EU Merger Policy after the 2004 Reform: More Economic Approach, Fewer Challenges
Posted: 24 Jul 2017 Last revised: 27 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 18, 2017
I analyze empirically all European Commission’s decisions regarding “unilateral effects” aspects of horizontal mergers before and after the 2004 reform, which introduced the “significant impediment to effective competition” test in merger policy. I find that, after the reform, the Commission did not change its stance toward mergers to monopoly or quasi-monopoly (almost always challenged) and mergers in unconcentrated markets (almost never). The new test produced more frequent challenges when the combined entity is not the largest firm, but these cases remain rare. The Commission’s stance toward mergers falling between these polar opposites appears to have been tougher pre-reform ceteris paribus.
Keywords: Competition law, Antitrust, Merger, Merger regulation, unilateral effects
JEL Classification: K21, L40, L41, L51, D78
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