Killer acquisitions have come under the eye of the antitrust community. However, the issue has not always been discussed in a systematic way and there is still no emerging consensus. Therefore, this paper sets out a general framework to evaluate killer acquisitions by tying together the various strands in the existing literature. With that aim, this paper makes some conceptual clarifications, outlines possible ex ante and ex post mechanisms for capturing killer acquisitions and advocates for a set of criteria for their substantive analysis.

By David Pérez de Lamo1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

Killer acquisitions have come under the eye of the entire antitrust community. The topic has been very much in vogue at conferences2 and in the wide range of expert panel reports on competition law and digitization produced by antitrust authorities and academic institutions around the world.3 However, the issue has not always been approached in a systematic way, and there is still no emerging consensus.4 Therefore, this paper sets out a general framework to evaluate killer acquisitions by tying together the various strands in the existing literature. Section II makes some conceptual clarifications. Section III outlines possible ex ante and ex post mechanisms for capturing killer acquisitions. Section IV advocates for a set of criteria for their substantive analysis.

 

II. PRELIMINARY CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATIONS

The term “killer acquisition” has seemingly taken on different mea

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