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See version in english What can be expected from the Commission’s non-horizontal merger guidelines?

DROIT & ECONOMIE : CONCENTRATIONS NON-HORIZONTALES - LIGNES DIRECTRICES DE LA COMMISSION

What can be expected from the Commission’s non-horizontal merger guidelines ?

Trois ans après la publication des lignes directrices de 2004 sur l’appréciation des concentrations horizontales, la Commission s’apprête à publier un projet de lignes directrices sur l’évaluation des concentrations non-horizontales. Ces derniers mois, par le biais de présentations, la Commission a dévoilé certains aspects de ce projet de lignes directrices et l’approche qui sera sans doute retenue. Cet article passe en revue la littérature économique traitant des fusions non-horizontales et évalue les changements que l’on peut attendre dans ce domaine sur la base des déclarations publiques récentes de la Commission.

1. In the last five years, the Commission's analysis of non-horizontal mergers (NHM hereafter ) has been harshly criticized by the European Courts. In 2002, the CFI annulled the Tetra Laval / Sidel merger prohibition in which the Commission's theory of harm relied on anti-competitive conglomerate effects. Then, in 2005, the CFI rejected the Commission's analysis of non-horizontal (vertical and conglomerate) effects in the GE/Honeywell prohibition decision (the decision was upheld on the basis of “traditional” horizontal effects). Following these severe rebuttals, it was time for the Commission to reflect on the principles that should guide its analyses of NHM and a team within DG Comp has been working on the preparation of draft guidelines, expected to be published in the coming months.

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Penelope Papandropoulos, What can be expected from the Commission’s non-horizontal merger guidelines?, February 2007, Concurrences Review N° 1-2007, Art. N° 13163, pp. 31-37

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