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.

Support study for DG COMP for the revision of the Railway Guidelines

Lear, together with E.CA Economics, Sheppard Mullin and University of East Anglia, has been appointed by the European Commission to carry out a study to assist in the revision the Community guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. The study will provide the Commission with the relevant information to update the Guidelines, to ensure that they are apt to promote the full liberalization of the rail sector and well-aligned with the regulatory developments that ensure a level-playing field in the internal market. In addition, the results of the study will support the EU policy priorities in the context of the digital transition and the Green Deal emphasizing the importance of the modal shift from road to less polluting transport modes such as rail and inland waterways, in order to meet the Union’s emissions reduction target by 2050. The revision of the Guidelines will also consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transport sector in the Member States and seize the opportunities afforded by the recovery plans to exit the crisis while promoting the twin green and digital transformations.

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.

Dispute in the market for cleaning services – ongoing

Lear is assisting a company active in the cleaning services market in a damages action initiated by one of its competitors. The action follows an investigation by the Italian Competition Authority which had found that four companies active in this market had coordinated their bidding behaviour in tenders organized by the government to secure cleaning services for schools across the territory of Italy. Lear is developing arguments seeking to show that the agreement did not have an anticompetitive nature.

Dispute in the postal correspondence delivery sector – ongoing

Lear has been appointed by a leading company in the postal delivery sector in the context of a damages claim brought by a water distribution company. The water distribution company claimed that the postal delivery company did not comply with all the deliveries foreseen in the tender. Lear’s economists have been appointed as party expert by the postal delivery company in the proceeding before the Court to demonstrate the correct execution of the contract.

Damage assessment for alleged defamatory television reports – ongoing

Lear has been appointed by a leading broadcasting operator in the context of a damages claim brought by a producer of dietary supplement and medical products, as a result of allegedly defamatory television reports. Lear’s economists have been appointed to assess the quantification of damages presented by the claimant.