Earlier this month the UK's Digital Competition Expert Panel issued its report on changes to the UK competition regime (the "Furman Report"). The Furman Report is one of growing number of reviews into the functioning of "digital" markets with its publication also almost immediately preceding the European Commission's announcement of EUR1 billion plus fine in the long-running AdSense investigation.
While the Panel's conclusions on potential concerns in digital markets largely accord with the views increasingly expressed by other antitrust regulators, the Panel has put forward more novel recommendations that would mark a significant change in UK competition policy if implemented. In particular, the proposal for greater use of interim measures in "dominance" investigations could result in greater rates of early intervention aimed at constraining firms' behavior before regulators have established whether there is a case to answer. Likewise, the Panel's recommendations for a more "forward-looking" approach to digital mergers raise the prospect of greater regulatory intervention rates in transactions with the Report referring to the need for "updated legislation clarifying the standards for blocking or conditioning a merger".
Certainly a space worth watching as the proposals potentially move towards the statute book.
Unlocking Digital Competition: Report of the Digital Competition Expert Panel (the "Furman" Report).