The Achilles Heel To Newspaper Mergers: Product Market Definition

By Veronica Roberts & Alex White – 

The newspaper industry has been suffering serious structural decline for more than a decade, due to ever increasing competition from online and other sources of media. But attempts to rationalize costs in the industry through consolidation have often been stymied by competition authorities’ reluctance to widen traditional product market definitions to take account of new competitive constraints. Considering recent cases in the UK, as well as other jurisdictions, this article shows that competition authorities have all too often taken an overly cautious and formalistic approach focused on static, short term assessments. A more pragmatic and dynamic approach that places greater weight on reasonably foreseeable market developments is long overdue.