Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary matches the list of keywords used by Concurrences search engine. Each keyword is automatically updated by the most recent EU and national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review. The definitions are excerpt from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993).


A concentration arises either where two or more previously independent undertakings merge (merger), where an undertaking acquires control of another undertaking (acquisition of control), or where a joint venture is created, performing on a lasting basis all the functions of an autonomous economic entity (full-function joint venture).© European Commission

See the Merger Regulation, Commission Consolidated Jurisdictional Notice under Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (OJ C95 of 16.04.2008)

An amalgamation or joining of two or more firms into an existing firm or to form a new firm. A merger is a method by which firms can increase their size and expand into existing or new economic activities and markets. A variety of motives may exist for mergers: to increase economic efficiency, to acquire market power, to diversify, to expand into different geographic markets, to pursue financial and R&D synergies, etc. Mergers are classified into three types:

  • Horizontal Merger: Merger between firms that produce and sell the same products, i.e., between competing firms. Horizontal mergers, if significant in size, can reduce competition in a market and are often reviewed by competition authorities. Horizontal mergers can be viewed as horizontal integration of firms in a market or across markets.
  • Vertical Merger: Merger between firms operating at different stages of production, e.g., from raw materials to finished products to distribution. An example would be a steel manufacturer merging with an iron ore producer. Vertical mergers usually increase economic efficiency, although they may sometimes have an anticompetitive effect.
  • Conglomerate Merger: Merger between firms in unrelated business, e.g., between an automobile manufacturer and a food processing firm. © OECD