Collective dominance and oligopolies
Produced in partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills
Collective dominance and oligopolies

The following Competition guidance note Produced in partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Collective dominance and oligopolies
  • Collective dominance and Article 102 TFEU
  • Merger control
  • UK market investigations

Competition concerns relating to collective dominance and oligopolies may be dealt with in various ways under EU and UK competition laws:

  1. Article 101 TFEU or the Chapter I Prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (UK)

  2. under Article 102 TFEU or the Chapter II Prohibition of the Competition Act 1998

  3. under the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR), or

  4. in the UK, as part of market investigations carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The below addresses collective dominance and oligopoly issues outside of Article 101 TFEU.

The concept of collective dominance has been developed through case law relating to Article 102 TFEU and the EUMR. The case law suggests that this concept is the same under the two regulatory instruments, however there are important differences between the analysis in each context.

Collective dominance and Article 102 TFEU

Article 102 TFEU prohibits abuses by one or more undertakings of a dominant position (see further, The prohibition on abuse of dominance).

EU case law has established that Article 102 TFEU extends to abuses of a dominant position held collectively by multiple undertakings that may not separately hold a dominant position.

In order for there to be an abuse of collective dominance in breach of Article 102 TFEU, it needs to be established that:

  1. a collective position is held between separate undertakings

  2. that collective position is one

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