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. Lear’s economists have assisted the client in proving that the transaction does not give rise to any reportable market because there are neither horizontal overlaps nor vertical relationships between the business activities of the target companies and the business activities of the portfolio companies controlled by the investment funds managed by the investment company.

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 – ongoing

Lear is assisting Apple Inc. in a proceeding started 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 prepared an economic brief highlighting the shortcomings of the ICA’s analysis, the efficiencies of the agreement, and showing that a vertical restrain can still be welfare enhancing when considering the effects of the agreement on inter-brand competition.

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”), currently under scrutiny of the Italian Competition Authority. Lear is developing an analysis that shows how the MIF does not distort competition as suggested by Bancomat, and that in any case the DAF Could only weaken competition among banks, ultimately to the detriment of consumers.

Ex-ante assessment of the anticompetitive effects of a merger in the audiovisual market

Lear has been appointed by a leading Italian Broadcaster in providing support with the assessment of the Discovery, Inc. (“Discovery”) and WarnerMedia, LLC. (“WarnerMedia”) merger. Lear has provided a comment to the merger, explaining how the competitive landscape in the sector has changed in the recent years, to the point that the segmentation of the market proposed by the European Commission can no longer be considered relevant, and highlighting the competitive concerns arising from the merger for the provision of Warner’s content to Italian broadcasters.

Alleged restriction of competition agreement in the market for distribution of consumer electronics

Lear has assisted Apple Inc. in a proceeding started by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) on a vertical agreement with the Amazon group that had allegedly reduced intra-brand price competition on the Amazon.it marketplace. Lear prepared an economic brief highlighting the shortcomings of the ICA’s analysis, the efficiencies of the agreement, and showing that a vertical restrain can still be welfare enhancing when considering the effects of the agreement on inter-brand competition.

Ex-ante assessment of a merger in the Italian insurance sector

Lear has assisted Assicurazioni Generali in the acquisition of Cattolica Assicurazioni. Lear has analysed the relevant geographic and product markets to identify affected markets according to the thresholds set by the European Commission in the horizontal mergers guidelines, and for those markets has analysed the competitive concerns that might arise from the concentration, showing that the level of dynamism in the markets should not give rise to any concern.

Alleged abuse of dominant position in the online advertising sector

Lear assisted an association representing the Italian online advertising industry in setting out how the conducts of certain market participants may constitute a breach of art. 102 TFEU, with the aim of reporting it to the Italian Competition Authority. The Italian Competition Authority decided to launch an investigation aimed at ascertaining the existence of such an abuse of dominant position, and Lear is assisting Mediaset S.p.a., a major Italian broadcaster, in its participation to the Authority’s investigation. In particular, Lear was appointed by Mediaset for providing assistance in its hearing before the Authority and for the drafting of a document which thoroughly sets out how certain conducts may be detrimental to competition. These assignments also entailed a comprehensive analysis of the online advertising supply chain, carried out through desk research and interviews to market participants.

Quantification of damages eligible for State aid during COVID-19 outbreak

Lear has been appointed by an Italian company active at national level to quantify the damages eligible for support under the fifth amendment of the Temporary Framework for State Aid, which aims at providing companies with a contribution to compensate for the lower revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Lear’s analysis provides an in-depth review of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company’s business, economic and financial performance, which has informed the methodology adopted by the European Commission for the quantification of damages.