Today, the AAI released the merger chapter of its forthcoming Transition Report on Competition Policy to the 45th President of the United States. The chapter is entitled Mergers, Market Power, and the Need for More Vigorous Enforcement. This release is the first in a series of previews in which the AAI will make select chapters of the transition report available for download in advance of the November election.
“The goal of the 2016 AAI Transition Report is to assist the next president’s transition team by providing a comprehensive examination of current, pressing issues facing antitrust enforcement and policy. The report is also a public resource for those who have an interest and stake in these important issues," said AAI's President Diana Moss.
“The merger chapter and this entire report are a credit to the enormous intellectual firepower on the AAI Advisory Board,” said AAI Associate General Counsel Randy Stutz, who is the report’s editor-in-chief. The merger chapter takes stock of current merger control practice by the antitrust agencies and offers a variety of recommendations, including the following:
- “The agencies must aggressively, and more consistently, enforce the Horizontal Merger Guidelines . . . [and] not be so concerned about reducing errors of commission that they commit large errors of omission.”
- “The agencies should conduct a detailed study of past mergers to determine the extent to which mergers resulted in efficiencies, what types of efficiencies, and of what magnitude.”
- “The agencies should be prepared to litigate cases that would more firmly establish the structural presumption, signal renewed attention to mergers in moderately concentrated markets, and secure structural relief as opposed to conduct remedies wherever possible.”
- “The agencies should issue new or updated merger commentaries that explain their legal and economic treatment of potential competition cases, mergers involving network effects and two-sided markets, and vertical mergers or mergers that create or enhance the opportunity for merging parties to exercise market power through exclusionary practices, foreclosure of rivals, and the evasion of regulation.”
Visit the new Presidential Transition Report section of the AAI website for a free download of the entire chapter, links to the AAI's related work, and audio from a panel discussion of the chapter at the June 2015 AAI Annual Conference.
The AAI Presidential Transition Report makes policy recommendations based on the AAI's mission of promoting competition that protects consumers, businesses, and society. The Report is one way the AAI serves the public through education, research, and advocacy on the benefits of competition and the use of antitrust enforcement as a vital component of national and international competition policy. The AAI’s 2016 Annual Conference will focus on mergers. "Living with Market Concentration? New Perspectives on Merger Policy" will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2016. Register here.
Randy Stutz, Associate General Counsel, American Antitrust Institute
Diana Moss, President, American Antitrust Institute