Findings that firms have engaged in anticompetitive agreements give rise to some of the highest stakes matters in terms of risks of fines and exposure to damages actions. While this has been the case particularly in relation to horizontal agreements, authorities are increasingly focusing on the potential for vertical agreements to lead to collusion or the softening of competition. Consequently, firms need to carefully consider antitrust risks related to agreements with suppliers and distributors as well as with their rivals.

Where firms are sizeable competitors, with some exceptions such as obviously illegal cartels, the legality of the horizontal and vertical agreements they enter in to turns on the analysis of the agreement’s economic effects. Economic theory and practice have shown clearly that the effects of specific agreements depend on the facts of the market in question and the assessment therefore often requires in-depth economic and empirical analysis.

We address all aspects of the economic assessment, from defining the relevant markets to analyzing whether the agreement may restrict competition in those markets and considering whether efficiencies related to the agreement provide benefits to consumers that more than offset any such restrictions.

Global Senior Team