Analysis Group Provides Economic Analyses in Four Matters on the Short List for GCR’s 2022 Antitrust Awards

March 30, 2022

Analysis Group is honored to have provided economic and competitive analyses for four matters that have been named to the short list for Global Competition Review’s 2022 antitrust awards, which recognize “creative, strategic, and innovative work by teams of in-house and external lawyers and economists.” The following matters were among those nominated:

Merger control matter of the year – Europe: The successful combination of the international waste management firms Veolia and Suez was recognized by GCR as a landmark merger after receiving the European Commission’s conditional approval, following a proposal to divest certain French assets. An Analysis Group team worked with Suez’s counsel in collecting data on all affected markets in the EU and running economic analyses, including a detailed bidding data analysis and market share estimation. Analysis Group also assessed the impact of the merger on innovation incentives by analyzing a very large set of patents and estimating the closeness of innovation processes between the parties.

Litigation of the year – cartel defence: In TravelPass v. Marriott, TravelPass Group LLC alleged that Marriott and other hotel chains conspired to rig bids in online search engine advertising auctions and engaged in a group boycott of TravelPass. Analysis Group was retained by counsel for the joint defense group to support our affiliated expert Professor Catherine Tucker in preparing expert testimony on merits issues and the economics of search engine advertising. The case ultimately went to trial with Marriott International as the sole non-settling defendant, during which Professor Tucker provided testimony. However, five days into the trial, TravelPass withdrew all claims and publicly acknowledged that Marriott did not participate in any unlawful activity or engage in any conspiracy. 

Litigation of the year – Non-cartel defence: In Epic Games v. Apple, the creator of the popular online game Fortnite filed suits in the US, Australia, and the UK alleging that Apple had monopolized the market for in-app distribution. In the first of these cases to be decided, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Apple did not have monopoly power in the market for mobile gaming transactions. An Analysis Group team supported testifying expert Professor Richard Schmalensee, who opined on issues of market definition, market power, and the economics of two-sided platforms. He also rebutted the testimony of Epic’s experts. In her ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez cited Professor Schmalensee’s testimony at multiple points.

Behavioural matter of the year – Americas: In Richard Usher and Rohan Ramchandani, before the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Analysis Group was retained on behalf of two former foreign exchange (FX) traders who had been accused of cartel conduct using a Bloomberg chatroom. Analysis Group previously had worked for the defendants’ counsel in a federal trial in which a jury acquitted the traders of price-fixing charges. After the OCC pressed additional charges, an Analysis Group team supported three affiliated experts who evaluated the trading behaviors, the alleged conduct’s impact on banks’ safety and soundness, and competitive issues. After deposing the three experts, the OCC withdrew its charges.

Veolia/Suez and Epic v. Apple also were among the seven cases nominated for GCR’s overall “Matter of the year.”