Lear has been appointed by a State-owned Italian company to assess whether an intra-group transfer of assets, without a monetary transfer from the beneficiary company, could lead to the creation of a economic value at the group level, and thus satisfy the market economy operator principle test, meaning that a private investor would have the incentive to undertake the same operation, and it does not constitute State aid. Continue reading Compliance assessment of an intra-group asset transfer with the market economy operator principle
Compliance assessment in the personal care sector – ongoing
Lear is assisting a producer of personal care products in developing a model aimed at ensuring that bids proposed in the context of tenders are compliant with antitrust provisions. The assignment entails estimating avoidable and long-run incremental costs, which the client can compare to the price offered to make sure that an equally efficient competitor can replicate that price.
Assistance to an Italian company active in the electronic tolling sector
Lear assisted an Italian company active in the electronic tolling market in a proceeding in front of the Italian Competition Authority, which has been initiated following the company’s decision to change the monthly fee for the use of the highway toll payment device and the related communication addressed to its customers. To support and justify the pricing adjustments made by its client, Lear analysed the variations in the costs structure that occurred during the most recent years and in the distribution channels of the services provided.
Alleged anti-competitive effects of an information spillover in the Italian automotive industry
Lear was appointed by a leading firm active in the automotive industry to assess the potential anti-competitive effects of an information spillover. The company had received sensitive information on a competitor’s business strategy and wished to assess if such information had any anti-competitive effect on its own business strategy. Lear performed several econometric analyses finding no effect of the information spillover.
Ex-ante assessment of the competitive effects of a multi-year purchasing agreement in the Italian insurance market
Lear assisted two leading Italian insurance companies in the assessment of the competitive effects of a purchasing agreement they intended to undertake, with the aim of evaluating its compatibility with Art. 101 TFEU. Lear consultants analysed the relevant geographic and product markets, calculated market shares in the affected markets and analysed the competitive concerns that might arise from the agreement. In light of the multi-year nature of the agreement, the evaluation also took into account a possible future increase in the parties’ market shares.
Concentration in the retail market for health, beauty, and household products
Lear has been appointed by a leading private equity and alternative assets investment company wishing to acquire control over a number of companies active in the Italian retail market for health, beauty, and household products, for a total of three different transactions carried out by an investment company. In two transactions, Lear’s economists have assisted the client in proving that there was no reportable market due to the absence of horizontal overlaps or vertical relationships between the business activities of the target companies and the business activities of the portfolio companies controlled by the investment company. Continue reading Concentration in the retail market for health, beauty, and household products
Alleged cartel in the Italian market for third-party liability insurance services – ongoing
Lear has been appointed by one of the largest insurance companies active in Italy and worldwide to rebut the accusations by the Italian Competition Authority, which has started a preceding to ascertain the potential anticompetitive effects of an information exchange among a number of price comparison websites and other insurance companies active in the provision of third-party liability insurance services in Italy. According to the ICA, such information could have been useful for the insurance companies to align their business strategies and hence reduce discounts provided to customers, which eventually led to higher prices. Lear’s strategy aims at proving that the exchange of information was not apt to lead to anticompetitive effects, mostly because of (i) the limited scope of the exchange, (ii) the fact that the exchange does not increase market transparency, and (iii) the fact that exchanged information could not be used to estimate prices charged by other companies.
Alleged restriction of competition agreement in the market for distribution of consumer electronics
Lear has assisted Apple Inc. in a proceeding before the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio (TAR), again a decision by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) on a vertical agreement with the Amazon group that has allegedly reduced intra-brand price competition on the Amazon.it marketplace. Lear supported Apple throughout the ICA and TAR proceedings; Lear submitted economic evidence showing that the agreement had a vertical nature and was motivated by the need to curb counterfeiting of Apple products, and improve consumers’ experience; therefore it had the objective and effect of boosting inter-brand competition between Apple and rival manufacturers of consumer electronics. The TAR sided with Apple and annulled the ICA’s decision.
Ex-ante assessment of the creation of a joint venture in the Italian market of the copyright intermediation for to the use of musical works – ongoing
Lear is assisting two leading companies in the sector of the intermediation of rights related to copyright for the use of musical works. The two companies notified a JV to the Italian Competition Authority (ICA). The ICA started a proceeding to assess the competitive effects of the transaction. Lear has been asked to identify and estimate the efficiencies brought about by JV.
Evaluation of the anti-competitive effects of a new regulation in the payment and settlement sector
Lear has been appointed by a consortium of banks to analyse the effects of the new Direct Access Fee (“DAF”) proposed by Bancomat S.p.A. to replace the Multilateral Interchange Fee (“MIF”) model for “not-on-us” ATM withdrawals with a model based on a direct fee to the cardholder. The Italian Competition Authority found that the project violated Article 101 TFEU, and that the new remuneration system would hinder competition among banks and likely facilitate collusion, fully in line with the theory of harm developed by Lear. Continue reading Evaluation of the anti-competitive effects of a new regulation in the payment and settlement sector