Treatment of innovation and other non-price factors in merger review (2017–2018)

Non-price effects, just as price-effects, form an integral and important part of the Commission’s merger analysis in markets characterised by non-price forms of competition. With the increasing importance of digital economy and innovation in general, it is likely that they will gain even more significance and prominence in its merger review in the future. This piece discusses the Commission’s recent decisional practice of 2017-2018 in relation to innovation and data mergers as well as the applicable legal framework. It concludes by outlining the current open discussions.

I. Introduction 1. Last year marked a record number of merger notifications at EU level. During 2018, DG Competition received historically unprecedented 414 merger filings. These, moreover, concerned mergers in already highly concentrated industries, mergers necessitating application of traditional merger review tools in novel ways as well as mergers requiring in-depth analysis of their potential impact on prices and other parameters. As regards 2017, DG Competition received 380 notifications, some of which required analysis of likely price increases but also of other important non-price parameters such as innovation. 2. Merger review seeks to prevent harm in terms of price effects but also in terms of other impact than on price, such as harm to innovation, choice, quality, privacy

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Ana Cacho Lacarra, Romana Hajnovicova, Treatment of innovation and other non-price factors in merger review (2017–2018), May 2019, Concurrences N° 2-2019, Art. N° 90423,

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