Our experts have been retained to advise in some of the largest and most complex merger investigations carried out by national authorities and the European Commission. We have been involved in almost every cross-border European energy merger during the past 15 years. We have also advised in connection with mergers in the communications and financial sectors.
Our deep understanding of regulation makes us well placed to advise in connection with complex merger cases in regulated industries. Our role in these cases is to analyze the potential competitive effects and efficiency improvements of the merger and the impact on market concentration and entry conditions, as well as any proposed remedies, in the context of the European Horizontal and Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines.
We have provided economic analyses in merger cases before the European Commission, the Court of First Instance, and national competition authorities in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
During 2010-2013 a team of Brattle economists advised Nynas AB, a specialty base oils manufacturer, and its legal Counsel, Helström Law and Allen & Overy, throughout the pre-notification, preliminary and in-depth investigation phases of the acquisition of refinery assets operated by Shell Deutschland in Harburg, giving Nynas shares of supply in excess of 70 percent of the relevant market. The team undertook detailed econometric and cost-price analysis aimed at defining product and geographic markets; identifying transaction efficiencies; and developing counterfactual scenarios. The transaction was eventually cleared without remedies by the European Commission on the basis that notwithstanding the high concentration, the acquisition would not lessen competition relative to the counterfactual. The Commission’s decision broke new ground by departing from the strict “failing firm” criteria, finding that in the absence of the transaction As Brattle’s analysis helped demonstrate, blocking the merger would have resulted in a reduction in the quantity of base oils produced in Europe and the narrow geographic definition adopted by the Commission suggested that this would result in higher prices absent the merger.
In 2014, Brattle advised Bord Gais in connection with its sale to Centrica. As part of the transaction, Brattle helped prepare the parties’ submissions to the European Commission and conducted analysis of market definition and competition in the electricity and gas markets in Ireland and the UK.