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BECCLE Seminar with Thibaud Verge: “Are Platform Price Parity Clauses Necessarily Anticompetitive?”
October 28, 2015, 12:15 - 13:30
In this seminar, Verge will discuss whether Platform Price Parity Clauses are necessarily anticompetitive and assess the theory of harm put forward.
Platform Price Parity Clauses (or platform MFNs) has been widely debated in the past few months. The UK Competition and Markets Authority investigated the possible anticompetitive effects of such clauses (by which a price comparison website (PCW) – the platform – required insurance companies not to offer lower prices on rival platforms or on their own website) and ask PCWs to abandon part of their requirement (moving to “narrow MFNs”). Across Europe, competition authorities have opened investigations against hotel booking platforms owned by Priceline (Booking.com, …) and Expedia (Expedia.com, Hotels.com, …). Last April, national agencies in France, Italy and Sweden accepted commitments offered by Booking.com and last summer, Expedia unilaterally modified the terms of its contracts with hotels.
The theories of harm put forward by the Competition Authorities rely on the crucial assumption that hotels will always “multi-home” (i.e., be active on all platforms) independently of the “price” differential between the platforms. Once this assumption is relaxed, it is no longer obvious that Platforms MFNs will always be anticompetitive as the threat of multi-homing becomes crucial when inter-brand competition (i.e. between suppliers) becomes more intense.
Date and Time: Wednesday 28 October 2015 at 12.15 – 13.30
Location: Auditorium 3, 6th floor, Faculty of Law (JUSI).
The seminar is free and open to the public. Outside guests should use enter through the Faculty of Law’s main entrance.