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:
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
Dominant Firm Excluded Competitor Customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C Exclusive Dealing to Raise Rivals’ Costs
Tying to Raise Rivals’ Costs Good 1Good 2 Seller Buyer Bundle Excluded Competitor Good 2
Some Exclusive Dealing Stories Require Distribution Entry Barriers Dominant Firm Excluded competitor customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C Entry Barriers Block Use of New Distributors
Barriers Not Absolute/ Raise Cost of Distribution Dominant Firm Excluded competitor customers Distributor ADistributor BDistributor C More Expensive Distributor D
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
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
Exclusive Dealing and Tying Through Pricing Structures
Loyalty Discounts to Raise Rivals’ Costs n First six units: $115 n After seven units: $108, starting from first unit
Bundled Discounts: LePage’s v. 3M ACDAEB Buyer F
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.
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)?
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?
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?