The EU’s Bass Ackward Approach to Evaluating Mergers

As American antitrust regulators hurtle headlong toward a Europeanized (i.e., competitor-focused) antitrust, I do hope they will at least avoid the tack the EU has taken in evaluating Lufthansa’s proposed takeover of Austrian Airlines. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that EU Antitrust Chief Neelie Kroes has directed her subordinates to draft a “conditional clearance” that approves the merger subject to Lufthansa’s surrender of a number of routes. Lufthansa offered to give up those routes “in response to the concerns raised by competitors,” the Journal reports. It also reports that EU regulators enlisted the assistance of Lufthansa’s competitors in fashioning the conditions to merger approval…

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