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THE GE/HONEYWELL JUDGMENT AND THE ASSESSMENT OF CONGLOMERATE EFFECTS: WHAT'S NEW IN EC PRACTICE?

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Abstract:

This article reviews the CFI's analysis of the Commission's theory of conglomerate harm in GE/Honeywell. It also considers the extent to which its judgment in General Electric sheds new light on the Commission's practice in cases involving conglomerate mergers following the CFI's and ECJ's respective judgments in Tetra Laval. The CFI heavily criticised the Commission for failing to establish that a merged GE/Honeywell would have engaged in bundling practices. Nonetheless, the CFI provided a roadmap for the Commission to follow when assessing conglomerate mergers in the future. The article explains that General Electric, like, Tetra Laval, establishes a workable, effects-based analytical framework for assessing conglomerate mergers. This analytical framework suggests that conglomerate mergers seldom raise competition concerns and that, as a result, Commission intervention should be rare. The article also explains that the CFI's judgment does not provide a detailed examination of foreclosure effects and that, as a result, it remains unclear what evidence is required to prove conglomerate harm. The article concludes by encouraging the Commission to adopt an effects-based approach when assessing future conglomerate mergers, rather than the case-by-case approach favoured by some competition law analysts.

Keywords: Bundling; Conglomerate; Foreclosure; General Electric; Harm; Honeywell; Merger; Tetra Laval; Tying

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • This scholarly, peer-reviewed publication of original articles and analysis of current developments in competition law is designed to complement and augment the existing literature with a special focus on European developments. Topics include:
    • Vertical and Conglomerate Mergers
    • Enlargement of the Union - the ramifications for Competition Policy
    • Unilateral and Coordinated Effects in Merger Control
    • Modernisation of European Competition law
    • Cartels and Leniency
    • Article 82- restatement or evolution?
hart/ecj/2006/00000002/00000001/art00007
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