Steven C. Salop
Georgetown University Law Center
Daniel P Culley
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
December 8, 2014
The purpose of this short article is to aid practitioners in analyzing the competitive effects of vertical and complementary product mergers. It is also intended to assist the agencies if and when they undertake revision of the 1984 U.S. Vertical Merger Guidelines. Those Guidelines are out of date and do not reflect current enforcement or economic thinking about the potential competitive effects of vertical mergers. Nor do they provide the tools needed to carry out a modern competitive effects analysis. This article is intended to partially fill the gap by summarizing the various potential competitive harms and benefits that can occur in vertical mergers and the types of economic and factual analysis of competitive effects that can be applied to those mergers during the HSR review process. The analysis in the article also identifies several legal and policy issues that the agencies would consider when they undertake the process of revising the Vertical Merger Guidelines. The Appendix contains a listing and summary of the vertical merger cases challenged by the DOJ and FTC since 1994.