This paper presents a broad retrospective evaluation of mergers and merger decisions in markets dominated by multisided digital platforms. First, we document almost 300 acquisitions carried out by three major tech companies—Amazon, Facebook, and Google—between 2008 and 2018. We cluster target companies on their area of economic activity providing suggestive evidence on the strategies behind these mergers. Second, we discuss the features of digital markets that create new challenges for competition policy.
By using relevant case studies as illustrative examples, we discuss theories of harm that have been used or, alternatively, could have been formulated by authorities in these cases. Finally, we retrospectively examine two important merger cases, Facebook/Instagram and Google/Waze, providing a systematic assessment of the theories of harm considered by the UK competition authorities as well as evidence on the evolution of the market after the transactions were approved. We discuss whether the competition authority performed complete and careful analyses to foresee the competitive consequences of the investigated mergers and whether a more effective merger control regime can be achieved within the current legal framework.
The publication contributes to a better knowledge of the economic impact of this policy, which is essential for the good functioning of the internal market in the European Union. Competition authorities are increasingly interested in understanding the impact of their activities on markets and consumers. The goal is to improve competition policy rules and decision-making practices and to get robust evidence on the benefits of competition and competition policy for society as a whole. Discussions with competition authorities, practitioners and academics have shown the need to take stock of the experience gained in this field by the European Commission and to present it in an easily accessible way.
Paolo Buccirossi, Alessia Marrazzo and Salvatore Nava wrote two chapters concerning the T-Mobile/Orange UK Merger Case and the Telekomunikacja Polska Antitrust Case.
The paper analyzes the optimal design of competition law in Western Balkan countries. It first identifies the “policy choice set”, i.e. the essential variables that define a competition policy regime; then considers how the optimal choice within the available options depends on a number of characteristics and finally examines where the Western Balkan economies stand in terms of these characteristics. This comparison allowed the authors to derive policy implications on how competition policy in Western Balkan countries should be designed and implemented.
The study “Western Balkans and the Design of Effective Competition Law: The Role of Economic, Institutional and Cultural Characteristics” has been published by Springer in the book “Competition Authorities in South Eastern Europe”, edited by Boris Begović and Dušan V. Popović.
The report empirically investigates the causal effects of three decisions adopted by the European Commission on the performance of telecoms markets, namely the T-Mobile/Orange merger in the UK mobile markets, a state aid decision in the German fixed broadband market and an abuse of dominant position by Telekomunikacja Polska in the Polish fixed market. The report also provides a descriptive analysis on the evolution of competition policy enforcement in the telecoms markets and the concurrent trends in markets’ performance.