Last week, the International Competition Network (ICN), a group of antitrust enforcement agencies representing nearly 100 different countries, adopted three important new merger review standards. These recommendations are intended to help create uniform merger review analysis across different jurisdictions. ICN adopted these new standards at its eighth annual conference, where 450 delegates representing more than 80 antitrust agencies spent three days in Zurich, Switzerland, discussing ways to facilitate uniform competition enforcement standards.
Specifically, the three recommendations that ICN adopted relate to the methods and tools that enforcement agencies should use when evaluating the competitive effects of a merger. First, ICN recommended that antitrust agencies perform competitive effects analysis to determine whether a potential merger would create or enhance anti-competitive market power. In particular, the ICN urged antitrust authorities to weigh the potential market effects if the merger is consummated as well as if it is not. Second, ICN recommended that antitrust agencies consider unilateral and coordinated effects of horizontal mergers on competition. Finally, ICN recommended that regulators apply both economic theory and real-world evidence to weigh the competitive effects of a proposed merger. These three recommendations will hopefully help create a standardized method of examining mergers.
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