Since the introduction of the Competition Act 1998 and Enterprise Act 2002, economists have been integral to market investigations. Industrial and competition economics are at the centre of many Competition and Markets Authority inquiries.
Oxera is a leading authority on corporate finance issues with extensive experience in all areas of market investigations. We provide strategic advice through the course of the inquiry, building key working relationships with lawyers, clients, and authorities.
We have assisted in competition investigations and merger proceedings for leading large corporations.
‘‘It’s as much about winning hearts and minds of staff and decision-makers in the public authority as winning specific arguments.’’
In this Q&A, Oxera economic experts discuss the success stories and key issues our clients face in market investigations
Click here to read the article.

The skills we apply to market investigations

Market investigations look into mergers and anti-competitive practices to make sure competition and markets work well for consumers. Oxera applies the following areas of learning to each inquiry in which it supports a client: technical economic and quantitative skills, experience of previous market investigations, and communication skills.

Technical economic and quantitative skills
We provide compelling inputs and an effective challenge to the public authority and any other parties involved in the investigation.

Experience of previous market investigations
Due to our knowledge of the authority’s processes, staff, and wider priorities, we can suggest to clients and lawyers the type of analysis with the greatest impact.

Communication skills
Our ability to engage client staff at all levels, from CEOs to database managers, makes us an effective adviser. We can explain the market investigation process and overall driving philosophy to make sure the client focuses on the relevant issues and understands the broader picture.

What sets us apart

1

Competition economics

  • Rigorous grounding in industrial and competition economics
  • Supporting clients on competition investigations, merger proceedings, and state aid
  • Worked on nearly all market investigations undertaken by the UK competition authority since 2004

2

Corporate finance

  • Leading authority on corporate finance issues
  • Undertaken profitability analyses in many CMA market investigations
  • Extensive experience in advising regulators and companies on profitability benchmarks, risk, and commensurate returns

3

Regulation, policy and market analysis

  • Deep knowledge across many industries
  • Well-developed understanding of various commercial and regulatory frameworks
  • Extensive experience of advising companies and traders on regulatory matters, policy reforms, and market investigations
  • Suite of market models to help conduct quantitative impact assessments of energy policy reforms and regulatory proposals

Direct Line

Ensuring a successful outcome

Client: Direct Line Group (DLG)
Type: CMA investigation
Venue: Success for DLG and other insurers

Client: Direct Line Group (DLG)

Type: CMA investigation

Venue: Success for DLG and other insurers

Oxera supported DLG throughout both stages of the CMA investigation.

We helped develop DLG’s strategy for the investigation and potential outcomes. This led to light informational remedies being imposed on DLG and other insurers. The CMA had considered more fundamental changes to the market but representations from DLG and others persuaded it not to go ahead with these.

Arriva

Challenging the CMA

Client: Arriva
Type: CMA investigation
Venue: Minimised remedies package

Client: Arriva

Type: CMA investigation

Venue: Minimised remedies package

Throughout both stages of the CMA’s investigation, we worked closely with Arriva and external lawyers, providing economic input on Arriva’s submissions. We produced bespoke economic analysis to address one of the CMA’s theories of harm, critiqued its econometric analysis of consumer harm and profitability analysis, and attended hearings with the CMA.

With our help, Arriva minimised the total adverse effect on competition claimed by the CMA. This limited the severity of its remedies package, which meant less commercial impact on the client.

The close team of lawyers, economists, DLG competition counsel and business people led to this success. Together, we provided the CMA with a clear and consistent picture that was in line with DLG’s overall approach.

With our help, DLG also encouraged the CMA to focus on the market power and contractual clauses of insurance price comparison websites. As a result, it imposed remedies to remove certain types of clause. We provided submissions to the CMA and critiqued its arguments, evidence and theoretical modelling.