August 09, 2019
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On June 25, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision by Justice Thomas, held that provisions in American Express Company’s contracts with merchants that restricted the ability of these merchants to steer customers to other credit or charge cards did not violate the Sherman Act. Ohio v. American Express Co., 138 S. Ct. 2274, 2280 (2018). In doing so, the Court recognized the importance of examining the effects on an alleged restraint on both sides of a two-sided platform market.
This ruling has important implications for antitrust analysis, not only for the credit card industry, but for other industries that operate in two-sided, or even multi-sided platform markets where firms must compete simultaneously for different groups of customers whose demands are distinct but interrelated.