In this issue:
Merger Remedies and Evanston Hospital
Observations on the Commission’s Evanston Remedy: When Is Divestiture, or Any Remedy, Not Appropriate for a Consummated Anticompetitive Merger?
The April order in Evanston established the specific terms of the remedial conduct order. Perhaps more importantly, it is the most recent decision from an enforcement agency regarding remedies for consummated anticompetitive mergers and stakes out a position significantly different from prior indications.
The Evanston case is a result of the Federal Trade Commission’s retrospective review of hospital mergers that was announced by then-FTC Chairman Tim Muris in 2002.
Mergers can have both pro- and anticompetitive effects. They can allow firms to function more efficiently or to increase the quality and scope of their offerings, thereby benefiting consumers. Conversely, they may permit anticompetitive increases in price or reductions in quality that harm consumers. The optimal remedy preserves the benefits of the merger, while mitigating the harm.
On August 6, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission issued an order in the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare hospital merger case, creating a unique remedy for a consummated hospital merger that the Commission had concluded in an adjudicative proceeding had violated the Clayton Act.
The EC Consultation on the Insurance Block Exemption
One of the arresting features of the European insurance markets is the diversity of its origins across, and within, the different Member States, and the varying role it has played—and continues to play—in the economic and social life of different European countries.
On April 17, 2008, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (Regulation 358/2003).
Making Waves in the Insurance Sector’s Safe Harbor: The European Commission Consults on the Insurance Block Exemption
It has been clear since the European Commission published its final report in relation to the business insurance sector inquiry in September 2007 that the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation was about to come under close scrutiny.
This article examines a number of issues relating to the IBER, many of which will be relevant to other industry specific exemptions and indeed to block exemptions generally.
It is generally recognized that information sharing can produce pro-competitive effects in markets characterized by information asymmetries, by reducing uncertainty and competitive risks. When, as it is the case in the insurance market, firms do not know their customers’ characteristics, it can be beneficial to collect and pool information about customers with other firms in order to achieve a better assessment of risks.
More on Visa, MC, and MIF in the EC
Even if one would expect that after 16 years of debates, decisions, complaints, objections, inquiries, and research, that the Competition Authorities would have a clear idea about the appropriate treatment of MIF, it is no exaggeration to assert that—for the most part—we are still in the dark.
Merger Guideline Changes in Japan
This article provides background on the amended M&A and Consultation Guidelines and analyzes the revised points.