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The Price of Loyalty: Bundled Discounts and Quasi-Exclusive Discount Structures Willard K. Tom ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting Washington, DC April,

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Presentation on theme: "The Price of Loyalty: Bundled Discounts and Quasi-Exclusive Discount Structures Willard K. Tom ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting Washington, DC April,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Price of Loyalty: Bundled Discounts and Quasi-Exclusive Discount Structures Willard K. Tom ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting Washington, DC April, 2003 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

2 Raising Rivals’ Costs Basics

3 Dominant Firm Excluded Competitor Customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C Exclusive Dealing to Raise Rivals’ Costs

4 Tying to Raise Rivals’ Costs Good 1Good 2 Seller Buyer Bundle Excluded Competitor Good 2

5 Some Exclusive Dealing Stories Require Distribution Entry Barriers Dominant Firm Excluded competitor customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C Entry Barriers Block Use of New Distributors

6 Barriers Not Absolute/ Raise Cost of Distribution Dominant Firm Excluded competitor customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C More Expensive Distributor D

7 Types of Cost-Raising that Might Confer Power Over Price n Raise Cost of Distribution n Deprive Rival of Economies of Scale n Damage Rival’s Brand (goods with network characteristics) n Prevent Ubiquitous Distribution Needed for Advertising, Promotion, or Complements

8 Tying Stories May NotRequire Distribution Entry Barriers Tying Stories May Not Require Distribution Entry Barriers Good 1Good 2 Seller Buyer Bundle Excluded Competitor Good 2

9 Exclusive Dealing and Tying Through Pricing Structures

10 Loyalty Discounts to Raise Rivals’ Costs n First six units: $115 n After seven units: $108, starting from first unit

11 $115 $108 $ Loyalty Discounts to Raise Rivals’ Costs, cont’d

12 Bundled Discounts: LePage’s v. 3M ACDAEB Buyer F

13 What En Banc Decision Settles n Plaintiff in bundled discount case need not show that monopolist priced below cost. n Plaintiff need not show that the excluded competitor was equally efficient.

14 What En Banc Decision Doesn’t Settle n If it is lawful to beat LePage’s price by very low but above-cost pricing, why should economically equivalent conduct be unlawful? u Robinson-Patman 2(c), (d), (e)?

15 What En Banc Decision Doesn’t Settle, cont’d n Presumably this is at most a presumption. How does one rebut? u What if defendant had showed that the price even with all of the discounts allocated to one product was above cost? u Consumers better off allowing conduct: F Monopolist more efficient. F Barriers to re-entry or new entry low. F Should intention not to kill product be relevant?

16 What En Banc Decision Doesn’t Settle, cont’d n What constitutes a procompetitive justification? u Transaction cost efficiencies in bundling rather than having a separate discount program for 20,000 products? u Is lowering own cost a justification for raising a rival’s?

17 JURY

18 The Price of Loyalty: Bundled Discounts and Quasi-Exclusive Discount Structures Willard K. Tom ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting Washington, DC April, 2003 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP


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