Wednesday, 02 December 2020

Press Release – International Conference entitled "Common ownership, interlocking directorates & competition”: A Transatlantic Perspective

Subject: International Conference entitled “Common ownership, interlocking directorates & competition: A Transatlantic Perspective”

A number of top Universities and Research Centers abroad, in collaboration with the Journal of Competition Law & Economics (JCLE), are organizing, under the auspices of the Hellenic Competition Commission, an international digital conference on “Common ownership, interlocking directorates & competition: A Transatlantic Perspective”.

The aim of the conference is to discuss, with the contribution of legal and economic experts, as well as policy makers from Europe and US, existing evidence and competition policy implications,in cases where there are joint institutional investors or family funds that are jointly owned by different competing companies or there are interlocking directorates in them, which, without possibly leading to the control of the specific companies, allow the exercise of decisive influence on them, with the possibility of anti-competitive effects.

Joint ownership by institutional investors (or joint family funds) has been the subject of intense debate in the antitrust community in recent years (see here).Portfolio diversification strategies implemented by institutional investors can, in some areas, lead to the consolidation of financial ownership, with potentially anti-competitive effects.One related issue is that of interlocking directorates between competing companies (companies that share corporate board members). While in the US, section 8 of the Clayton Act explicitly prohibits the interlocking directorates between competing companies, in the European Union there is no corresponding prohibition (except in the financial sector of Italy). This cloudy business landscape resulting from joint ownership and interlocking directorates may have an impact on competition.

At the conference the need or not for the competition authorities in Europe and the US to intervene in the above issueswill be discussed by analyzing questions such as:

  • What is the extent of joint ownership and interlocking directorates in the US or Europe?
  • Empirical studies for their impact on competition?
  • To what extent is competition law in the European Union and the United States equipped to deal with potential anti-competitive issues?

At the conference, participants include among others, leading academics from Europe and the US, who have dealt with the issue, the Chairman of the Hellenic Competition Commission, the Chairman of the OECD Competition Commission, the relevant Director-General of the European Competition Commission, the current and former Chief Economist of the European Competition Commission, the Chief Economist of the British Competition Commission and the former Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Competition Issues in the US during the presidency of Barack Obama.

The conference, which will be held in English, is open to the public and interested parties who can watch it through the Live Streaming platform from the website of the HCC at the address: Monday, December, 07, and time 4:00a.m.until 8:00 a.m.. You can read here the program of the Conference.

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