The Lear Competition Note (LCN) discusses the existing literature on the interaction between State aid intervention that incentivizes the investment in decarbonisation technologies and the market-based mechanism relying on the European Union Emission Trading System (ETS). Now in its fourth phase, the EU ETS is often considered the most effective policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The mere existence of market failures in a certain context is not sufficient to justify State intervention. Other policies and measures may already be in place to address some of the market failures identified. Different measures to remedy the same market failure may counteract each other. The LCN discusses to what extent State aid intervention might be needed and appropriate to achieve climate neutrality, when Member States already rely on the ETS.
The Competition and Markets Authority appointed Lear to carry out a study aimed at looking at four past merger decisions in the digital sector taken by the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission (jointly, the “Authorities”).
The objective of the study was threefold:
▪ review merger cases undertaken by Competition Authorities and the relevant economic literature to identify which Theories of Harm (ToHs) have been typically pursued in relation to these mergers, how such ToHs have been evaluated and which relevant economic features should be taken into account when evaluating mergers in the sector;
▪ assess the UK cases and evaluate whether the decision that the Authorities have come to was reasonable based on the evidence that was, or would reasonably have been, available at the time;
▪ evaluate market evolution following the mergers to ascertain whether the merger has led to a detrimental outcome.