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Antitrust and Trade Regulation

2018

Incipiency

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

An important purpose of the antitrust merger law is to arrest certain anticompetitive practices or outcomes in their “incipiency.” Many Clayton Act decisions involving both mergers and other practices had recognized the idea as early as the 1920s. In Brown Shoe the Supreme Court doubled down on the idea, attributing to Congress a concern about a “rising tide of economic concentration” that must be halted “at its outset and before it gathered momentum.” The Supreme Court did not explain why an incipiency test was needed to address this particular problem. Once structural thresholds for identifying problematic mergers are identified there …


The Merger Incipiency Doctrine And The Importance Of "Redundant" Competitors, Peter C. Carstensen, Robert H. Lande Jan 2018

The Merger Incipiency Doctrine And The Importance Of "Redundant" Competitors, Peter C. Carstensen, Robert H. Lande

All Faculty Scholarship

The enforcers and the courts have not implemented the merger incipiency doctrine in the vigorous manner Congress intended. We believe one important reason for this failure is that, until now, the logic underlying this doctrine has never been explained. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that markets’ need for “protective redundancy” explains the incipiency policy. We are writing this article in the hope that this will cause the enforcers and courts to implement significantly more stringent merger enforcement.

To vastly oversimplify, the current enforcement approach assumes that if N significant competitors are necessary for competition, N-1 competitors could …