The Commission is about to adopt guidelines on non-horizontal mergers. Though most would admit that these mergers only create problems in limited circumstances, the Commission once again manifests its desire to (i) come up with another set of soft-law prescriptions and (ii) replicate what has been done in the past by the US agencies.
A quick review of the text: besides the coverage of upstream/downstream foreclosure, coordinated effects are for once mentioned as an area of concern when it comes to vertical mergers.
I am more puzzled by the silence of the Commission on the interface between the ECMR and Article 82 EC. If my recollections are good, the Court mentioned in Tetra Laval that the assessment of the risk of conglomerate (and by extension vertical) competitive harm should factor in the fact that Article 82 EC applies ex post to conglomerate and vertical exclusionary conducts.
No doubt stakeholders will flood the Commission with comments. No doubts either that the stakeholder's consultation process will trigger its usual lot of Commission bashing...
The image above is about the AOL/Time Warner merger, a classic example of non-horizontal (vertical) transaction. I found it extremely funny.