Margin Squeeze: Where Competition Law and Sector Regulation Compete

This paper starts with an overview of the different ways in which an undertaking can abuse its dominant position through pricing and then zooms in on margin squeeze. We start by defining margin squeeze, and then take a thorough look at its assessment framework. It is examined why some undertakings appear to be more susceptible to this abuse than others. The paper subsequently investigates the place of margin squeeze in the European legislative framework, considering which kind of antitrust abuse margin squeeze could be and how the ECJ currently conceives it. Finally, we explore the interaction of the competition law approach with the regulatory approach to margin squeeze.
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Friso Bostoen, 'Margin Squeeze: Where Competition Law and Sector Regulation Compete' (2017) 53 Jura Falconis 3.

Margin Squeeze in the Telecommunications Sector: A More Economics-based Approach

A margin squeeze occurs when a vertically integrated company, dominant in the supply of an indispensable upstream input, pursues a pricing policy which prevents downstream competitors from trading profitably, thereby leading to their ultimate exclusion from the downstream market. In the telecommunications sector, where large ex-state firms still enjoy considerable market power, margin squeeze has long been frequent. Interestingly, the United States and the European Union have tackled this problem in considerably different ways. Dismayed by the idea of an antitrust court intervening in a company’s price setting, the US Supreme Court held that margin squeeze was exclusively the domain of regulation. Conversely, the Court of Justice of the European Union has endorsed a modern economics-based approach enabling competition authorities to engage in a coherent and verifiable antitrust assessment of the price differentials that potentially amount to a margin squeeze. This paper will argue that (1) the economics-based approach is the right solution in the European context, but that (2) this approach will only lead to convincing results if it includes a rigorous and transparent analysis of the effects on competition and consumers.
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World Competition 35(2)/2012, S. 205–232 (Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands)

Damages claims in the Spanish sugar cartel

Market conditions in the sugar industry are strongly affected by protectionist regulatory measures and interventions, leaving narrow room for business competition. Moreover, competition authorities worldwide have investigated and successfully prosecuted anticompetitive actions by sugar producers and refiners in this market. As an example of collusive behaviour in the sugar industry, this article looks at the Spanish sugar cartel uncovered and sanctioned by the Spanish competition authority. It then turns into the subsequent private enforcement actions that concluded successfully last year with a Euro 5 million award in damages by the Supreme Court. Several lessons can be extracted from the Supreme Court’s decisions that will have an impact on future private claims for damages arising from competition law violations in Spain. They clarify the relevance and legal force of public enforcement decisions for private enforcement, how damages’ calculations should be done, and how expert forensic opinions on the matter should be assessed by the courts and, finally, they rule on the availability of the passing-on defence. In all, the Spanish Supreme Court dicta from its decisions in the sugar cartel case may well open the gateway for new private claims in the future.
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Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, 2015, 3, 205–225

The 'Consumer Choice' Paradigm in German Ordoliberalism and its Impact Upon EU Competition Law

This paper explores the origin and the development of the "consumer choice" paradigm as the core concept of German ordoliberal thought which has had a strong impact on EU competition policy and law. Even though it is actually under attack from the welfare economic approach that emphasizes "consumer welfare" instead of "consumer choice", the latter paradigm is still deeply rooted in the jurisprudence of the CJEU.
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Digital markets: New rules for competition law

Many people are concerned about the strong market position of certain individual companies of the digital economy. This paper (editorial) discusses proposals on how to create incentives for quick closure of abuse cases. It also proposes to extend the reach of European merger control. That extension would alow to catch operations between parties that have heretofore shown modest annual turnovers but have a high market potential (as expressed by high sales prices).
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Freedom of Choice - The Emergence of a Powerful Concept in European Competition Law

as the world is looking for a new standard to design and apply rules of competition, one possibility would be to let markets decide what is best for them.
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