Attack of the isochrones: an emerging approach to defining markets

Geographic market definition is an important aspect of many merger inquiries, particularly those involving chains of outlets in several localities. In light of recent UK Competition Commission and Office of Fair Trading decisions, is it possible to identify an emerging consensus on assessing local market definition?

Read More


Renewable generation: is there a future for independent producers

The UK renewable generation market is remarkably diverse; yet as it continues to expand, and the scale of the projects required to meet government targets increases, the nature of investment in renewable generation could change. What effect might this change have on the market for independent renewable generation?

Read More


Bankruptcy codes: how do they affect business?

Julian Franks, Professor of Finance, London Business School, and Oxera Director, explains how recent research into bankruptcy codes reveals significant and sometimes unexpected differences between bankruptcy procedures in the UK and those of other countries.

Read More


What are the costs and benefits of near real-time gas information?

The UK Offshore Operators Association commissioned Oxera to estimate the costs and benefits associated with the publication of real-time information on flows of gas into the GB national transmission system. The study considered two variants of information provision—the first being the information that will be provided from July 2005 under Phase 3 of the voluntary information disclosure scheme, with the second being a more disaggregate information set proposed by energywatch in Network Code Modification 727. The study found that more publicly available real-time information is likely to lead to more efficient prices in the wholesale gas market and narrower bid–offer spreads, benefits which were likely to exceed £40m net present value over 15 years. However, the study also suggested there were significant costs—both the direct costs of the infrastructure and development of processes needed to deliver the information, and also possibly significant indirect costs associated with more volatile prices.

Read More


The future of UK asset management

Commissioned by the Corporation of London and the UK Investment Management Association, this study examined location choice in the asset management industry, the competitive position of the UK as a centre for asset management, and the major influences that may affect this position in future, including an assessment of the importance of regulation and tax factors. The research considered the component parts of the asset management value chain (marketing/distribution, core management, middle/back office) and what drives location decisions for different parts of the value chain. The analysis was based on a survey of 31 asset management firms, covering the majority of assets managed in the UK, and 27 in-depth interviews with asset managers, outsourcing service providers and experts on fund regulation and tax.

Read More


Water mergers: what are the prospects going forward?

Historically, the merger regime in the England and Wales water sector has restricted merger activity in order to protect comparative competition. However, recent developments suggest that comparative competition in water is now less important than it once was. Mergers are therefore more likely to be facilitated in future.

Read More


Reform of Article 82: where the link between dominance and effects breaks down

The reform of Article 82 is high on the EU competition policy agenda. Many commentators are of the view that abuse of dominance cases should move away from the current form-based approach to an effects-based approach. This article explores one of the fundamental shortcomings of the current approach—the use of dominance determinations as a shortcut to infer anti-competitive effects.

Read More


Consumer responses: how quick are they?

Ignoring the potential delayed reactions of consumers when thinking about investment, pricing, or competition cases, or when evaluating changes in consumer behaviour, could lead to biased policy conclusions. This article highlights these limitations and presents ways in which they may be overcome. It also discusses implications for undertaking future modelling exercises.

Read More


Future secure? Why asset managers locate in London

The UK is the largest centre for asset management in Europe, with assets of at least £2.8 trillion under management, and the industry is a major source of income and employment in the UK economy. A recent Oxera study has examined the competitive position of the UK as a centre for asset management, and the major influences, including regulation and tax, which may affect this position in the future.

Read More