Brattle Principals Pinar Bagci and Pedro L. Marín and Brattle Senior Associate Lucrezio Figurelli have authored an article, “Recent Developments in the Assessment of Telecom Mergers in the European Union” in the Competition Law Journal. The article explores the debate that has arisen due to the recent surge in mobile network operator (MNO) mergers in Europe and concerning the European Commission’s (the Commission) shift in policy and approach to evaluating telecom mergers.

In the article, the authors review recent merger decisions in the European Union telecom sector and find that the Commission has adapted its approach since 2014 due to experience of price increases or unfulfilled commitments with previous mergers. In recent decisions, the Commission has indicated that it considers the negative effects of ‘4-to-3’ concentrations to outweigh any potential benefits. Remedies are becoming more structural, with the mobile virtual network operator model regarded as insufficient to remedy competition concerns. Parties must offer remedies that can be implemented with certainty and in a timely way, and upfront measures have been required to ensure entry of a fourth mobile network operator in the market. Efficiencies arguments have largely been rejected for not being merger-specific or unlikely to be passed on to consumers.

The article was shortlisted for the 2019 Concurrences Antitrust Writing Awards and is available for download on the publication’s website.

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