Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Jia Yi Jayme Leong (Competition Commission of Singapore) and Hi Lin Tan, Competition Commission of Singapore are DESIGNING AUCTIONS TO PROTECT COMPETITION AND TO PROMOTE EFFICIENCY AND REVENUE.
ABSTRACT: The use of auctions has become increasingly widespread, from the allocation of resources like electricity and spectrum, to the selling of personal items on online websites like eBay. Invitations to tender or to quote are standard procurement methods for government agencies. Against this backdrop, it is important to be aware that the design of auctions and tenders can affect antitrust risks, with further implications on allocative efficiency and revenues. Further, policymakers should keep in mind that an auction may in certain circumstances create a downstream monopoly, potentially resulting in welfare loss and higher prices downstream. This research paper provides an overview of different auction designs, compares their antitrust risks and effectiveness in achieving allocative efficiency and revenue maximization, and discusses some proposals to mitigate antirust risks.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Se-In Lee, Pusan National University School of Law explains HOW PASS-ON THEORY SHOULD BE APPLIED IN KOREAN ANTITRUST LITIGATION.
ABSTRACT: In this article, I analyze and support the Korean Supreme Court's acceptance of pass-on theory in the recent flour price-fixing case decided in 2012. Since Korea belongs to the civil law system that aims at making actual damage compensation by private litigation, I agree with the court that a defendant should not be required to pay more than the actual damage suffered by plaintiffs. The Supreme Court stated that a defendant should establish a causal link between the alleged overcharge and any recovery made to plaintiffs through pass-on, but concluded that the required causal link was not established in the present flour price-fixing case. However, a notable feature of the judgment was that the Supreme Court allowed a reduction of the final damages awarded anyway, not on the basis of pass-on theory, but based on the notion of fairness. I support the Korean Supreme Court's decision to allow the pass-on defense to run, with burden of proof to establish it resting on the defendant. However, I suggest that the Korean courts should not calculate a reduction of damages according to the notion of fairness when a defendant cannot establish the pass-on causal link. It is time for the Korean courts to rely on a more concrete way of calculating damages than selecting some arbitrary numbers based on the notion of fairness.
Malcolm Coate, FTC offers A RETROSPECTIVE ON MERGER RETROSPECTIVES IN THE UNITED STATES.
ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, merger retrospectives have become increasingly popular in the economic literature. However, it is far from clear what implications can be drawn from these analyses, because the results suffer from a sample selection problem that undermines their implications. This article uses models of the Federal Trade Commission's enforcement activity to estimate challenge probabilities and address the selection issue. Although the small size of the sample limits the statistical interpretation of the results, general observations are possible. First, significant price effects generally appear in markets with very high challenge probabilities. When challenge probabilities are moderate, say 30 to 70 percent, retrospective results generate price effects in roughly half of the studies. For markets with low challenge probabilities, no price effects are observed in the retrospectives related to collusion theories. Positive price effects are observed for most of the retrospectives in differentiated goods markets, but theoretical analyses imply that most those results are highly problematic. Although retrospectives, interpreted in light of the likely competitive concern, can serve as a test for merger policy, an anomaly between the retrospective and the relevant policy prediction requires some type of case study to be undertaken to resolve the stark difference in implications prior to the analysis. More complete case studies are needed to fulfill the true promise of the retrospective research regime.
Herb Hovenkamp (Iowa) is thinking about Antitrust Balancing.
ABSTRACT: Antitrust litigation often confronts situations where effects point in both directions. Judges sometimes describe the process of evaluating these factors as “balancing.” In its e-Books decision the Second Circuit believed that the need to balance is what justifies application of the rule of reason. In Microsoft the D.C. Circuit stated that “courts routinely apply a…balancing approach” under which “the plaintiff must demonstrate that the anticompetitive harm…outweighs the procompetitive benefit.” But then it decided the case without balancing anything.
The term “balancing” is a very poor label for what courts actually do in these cases. Balancing requires that two offsetting effects can each be measured against each other by some common cardinal unit, such as dollars or tons or centimeters. The factors that courts consider under the rule of reason rarely lend themselves to such measurement. Instead, balancing approaches are usually “binary” rather than cardinal. They are more like off and on switches that go in one direction or the other.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision in O’Bannon v. NCAA understood these limitations and performed balancing the way it should be done. In defending its compensation rules the court observed both the NCAA’s and the courts’ longstanding recognition of amateurism in collegiate athletics as requiring uncompensated play. This created a binary rule that a court could readily follow. The district court’s creation of a trust fund for deferred compensation and judicial determination of the payout was simply price regulation by another name.
One place where a more cardinal form of balancing can work is merger analysis, particularly under the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines. The government’s prima facie challenge to a merger is based on a prediction of increased prices. If the test is met then the burden shifts to the defendant to show merger specific efficiencies of sufficient magnitude to reduce the predicted price to no higher than premerger levels.
Stating consumer price increases as the principal concern creates a unit of measure that makes balancing at least conceptually possible. Second, the consumer price test articulated in the Guidelines is easier to administer than a general welfare test. In order to estimate general welfare effects one must be able to quantify consumer harm, which includes not only higher prices but also deadweight loss. This requires information about the shape of the demand curve. In addition, offsetting efficiencies must always be assessed and netted out. This requires a court to look not only at per unit cost savings, but also at the output over which those costs will be spread.
Whether the Merger Guidelines more cardinal approach to balancing can be migrated to general antitrust litigation under the rule of reason depends on the challenged practice. Joint ventures with efficiency potential but threatening higher prices from collusion are a likely candidate. Practices that threaten exclusion will be more difficult to evaluate. Practices whose consequences show up in the longer run will be particularly difficult, as well as practices for which the defense has little to do with measurable prices.
Antitrust Liability for Licensing Boards After North Carolina Dental: Antitrust Preemption as a Penalty Default?
James Cooper, George Mason asks Antitrust Liability for Licensing Boards After North Carolina Dental: Antitrust Preemption as a Penalty Default?
ABSTRACT: Most professions in the United States are regulated by boards composed of industry practitioners, who in their official roles routinely engage in anticompetitive conduct. Until the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, many believed that such conduct was beyond the reach of antitrust enforcement as long as it was taken pursuant to state policy to displace competition — a standard met with relative ease. After North Carolina Dental, states now must additionally take ownership of the anticompetitive actions of these boards to avoid the full force of the antitrust laws. In this manner, North Carolina Dental has the potential to prompt a large-scale restructuring of the state regulatory apparatus. This article explores the potential for antitrust preemption to play a role in this restructuring. I argue that, to the extent that unsupervised boards’ anticompetitive conduct would be justified on non-competition concerns, they are rendered defenseless in any rule of reason inquiry, and hence are subject to a de facto per se standard. Rather than adjusting the rule of reason inquiry to allow courts to weigh non-competition concerns in these cases, the better alternative would be to preempt the laws altogether. This approach has several advantages. First, it would avoid a dissonance between antitrust and due process inquiries into the same conduct. Second, it would act as a penalty default for states, and like penalty defaults in contracts, such a rule would assign the regulatory decision to the low-cost information provider — the state, rather than the court. Finally, this approach vindicates federalism to a greater extent than a modified rule of reason. The only role for a federal court under a preemption approach would be to uphold or strike down the law granting the board authority to engage in the suspect conduct. This decision, moreover, would be based on an objective analysis of the board’s regulatory structure, rather than a subjective weighing of competition and non-competition concerns.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Elena came home today to inform me that there is a new Princess named Elena of Avalor. She is excited that there is another princess named Elena that will call her father Papi.
As with all Disney Junior programming, Elena of Avalor stories will be guided by an established curriculum that nurtures multiple areas of child development: physical, emotional, social and cognitive; thinking and creative skills, as well as moral and ethical development. Created for kids age 2-7 and their families, the stories are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to young children about leadership, resilience, diversity, compassion and the importance of family and family traditions.
Cosmo Graham, University of Leicester describes UK: The Concurrent Enforcement by Regulators of Competition Law and Sector-Specific Regulation.
ABSTRACT: The UK has a unique model where competition law is enforced concurrently by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the sector regulators. A major reform was implemented by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, extending concurrent powers to the financial services sector and the National Health Service. The reform led to more enforcement activity as well as to greater contacts, seemingly more information flows, greater understanding, and perhaps more trust between the agencies.
The Competition Law Scholars Forum (CLaSF) and UCD Sutherland School of Law - “Competition Law and Enforcement Priorities” 16 September 2016
The Competition Law Scholars Forum (CLaSF) and UCD Sutherland School of Law (BLREG)
Workshop-“Competition Law and Enforcement Priorities”
At UCD Sutherland School of Law (Belfield, Dublin 4)
on Friday, 16 September 2016
09:30 – 10.00: Registration
10.00: Introduction: Prof Barry Rodger (CLaSF), Mary Catherine Lucey (UCD BLREG)
Keynote Speaker –Professor William E. Kovacic, George Washington University Law School
Prioritisation and Article 102:- Chair: TBC
‘Enforcement priorities Paper on Article 102 TFEU: Is a Title Enough to Overtake Constitutional Rules and Fundamental Rule-Of-Law Principles?’, Konstantinos Sidiropoulos, DPhil Candidate, Oxford University; ‘Far Beyond Meaningless: the non-enforcement of exploitative excessive prices’, Carmen Rodilla Marti, PHD Candidate, University of Valencia
Prioritising Enforcement: Commitments and State aid complaints:- Chair: TBC
‘Commitments: Guidance for a New Enforcement Style’, Stavros Makis, PHD Candidate, Department of Law, EUI, Florence; ‘Prioritisation in state aid control: Filtering out “unwanted” complaints’ Oskar Van Maren, The Asser Institute, the Hague
Priorities in Enforcement: A Global and EU Perspective:- Chair: TBC
‘Goals, Values and Priorities of Competition Agencies: A View from Practice Around the World’ Dr Julian Nowag, Lund University, Sweden, Dr Maria Ioannidou QMU, London; ‘The Actual Role of Boosting the EU Competition Law Enforcement powers of NCAs: In Need of a Reframed Formula’ Catalin S. Rusu, Associate professor of European law, Radboud University, Nijmegen
15.45-16:00 Coffee Break
Enforcement priorities in Scotland and Ireland:- Chair: TBC
‘Is There a case for a Scottish Competition Authority? Contrasting Old, New and Regional Competition Enforcement Priorities in large, small and regional EU Economies’ Aiste Slezeviciute, PHD candidate, Edinburgh law School, and Solicitor, S and W, Edinburgh and Zeno Frediani, Solicitor, S and W; ‘An Analytical Review of the Choices/priorities made by Ireland’s Competition Authority/Competition and Consumer Protection Commission 1991-2016’ Dr Vincent Power, Partner, A & L Goodbody, Dublin
17:10-17:30 Closing Address: Dr John Temple Lang
17:30 Closing remarks
17.45Taxis to Central Dublin for bar/restaurant for speakers and participants
Mandatory prior registration with email@example.com
Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, BIICL offers EU State Aid Law and Transfer Pricing: A Critical Introduction to a New Saga.
ABSTRACT: This article argues that the European Commission's recent State aid investigations concerning tax rulings are not based on firm legal grounds. The author examines the Commission's opening decisions in of Apple, Starbucks, Fiat Finance and Trade, Amazon, and McDonald's and criticises the Commission's use of the arm's length principle and the prudent market operator principle. The overall conclusion is that in the Commission's effort to try to develop the law and to expand its remit, it takes a number of unacceptable shortcuts.
Florian Wagner-von Papp, University College London Faculty of Laws, David Viros, Daniel Zimmer, University of Bonn - Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht; University of Bonn - Centre for Advanced Studies in Law and Economics (CASTLE), William E. Kovacic, George Washington University - Law School, and Andreas Stephan, University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Competition Policy have a discussion on Individual Sanctions for Competition Law Infringements: Pros, Cons and Challenges.
ABSTRACT: Following the substantive harmonization in Regulation (EC) no. 1/2003, the European Commission has started more recently to focus on the harmonization of procedure and sanctions, and in January 2016, the European Parliament called for penalties against natural persons. This special issue looks at the current state of individual sanctions on the EU Member State level, examines from a comparative perspective the institutional challenges which these individual sanctions present, especially for leniency programmes, and discusses the pros and cons of introducing further individual, in particular criminal sanctions in Europe. It examines the experience with criminal sanctions in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, and presents empirical evidence on public attitudes towards competition law infringements in various Member States and the United States.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Tadashi Shiraishi, University of Tokyo explores Customer Location and the International Reach of National Competition Laws.
ABSTRACT: The Customer Location Doctrine is an elaboration of the Effect Doctrine, which explains "effect" as "the effect on customers located in the particular jurisdiction". It explains almost all competition law practices, with some internal disputes in cases where some aspects of "customers" belong to different entities (i.e., the decision-maker and product-receiver aspects). This article examines cases and practices that exemplify and sophisticate the Customer Location Doctrine.
Michael Carrier, Rutgers explores Pleading Standards: The Hidden Threat to Actavis.
ABSTRACT: In FTC v. Actavis, the Supreme Court issued one of the most important antitrust decisions in the modern era. It held that a brand drug company’s payment to a generic firm to settle patent litigation and delay entering the market could violate the antitrust laws.
Since the decision, courts have analyzed several issues, including causation, the role of the patent merits, and whether “payment” is limited to cash. But one issue — the pleading requirements imposed on plaintiffs — has slipped under the radar. This issue has the potential to undercut antitrust law, particularly because settlements with payment and delayed entry today typically do not take the form of cash. The complexity of non-cash conveyances increases the importance of the pleading stage.
For that reason, it is concerning that several courts have imposed unprecedented hurdles. For example, the district court in In re Effexor XR Antitrust Litigation failed to credit allegations that a generic delayed entering the market because a brand promised not to introduce its own “authorized generic” that would have dramatically reduced the true generic’s revenues. The same judge, in In re Lipitor Antitrust Litigation, dismissed a complaint despite allegations that the generic delayed entry in return for the brand’s forgiveness of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages in separate litigation.
This essay first introduces the Supreme Court’s Actavis decision. It then discusses the pleading standards articulated by the Court in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal. Turning to the cases that applied excessively high pleading requirements, it next focuses on the Effexor and Lipitor cases. Finally, it analyzes the settlement cases that applied a more justifiable analysis.
The essay concludes that the imposition of excessive standards, as was done by the Effexor and Lipitor courts, threatens to overturn established pleading standards and undercut the landmark Actavis decision. Such a result would significantly weaken the antitrust analysis of potentially anticompetitive settlements.
The Structural Presumption and the Safe Harbor in Merger Review: False Positives, or Unwarranted Concerns?
John Kwoka, Northeastern asks The Structural Presumption and the Safe Harbor in Merger Review: False Positives, or Unwarranted Concerns?
ABSTRACT: The structural presumption against mergers in highly concentrated markets has had a controversial history. The debate has centered on the error rates – and especially, the rate of false positives – from reliance on a simple structural standard for presuming a merger to be anticompetitive. This article introduces the first systematic evidence into that debate. It also uses that evidence to examine the empirical validity of the so-called “safe harbor”–the range of concentration where mergers are presumed unlikely to harm competition. The evidence is based on a substantial compilation of carefully studied mergers whose competitive outcomes are matched to data on concentration, the change in concentration due to the merger, and the number of remaining significant competitors after each merger. Statistical tests confirm that the current threshold in the Horizontal Merger Guidelines correctly identifies anticompetitive mergers with a high degree of accuracy, as indeed would somewhat tighter standards. Corollary findings include indications that a count of remaining significant competitors produces a slightly higher rate of correct predictions, and that the concentration-based safe harbor is at best rough guidance since there are any number of anticompetitive mergers in that zone. Data on recent merger enforcement practice are contrasted with these findings.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
NY State Bar Association Antitrust Section Mergers Committee "High-Tech Mergers" Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Kristelia A Garcia, University of Colorado Law School advocates Facilitating Competition by Remedial Regulation.
ABSTRACT: In music licensing, powerful music publishers have begun — for the first time ever — to withdraw their digital copyrights from the collectives that license those rights, in order to negotiate considerably higher rates in private deals. At the beginning of the year, two of these publishers commanded a private royalty rate nearly twice that of the going collective rate. This result could be seen as a coup for the free market: Constrained by consent decrees and conflicting interests, collectives are simply not able to establish and enforce a true market rate in the new, digital age. This could also be seen as a pathological form of private ordering: Powerful licensors using their considerable market power to impose a supracompetitive rate on a hapless licensee. While there is no way to know what the market rate looks like in a highly regulated industry like music publishing, the anticompetitive effects of these withdrawals may have detrimental consequences for artists, licensees and consumers. In industries such as music licensing, network effects, parallel pricing and tacit collusion can work to eliminate meaningful competition from the marketplace. The resulting lack of competition threatens to stifle innovation in both the affected, and related, industries.
Normally, where a market operates in a workably competitive manner, the remedy for anticompetitive behavior can be found in antitrust law. In music licensing, however, some concerning behaviors, including both parallel pricing and tacit collusion, do not rise to the level of antitrust violations; as such, they cannot be addressed by antitrust law. This is no small irony. At one point, antitrust served as a check on the licensing collectives by establishing consent decrees to govern behavior. Due to a series of acquisitions that have reduced the music publishing industry to a mere three entities, the collectives that are being circumvented by these withdrawals (and whose conduct is governed by consent decrees) now pose less of a competitive concern than do individual publishing companies acting privately, or in concert through tacit collusion. The case of intellectual property rights, which defer competition for creators and inventors for a limited period of time, is particularly challenging for antitrust.
Running contrary to conventional wisdom, this Article posits that regulation — not antitrust — is the optimal means of enabling entry and innovation in the music licensing market. While regulation is conventionally understood to restrict new entry and to interfere with competition, this Article demonstrates that where a market becomes highly concentrated, regulation can actually encourage competition by ensuring access to key inputs at competitive rates. While not without its drawbacks, including an increase in the cost of private action, remedial regulation in music licensing corrects anticompetitive behavior and ensures ongoing access to content and fair payment to artists, while supporting continued innovation in content distribution.
Emerging Trends in US Antitrust and EU Competition Law: a Comparative Perspective 14-15 October 2016
Emerging Trends in US Antitrust and EU Competition Law:
a Comparative Perspective
Over the past few years important policy changes have taken place in the US antitrust and EU competition law regimes. Such emerging trends raise the question of the degree of convergence between the two main competition law jurisdictions in the world. In the field of vertical agreements, for instance, following the land-mark ruling of the US Supreme Court in Leegin in 2007, Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) has been subject to the rule of reason; since that time, US Federal Courts have generally rejected claims concerning the illegality of RPM clauses included in vertical agreements. On the contrary, in Europe RPM clauses remain restrictions by object, and in the last few years these types of clauses have been actively prosecuted and fined by a number of National Competition Authorities (e.g. German Bundeskartellamt). Secondly, the Damages Directive adopted in December 2014 represents an attempt to strengthen private enforcement of EU competition rules as well as an attempt to catch up with private enforcement of US antitrust law. Thirdly, during recent years both the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission have investigated the abusive behavior of firms operating in innovation markets which own substantial market power and reviewed merger cases involving firms operating in these industries. While in some cases (e.g. Google case), the FTC and the EU Commission followed diverging approaches, in others the two antitrust authorities have achieved similar conclusions. For instance, the FTC and the European Commission have analyzed the behavior of firms owning Standard Essential Patents (SAPs) under Section 5 FTC Act and Article 102 TFEU. The FTC´s decisions in Bosch and Google-Motorola and the European Commission´s decisions in Samsung and Motorola are worth comparing, in order to assess the standard applied by two antitrust authorities in this field.
The first Annual Conference of ENTraNCE for Executives aims at gathering academics, practitioners, officials from NCAs and representatives of firms to discuss recent developments in US antitrust and EU competition law, in order to assess the degree of convergence and divergence between the two main antitrust jurisdictions.
The fee to attend: 250 Euros.
The fee is waived for ENTraNCE donors, Academics (Professors and PhD students) and officials from NCAs.
ENTraNCE Annual Training
In cooperation with
The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) of the European University Institute (EUI) is pleased to announce the call for applications of the first edition of the Annual Training of ENTraNCE for Executives.
The Annual Training provides participants with an advanced state-of-the-art overview of recent developments in competition law and economics, as well as State aid control. Members of ENTraNCE Scientific Committee, senior officials from the European Commission and other international organizations and practising lawyers are among the Annual Training lecturers. The Annual Training builds upon the experience gained in the past years by the RSCAS in organising ENTraNCE for Judges.
Structure of the Training
The first edition of the Annual Training will take place between September 2016 and June 2017. The programme combines an intensive residential training held at the EUI campus in Florence, and a series of e-learning activities.
The residential training is composed of 60+ hours of lectures divided in 4 blocks, each one lasting 2.5 days (from Thursday to Saturday morning).
Online activities will take place via a dedicated online platform. At the beginning of the course each participant will receive a username and password to access the platform. Via the online platform, the participants will be able to get access to preparatory reading materials for the residential training blocks in Florence. In addition, they will participate in an online forum of discussion on recent news in the field of competition policy. Finally, in each block of the online activities, participants will be required to fulfill certain assignments. Assignments could include, for instance, discussing and proposing alternative solutions for past, current or mock cases.
The Annual Training targets junior representatives of National Competition Authorities (NCAs), law firms, companies and economics consultancies who wish to deepen their knowledge in the field of competition law and economics. It is an advanced multi-disciplinary programme, which requires a sound background knowledge of either competition law or industrial economics.
The cost of participation in the full Annual Training 2016-2017 is €5,000. A special fee of €3,000 is foreseen for participants who would like to follow only two blocks of the Training of their choice, without taking part in the online activities.
Participants not coming from NCAs or ENTraNCE for Executives Donors can apply for the entire course at a fee of €10,000, or for two blocks at a fee of €6,000.
The tuition fees do not cover travel and accommodation costs in Florence during the residential blocks of training. However, lunches, coffee breaks, shuttle bus service and a number of social activities are provided.
How to apply
Online registration is open until 31 July 2016.
Patent Strategies and Competition Law in the Pharmaceutical Sector: Implications for Access to Medicines
Duncan Matthews, Queen Mary University of London - School of Law and Olga Gurgula, Queen Mary University of London, School of Law Patent Strategies and Competition Law in the Pharmaceutical Sector: Implications for Access to Medicines.
ABSTRACT: Competition policy is an under-utilised tool. Policy coherence between the IP system and competition must be strengthened in order to promote innovation and access to health technologies. Article 8(2) of the TRIPS Agreement provides flexibilities for governments to adopt competition law measures to prevent abuse of intellectual property rights, including IP rights related to the life sciences, namely the pharmaceutical industry and the biotechnology sector. Post-TRIPS, some countries have implemented competition laws but in practice are not using these effectively. This is particularly striking in the pharmaceutical sector, where abuses of intellectual property rights, such as reverse payment agreements and strategic patenting, risk allowing pharmaceutical companies to extend their market monopoly by blocking the entry of both generic and innovative medicines and, as a result, stifling competition and harming consumers. Nevertheless, these practices lack adequate attention by competition authorities. Such anti-competitive practices create particular challenges for the developing world as they can lead to significant barriers to innovation and access. Used effectively, competition policy can be in the best interests of society. It is conducive to freedom of choice and lower prices while, potentially, also serving as an important driver for innovation and access.
Elena Carletti, Bocconi University - Department of Finance; European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS), Steven Ongena, University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance, Jan-Peter Siedlarek, Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Giancarlo Spagnolo, Stockholm School of Economics (SITE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Rome 'Tor Vergata'; EIEF analyze The Impact of Merger Legislation on Bank Mergers.
ABSTRACT: We find that stricter merger control legislation increases abnormal announcement returns of targets in bank mergers by 7 percentage points. Analyzing potential explanations for this result, we document an increase in the pre-merger profitability of targets, a decrease in the size of acquirers and a decreasing share of transactions in which banks are acquired by other banks. Other merger properties, including the size and risk profile of targets, the geographic overlap of merging banks and the stock market response of rivals appear unaffected. The evidence suggests that the strengthening of merger control leads to more efficient and more competitive transactions.