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Brattle’s competition experts work with clients in both the public and private sectors on a full range of competitive, regulatory, and commercial issues that arise in European markets. We regularly provide expert testimony in market investigations and competition cases throughout Europe and before the European Commission. We have also advised on major mergers and joint ventures in the region.

In competition investigations and merger review processes, Brattle economists conduct sophisticated econometric analyses of complex data sets, apply simulation models to use when predicting the effects of alleged anticompetitive conduct, and develop and refine cutting-edge economic arguments related to exclusionary behavior and cost-raising strategies.

Our experts also evaluate the competitive impacts of mergers and acquisitions, identify key competitive issues, and conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses of the likely implications for prices and other market features. Our experience spans both horizontal and vertical transactions, including the formulation of mitigation measures if the competitive analyses do not satisfy safe harbor thresholds.

We have worked with a variety of clients, including competition authorities, throughout Europe in countries such as Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Areas of Expertise
News

The Brattle Group has welcomed Dr. Peter Davis to its London office as a Principal. He brings deep expertise in competition and regulatory investigations, including experience in matters related to cartels, class actions, mergers and acquisitions, and market investigations.

Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our European Competition practice.

Merger in European oil market

Brattle advised Nynas, a European specialty oils manufacturer, in the analysis of competition issues arising from its acquisition of an oil refinery from Shell. We assisted Nynas throughout the Phase II EC investigation that entailed defining the relevant geographic and product markets by analyzing the relative price movements of specialty oils in different geographic markets and between naphthenic and paraffinic substitutes. Application of the “small but significant and non-transitory increase in price” (SSNIP) test to the identified markets indicated that our client could not maintain a 10% price increase after the acquisition, as refineries in Europe could profitably compete within that price range, and customers would have incentive to switch to alternative oil products. Our analysis was presented to the European Commission which cleared the merger, without remedies, following an in-depth Phase II investigation.

CMA investigations of competition in GB energy markets and retail banking

Brattle economists advised a large European energy company and a large financial institution throughout investigations of competition conducted by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) during 2014 to 2016. We worked in partnership with the client and their legal counsel in responding to CMA assessments of competition, including assessments of unilateral and coordinated market power; reviewing companies’ pricing strategies; reviewing analysis of consumer switching behavior and gains from switching; and, for energy, responding to the CMA’s assessments of costs and profitability in generation and supply comprising detailed margin analysis.

EC investigation of alleged collusion in FOREX markets

Brattle assisted a global investment bank in connection with an EC investigation of alleged collusion to manipulate foreign exchange benchmarks during 2008-2012. We provided guidance on the appropriate basis for calculation of fines.

Alleged manipulation of LIBOR

Advised a global investment bank on the alleged manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark in private litigation brought in the UK Commercial Court. The claimant alleged that the bank manipulated the benchmark LIBOR rate in order to increase payments to the bank from the LIBOR-linked loan and swap arrangements sold to the claimant. The investigation involved detailed economic analysis of causes of movements in the LIBOR benchmark, the extent of possible coordination between LIBOR rate-setters, and the relationship between LIBOR and key macroeconomic variables over the period of the loan and swap arrangements and the key re-set dates.

EC state aid investigation
Brattle provided economic analysis in support of Alro, an aluminium producer, in connection with an EC state aid investigation of the price of electricity in a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hidroelectrica, a state owned electricity generator in Romania. Our analysis entailed detailed financial and electricity market modelling to determine but-for market prices and profitability, absent the PPA. Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission concluded that the electricity supply contract did not constitute State Aid. In its decision, the Commission referred to the “ample and comprehensive studies prepared by the Brattle Group in support of their arguments according to which the agreement with Hidroelectrica did not involve any state aid.”
EC investigation of payment card interchange fee

Advised Visa Europe in connection with an EU Article 101 investigation into the determination of the multilateral interchange fee for credit and debit card payments in Europe. The analysis involved design and implementation of consumer and merchant surveys of the cost of cash and card transactions throughout the EU; analysis of the benefits of cards for consumers and merchants; and economic analysis of consumers’ response to credit card surcharges. The analysis was used to estimate an efficient level of card interchange fees and evaluation of the effects on consumer behavior of the introduction of payment card surcharges.

Experts
Publications
News & Knowledge
June 30, 2021
Brattle to Host Virtual Event on UK Class Actions

Brattle will host a virtual event, “UK Class Actions: Lessons Learned & What’s Next,” on Wednesday, June 30 from 9:30–11:00 a.m. (BST). 

April 07, 2021
Dr. Peter Davis to Participate in CMA Roundtable on Vertical Block Exemption Regulation

Brattle Principal Peter Davis will participate in a UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Economic Roundtable, “Review of the Retained Vertical Block Exemption Regulation,” on April 7 from 8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (ET) | 1:30–5:00 p.m. (BST).

April 06, 2021
Prominent Economist Dr. Peter Davis Joins The Brattle Group's London Competition Practice

The Brattle Group has welcomed Dr. Peter Davis to its London office as a Principal. He brings deep expertise in competition and regulatory investigations, including experience in matters related to cartels, class actions, mergers and acquisitions, and market investigations.