‘Regulation of online giants is one of the most important policy challenges of our time’

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Regulation is not about constraining tech innovation, but sharing it more widely and increasing competition, says Michael Jary, senior adviser at OC&C Strategy Consultants.

In 2003, the then Competition Commission laid down its landmark ruling on the offers made for Safeway by TescoSainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

Only the latter, of course, was allowed to proceed. In doing so, not only was the shape of the grocery retail market set for the following two decades but the merger principles for the industry were defined in terms of the now-familiar catchment areas, drive times, fascia choice and issues of buyer and supplier power.

Recent outcomes still follow similar principles, albeit with questions as to whether the online channel forms a separate market: JD Sports/Footasylum, no; Sainsbury’s/Asda, surprisingly, yes. 

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