Symposium

Last updated on Apr 05, 2017

Agricultural and Biotech Mergers Symposium

Agricultural and Biotech Mergers: Implications for Antitrust Law and Economics in Innovative Industries

On March 27, 2017, the European Commission cleared the merger of Dow and DuPont, subject to conditions including divestiture of DuPont’s “global R&D organisation.” As the Commission noted:

The Commission had concerns that the merger as notified would have reduced competition on price and choice in a number of markets for existing pesticides. Furthermore, the merger would have reduced innovation. Innovation, both to improve existing products and to develop new active ingredients, is a key element of competition between companies in the pest control industry, where only five players are globally active throughout the entire research & development (R&D) process.

In addition to the traditional focus on price effects, the merger’s presumed effect on innovation loomed large in the EC’s consideration of the Dow/DuPont merger — as it is sure to in its consideration of the other two pending mergers in the agricultural biotech and chemicals industries between Bayer and Monsanto and ChemChina and Syngenta. Innovation effects are sure to take center stage in the US reviews of the mergers, as well.

What is less clear is exactly how antitrust agencies evaluate — and how they should evaluate — mergers like these in rapidly evolving, high-tech industries.

These proposed mergers present a host of fascinating and important issues, many of which go to the core of modern merger enforcement — and antitrust law and economics more generally. Among other things, they raise issues of:

  • The incorporation of innovation effects in antitrust analysis;
  • The relationship between technological and organizational change;
  • The role of non-economic considerations in merger review;
  • The continued relevance (or irrelevance) of the Structure-Conduct-Performance paradigm;
  • Market definition in high-tech markets; and
  • The patent-antitrust interface

This symposium brought together a stellar lineup of scholars to consider these and related issues.

In This Symposium

Announcement: TOTM blog symposium on agricultural and biotech mergers

Truth on the Market is pleased to announce its next blog symposium: Agricultural and Biotech Mergers: Implications for Antitrust Law and Economics in Innovative Industries March 30 & 31, 2017 Earlier this week the European Commission cleared the merger of Dow and DuPont, subject to conditions including divestiture of DuPont’s “global R&D organisation.” As the ... Announcement: TOTM blog symposium on agricultural and biotech mergers

Understanding innovation markets in antitrust analysis [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Joanna Shepherd is Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. Today, three of the largest proposed mergers — Bayer/Monsanto, Dow/Dupont, and ChemChina/Syngenta — face scrutiny in both the U.S. and Europe over concerns that the mergers will slow innovation in crop biotechnology and crop protection.   The incorporation of innovation effects in the antitrust analysis of ... Understanding innovation markets in antitrust analysis [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Contestability theory in the real world [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Levi A. Russell is Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Applied Economics, University of Georgia and a blogger at Farmer Hayek. Though concentration seems to be an increasingly popular metric for discussing antitrust policy (a backward move in my opinion, given the theoretical work by Harold Demsetz and others many years ago in this area), contestability is still ... Contestability theory in the real world [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Patents and mergers [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

How should patents be taken into consideration in merger analysis? When does the combining of patent portfolios lead to anticompetitive concerns? Two principles should guide these inquiries. First, as the Supreme Court held in its 2006 decision Independent Ink, ownership of a patent does not confer market power. This ruling came in the context of ... Patents and mergers [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Innovation trends in agriculture and their implications for M & A analysis [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Michael Sykuta is Associate Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Director, Contracting Organizations Research Institute at the University of Missouri. The US agriculture sector has been experiencing consolidation at all levels for decades, even as the global ag economy has been growing and becoming more diverse. Much of this consolidation has been driven by technological changes ... Innovation trends in agriculture and their implications for M & A analysis [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Effects of gene editing on ag-biotech antitrust [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Levi A. Russell is Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Applied Economics, University of Georgia and a blogger at Farmer Hayek. Commenting on Microsoft’s antitrust suit 18 years ago, Milton Friedman said the following: Your industry, the computer industry, moves so much more rapidly than the legal process, that by the time this suit is over, who knows ... Effects of gene editing on ag-biotech antitrust [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Antitrust review of ag-biotech mergers: Appropriability versus cannibalization

This symposium offers a good opportunity to look again into the complex relation between concentration and innovation in antitrust policy. Whilst the details of the EC decision in Dow/Dupont remain unknown, the press release suggests that the issue of “incentives to innovate” was central to the review. Contrary to what had leaked in the antitrust ... Antitrust review of ag-biotech mergers: Appropriability versus cannibalization

Innovation-driven market structure in the ag-biotech industry [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Geoffrey A. Manne is Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics Dynamic versus static competition Ever since David Teece and coauthors began writing about antitrust and innovation in high-tech industries in the 1980s, we’ve understood that traditional, price-based antitrust analysis is not intrinsically well-suited for assessing merger policy in these markets. For high-tech industries, ... Innovation-driven market structure in the ag-biotech industry [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Innovation as a shield and a club in the agribusiness mergers [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

John E. Lopatka is A. Robert Noll Distinguished Professor of Law at Penn State Law School People need to eat. All else equal, the more food that can be produced from an acre of land, the better off they’ll be. Of course, people want to pay as little as possible for their food to boot. ... Innovation as a shield and a club in the agribusiness mergers [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

Ag-biotech merger symposium wrap-up [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

On Thursday, March 30, Friday March 31, and Monday April 3, Truth on the Market and the International Center for Law and Economics presented a blog symposium — Agricultural and Biotech Mergers: Implications for Antitrust Law and Economics in Innovative Industries — discussing three proposed agricultural/biotech industry mergers awaiting judgment by antitrust authorities around the globe. These proposed ... Ag-biotech merger symposium wrap-up [Ag-Biotech Symposium]

A Brief Assessment of the Procompetitive Effects of Organizational Restructuring in the Ag-Biotech Industry

Today the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) Antitrust and Consumer Protection Research Program released a new white paper by Geoffrey A. Manne and Allen Gibby entitled: A Brief Assessment of the Procompetitive Effects of Organizational Restructuring in the Ag-Biotech Industry Over the past two decades, rapid technological innovation has transformed the industrial organization of the ... A Brief Assessment of the Procompetitive Effects of Organizational Restructuring in the Ag-Biotech Industry