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The impact of data on EU merger control

Stephen Whitfield, Richard J. Brown and Ingrid Rogers

Keywords: data; big data; tech; mergers; killer acquisitions; Apple; Shazam; Four Vs

There has been an increased focus of the European Commission and numerous national competition authorities on data-related mergers, which also fits more generally in the context of a broader global competition law focus on the ‘FAANGs’ (i.e., Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) and the wider tech sector. This article considers the impact of data on EU merger control and explores the theories of harm and legal frameworks which have been applied and developed in considering data-related competition concerns, in particular the notable developments in the Commission's recent consideration of Apple's acquisition of Shazam. The article considers that the impact of these developments is that data-related mergers should no longer be assessed by reference to traditional economic indicators such as market shares and concentration levels only, but rather also in the context of the broader global competition law focus on big tech.

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