In GCR’s Digital Markets Guide, Analysis Group Authors Contribute Chapter on Merger Enforcement in the Context of Multi-Sided Platforms

January 2, 2024

For the third edition of Global Competition Review’s Digital Markets Guide, Analysis Group Managing Principal Emily CottonVice President Juliette Caminade, and Senior Advisor Eliana Garces contributed a chapter describing the extent to which the economics of multi-sided platforms inform the economic analysis undertaken in the context of digital platform mergers. The authors contextualize their discussion by referencing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) July 2023 Draft Merger Guidelines, and, in particular, its suggested considerations for mergers involving multi-sided platforms.  

Starting with market definition after the US Supreme Court’s Ohio v. American Express case, the authors present an overview of considerations specific to multi-sided platforms. These include price and non-price competition, barriers to entry and lessening of competition, foreclosure and raising rivals’ costs, and dynamic competition. Their analysis of the FTC’s handling of attempted acquisitions such as IQVIA’s bid for Propel Media and Microsoft’s proposed merger with game publisher Activision/Blizzard demonstrates the new complexities of such transactions. Finally, the authors consider a variety of remedies and highlight the discussion around the threshold of intervention and the adequacy of available tools to assess competition for digital platforms. 

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