Buyer power enables a single buyer, or a group of buyers, to influence or dictate the terms of trade with upstream suppliers. This power may stem from strategic advantages enjoyed by the purchaser. Alternatively, it may derive from the attainment of a dominant or collective dominant position on the input market. 

Powerful buyers are capable of obtaining favourable commercial terms and extract greater value from the upstream suppliers. Such power, and the subsequent reduction in input costs, may lead to reduction in price to consumers and increase consumer welfare. This is often facilitated by economies of scale and efficiencies in distribution. These efficiencies, and the greater values extracted from the upstream suppliers may often benefits consumers and enhance consumer welfare. Yet at times, buyer power may have adverse effects on welfare. Powerful buyers may refrain from passing savings to consumers, increase the output price, distort competition upstream and abuse their market power. 

The assessment of the welfare effects generated by buyer power is often challenging. It depends on the nature of buyer power, being monopsony or bargaining power, and the market characteristics. It requires careful balancing between short, mid, and long term welfare effects.

The one day event will bring together leading academics, practitioners and competition officials to discuss questions of policy, economics and law. The discussion will focus on the treatment of buyer power in merger analysis, the dividing line between buying alliances and buyer cartels, and the possible abuse of buyer power. The effects of buyer power in the retail and agricultural sectors will also be explored.


Speakers and topics include:

Claes Bengtsson, European Commission - Buyer Power - An Enforcer Perspective 

Laura Phaff, Office of Fair Trading - Purchasing Agreements

Ulf Bernitz, Oxford IECL - Buyer Power

Peter Carstensen, University of Wisconsin Law School - Controlling the Abuse of Unilateral Buyer Power

Cristina Caffarra, CRA - Benchmarks for Assessment

Ariel Ezrachi, Oxford CCLP - Buying Alliances and Input Price Fixing

Lars Henriksson, Stockholm School of Economics - Countervailing Buyer Power

Matthew Johnson, OXERA - Buyer Power and Retail Competition

Jack Kirckwood, Seattle University School of Law - Powerful Buyers and Merger Enforcement

Birgit Krueger, Bundeskartellamt - Buying Alliances in the Food Retail Sector

Andrew McCarthy, British Brands - Buying Power and the Retail Sector

Michael Rowe, Slaughter and May - FMCG Mergers

Howard Smith, Oxford University - Buyer Power in the Brick Manufacturing Market

Maurice E. Stucke, University of Tennessee - Buyer Power and Behavioural Economics

John Thanassoulis, Oxford University - Buyer Power in the Brick Manufacturing Market

Bob Young, Europe Economics - Market Trends and Buyer Power


For the full Programme see link below

The cost of the conference is £50 which includes a registration fee, lunch, refreshments and all conference materials. To register and pay please click here.


This conference is accredited with 6 CPD hours by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.