Mergers and Acquisitions
We provide practical support to navigate the merger review process from the planning stages and initial discussions to final clearance and contribute to the entire range of issues raised in these cases:
- market delineation,
- coordinated effects,
- non-coordinated effects,
- vertical and conglomerate effects,
- merger-specific efficiencies,
- pass-on to final consumers, and
- design of remedy packages.
Our team has participated in many proceedings before the European Commission and national competition authorities and is experienced in economic theory, empirical analysis, and data science. This allows us to carefully assess theories of harm, which often requires the analysis of vast volumes of data as well as the application of cutting-edge economic theory. Our experience in processing large volumes of data efficiently further helps minimise the burden on internal teams.
Mergers in regulated sectors are also likely to draw attention from competition authorities, which often require complex remedies packages. By combining our strength in competition analysis with our detailed knowledge of a broad range of regulated industries, we help clients address the competitive concerns of regulators.
Cartels and Horizontal Agreements
Economics can play a key role in identifying whether practices distort competition. Even in cartel cases, economic evaluations can contribute to the assessment of the effectiveness of a cartel which in turn adds to potential settlement negotiations.
Analyses prepared by our team have been deployed in various such cases and we can further assist clients with contract design and risk assessment, as well as in formal proceedings before competition authorities and courts.
Generally, such investigations involve quantitative analyses defining counterfactual scenarios that can be considered relevant benchmarks against which actual market outcomes are compared. These techniques, however, cannot be applied independently of a qualitative analysis, considering factors such as product differentiation, capacity constraints, buyer power or demand elasticities.
Practices such as agreements between producers and distributors, are addressed by most competition authorities under an effects-based approach. Their appraisal requires one to construct a ‘theory of the case’, often with reference to state-of-the-art theoretical models. In doing so, we ensure that theories are applied with enough attention given to the most minute details of the market context and the practices at stake.
Vertical agreements can generate significant efficiency benefits by addressing free-rider issues and internalising externalities across the supply chain. Our economists’ experience in a wide range of sectors can help distinguish between pro- and anticompetitive conduct.
Abuse of Dominance
With the advent of a more effects-based approach to unilateral conduct, many practices once considered illicit per se are now assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a result, economics has moved to the forefront.
If a business has acquired a dominant position in a market, it may face special restrictions to ensure that it does not abuse its position. The assessment of a unilateral practice requires one to check whether the facts of the case fit some precisely articulated theory of harm, and in particular whether harm to consumers is probable. Our approach to unilateral conduct cases therefore combines state-of-the-art economic theory with careful empirical analysis.
Our team has been involved in several European and national abuse of dominance cases concerning matters such as refusal to supply, price discrimination, predation, excessive pricing, and raising of barriers to entry.
Litigation and Damages
At the impetus of the European Commission, damage actions following competition proceedings have become more common and our expert reports and testimonies have been regularly used in litigation proceedings before specialists and general courts. These proceedings involve claimed or decided breaches of contracts or competition law, settlements and arbitration cases.
Our experience in economics and data science helps ensure a strong performance when working on such cases, in particular in following domains:
- Establishing liability and causation, which involves the rigorous characterization of counterfactual situations that constitute the benchmark against which actual market outcomes are compared.
- Quantification of damages caused complex empirical strategies
- Assisting our clients throughout these processes by producing expert reports and giving oral testimony in court
Hexagon economists have worked with companies on a wide range of competition issues in regulated industries, particularly in the telecommunication and energy sector including allegations of price discrimination, bundling, discounting, margin squeezes and pricing issues.
The recent process of modernization of State aid control has resulted in a greater role for economic analysis. In accordance with this evolution, we provide relevant analyses regarding:
- the Market Economy Investor Principle;
- the market failures that might justify an aid;
- the incentive effect of the aid and its proportionality;
- the risk of competition distortions.
Hexagon has assisted a number of firms and assessed some high-profile government interventions across a range of sectors in the area of State aid, including the financial sector.
Sector inquires generally involve a thorough economic assessment of how competition is functioning in a client’s business environment. We have helped several clients from various sectors and across numerous jurisdictions with these investigations, translating their competitive reality into the economic framework used by competition authorities and providing support in the often arduous process of responding to authority requests for information and analysis.