Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Merger Control in the European Union and the United States: Just the Facts

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Mats Bergman, Södertörn University College, Stockholm, Uppsala University, Malcolm B. Coate, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Maria Jakobsson, Stockholm University - Department of Economics, and Shawn W. Ulrick, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explain Merger Control in the European Union and the United States: Just the Facts.

ABSTRACT: Using a combination of public and internal information, this paper compares and contrasts EU and US merger policies. Common economics seems to lead both authorities to consider remarkably comparable portfolios of mergers once the nominal differences in the regimes (US reviews more cases) are addressed. Vertical mergers account for less than ten percent and potential competition matters for around five percent of all mergers in both jurisdictions, while purely conglomerate mergers are extremely rare or non-existent. The share of collusion investigations fall over time in both jurisdictions. However, the US relies on collusion theory more than three times as often as the EU, where 85 percent of the horizontal cases concern dominance. Across both regimes, roughly one eighth of all recent horizontal mergers have been analyzed as non-dominance unilateral-effects cases. Only minor differences in the average probability of challenge are observed when controlling for market share. We also find that the EU is more prone to accept (or require) weak remedies and much less likely to consider efficiencies. The 2004 EU reforms seem to be leading towards at least some convergence on enforcement policy.


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