OECD Competition Open Day 2024

Panel 4. Theories of Harm for Digital Mergers

Mar 6, 2024 | 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

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The perceived underenforcement of digital mergers has been a topic of lively debate in recent years, following growing concerns around the aggressive acquisition strategies of major tech platforms. These have contributed to the rise and expansion of large digital ecosystems through which platforms have extended their reach and influence into markets far beyond their core services. An emerging question in this discussion is whether, due to the unique characteristics of digital markets, traditional theories of harm can comprehensively capture the competitive harms arising from digital mergers. This includes the innovative and dynamic nature of such markets, as well as the role of ecosystems, which blurs the line between competing and complementary products and makes predictions about market outcomes more uncertain. As such, through an exchange with an expert panel, this session considered whether there is a need to further fine-tune traditional theories of harm or even develop new ones that are better suited to assessing mergers in digital markets, and the challenges that this may bring for competition authorities. More information available here: oe.cd/thdm


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