European Court Raises the EC’s Bar for Mergers in Concentrated Markets

July 6, 2020

In a landmark Judgment delivered on May 28, the General Court overturned the European Commission’s 2016 prohibition of the Three/O2 UK mobile telecommunications merger.

The Judgment raises the bar for the Commission in respect of (1) the legal standard the Commission must meet; (2) the closeness of competition between merging parties required to challenge a merger on a unilateral effects theory of harm; and (3) how the Commission must account for efficiencies in quantitative modelling. Although certain of the Court’s findings are specific to the underlying transaction, the Judgment is likely to have important implications for European merger control beyond the telecommunications sector.

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