Thursday, April 07, 2011

UK - NCA has published guidance on consumer surveys for merger inquiries

[oft] The Competition Commission (CC) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today published guidance setting out good practice principles for the design and presentation of consumer survey research in merger inquiries.

The guidance is designed to assist companies and their advisors wishing to submit research evidence to the two authorities during merger inquiries, and is likely to be of particular interest to legal firms, management consultancies, economic consultancies and market research agencies.

Merger survey evidence submitted as part of merger inquiries is often used to help the authorities define markets or assess the closeness of competition between firms.

The guidance sets out that, in order to be given the greatest evidential weight, consumer survey results should:

test clearly-stated hypotheses
be representative of the relevant consumer population
deploy sound social research methods
be reported in full, with supporting data available to allow key results to be replicated and tested.
The publication also includes detailed illustrations and examples of good and poor practice drawn from recent experience in OFT and CC investigations.

Steve Brown, OFT Head of Statistics said:

'The assessment of evidence submitted by parties is a key component of our mergers decision-making process. By publishing this new guidance, we are responding to the demands of professional advisors and researchers for more transparency.'

Marcia Stephens, Senior Statistician at the Competition Commission said:

'We're pleased to have worked with the OFT to produce this good practice note, which demonstrates our transparent approach to working and will give parties valuable guidance on how their survey evidence can be as effective as possible.'

OFT and Competition Commission jointly publish guidance on good practice in merger surveys

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