EU competition law and joint purchasing agreements
Produced in partnership with K&L Gates
EU competition law and joint purchasing agreements

The following Competition practice note produced in partnership with K&L Gates provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • EU competition law and joint purchasing agreements
  • What is a joint purchasing agreement?
  • Competition concerns
  • Framework for assessing joint purchasing agreements
  • Application of specific assessment criteria under Horizontal Guidelines
  • Assessment under Article 101(1) TFEU
  • Assessment under Article 101(3)TFEU

EU competition law and joint purchasing agreements

Joint purchasing agreements are agreements under which two or more companies (and indeed, often a significant number of companies) agree to jointly purchase all or part of their product requirements. Joint purchasing agreements can give rise to significant benefits for consumers and markets. For example, they may create cost savings (such as lower purchase prices or reduced transaction, transportation and storage costs) because of the parties’ increased buying power and economies of scale, which can in turn be passed on to customers. They can also give rise to qualitative benefits, such as by leading suppliers to innovate and introduce new or improved products on the markets.

However, joint purchasing agreements can in certain circumstances give rise to serious competition law concerns, in particular where the parties have a significant degree of market power. Accordingly, it is crucial that any joint purchasing arrangement be carefully assessed to ensure that the desired benefits are achieved whilst avoiding EU competition law exposure.

What is a joint purchasing agreement?

A joint purchasing agreement involves any arrangement under which two or more parties agree to jointly source products, whether these are components to be used by each party in the manufacture of other products or products for resale in their existing form.

Joint purchasing can be carried out by a jointly controlled company, by a company in

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