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Monday, April 7, 2014

Market Definition in Differentiated Goods When the Final Consumer Buys the Good: Insights from the H&R Block Case

Malcolm B. Coate, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) describes Market Definition in Differentiated Goods When the Final Consumer Buys the Good: Insights from the H&R Block Case.

ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the development of market definition analysis in three recent merger cases (Staples, Whole Foods, and H&R Block). The discussion traces the evolution of the market concept from the naive Brown Shoe criteria to a price discrimination analysis implicit in Staples to the current application of diversion theory in the H&R Block case. By replacing fact with theory, this theoretical approach runs the risk of returning to the world of Brown Shoe. Additional discussion of H&R Block suggests that price discrimination remains relevant and could have been developed through further factual study. Moreover, even if theory is used to define a narrow market, the analyst must address a range of entry issues before concluding that the merger is likely to substantially lessen competition.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2014/04/market-definition-in-differentiated-goods-when-the-final-consumer-buys-the-good-insights-from-the-hr.html

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