U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has challenged three mergers – Ticketmaster/Live Nation; Comcast/ NBC Universal, and Google/ITA, in each case imposing an array of conduct remedies in addition to, or in lieu of, traditional structural remedies. Much has already been written about the renewed interest by the DOJ in conduct remedies, but there has been far less discussion of the potential impact of the DOJ’s approach on a key element of competition – incentives for innovation. Behind the DOJ’s appetite for conduct remedies lies a potential
The US District Court for the District of Columbia demands behavioral remedies from two strong competitors in related markets before approving a vertical merger that will allow the combined company to enter the online travel search market (Google / ITA)
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