AmEx Shows Small Market Shares Carry Antitrust Risks
By Melissa Lipman (February 19, 2015, 7:40 PM EST) -- The U.S. Department of Justice's victory Thursday over American Express Co. in anti-steering rules litigation offers a compelling example of how even companies with relatively low shares of a sector can have market power under federal antitrust law.
After a seven-week trial, U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis decided that American Express' rules barring merchants from encouraging consumers from using other credit card brands violate antitrust law. He concluded that despite having only 26.4 percent of the relevant market of credit and charge cards, AmEx still had enough market power to thwart competition among different credit card brands with its rules....
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