CMA publishes E.CA’s ex post evaluation of vertical mergers
On 14 April 2022, the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published E.CA Economics’ ex post evaluation of its approach to vertical mergers. The CMA retained us to look at four recent mergers with a vertical component and evaluate whether CMA’s assessment was reasonable and correct. We also reviewed the current thinking on vertical mergers to help the CMA learn from the latest developments.
We found that the CMA carried out, on the whole, high quality analysis with only a small number of analytical choices we would not have made. The CMA appeared more lenient to vertical mergers than horizontal mergers, perhaps more than would be justified, although we did not conclude the CMA should have blocked any of the mergers we studied in detail. We also found that the CMA would need to continue to evolve its toolkit to capture accurately the complexities that vertical mergers bring, including making potentially uncomfortable decisions in the platform markets space.