Price parity clauses and digital platforms: The rocky path to much needed clarity

Click here to read the full article online

Price parity clauses enable platforms to require that suppliers do not offer lower prices or better terms on other platforms or on their own websites. They have been a focus of antitrust enforcement in arrangements between companies at different levels of the supply chain (vertical agreements) over the past decade. National Competition Authorities across the EU and beyond have taken different and, in some cases, directly divergent approaches to their assessment. This has generated significant uncertainty for businesses.

In the UK, the Competition & Markets Authority recently issued its first significant fine in relation to price parity clauses. This came at a time when reforms to make the vertical competition rules “fit for the digital age” are being proposed both in the EU and the UK. So where do we stand nearly a decade on from the first investigations into price parity clauses being opened?