This article is part of a Chronicle. See more from this Chronicle
Pete Levitas, Mar 13, 2014
On January 8, 2014, Judge Orrick of the Northern District of California found that a consummated merger between Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act. Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews were the only two major third-party providers of ratings and review platforms, which provide online shoppers the opportunity to comment on purchases and allow prospective buyers to see how other consumers rated products.
The court referred frequently to the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, though Judge Orrick largely conducted a more traditional analysis that would fit comfortably within the 1992 Guidelines, finding that the Department of Justice established a prima facie case of likely competitive harm and Bazaarvoice failed to rebut it. In and of itself the conclusion that a merger to monopoly violates the Clayton Act is not surprising, but there are a number of points worth considering in the court’s opinion.