In view of these landmarks, OFT Chief Economist Chris Walters takes stock of the use of these techniques over the last ten years.

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