Addressing High-Stakes Economic Issues
Agency experience

Our consultants and affiliated experts have experience working at or consulting for enforcement and regulatory agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.K. Competition Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and other agencies around the world.

Competition issues

Our staff and experts are at the forefront of using sophisticated econometric demand models and merger simulation tools to analyze the likely competitive effects of a merger and any proposed divestitures. We draw on qualitative and quantitative evidence from multiple sources to provide understandable, coherent, and robust descriptions of relevant geographic and product markets, competitive effects, and other factors.

Real-world evidence

Econometric models reinforced by qualitative evidence such as ordinary course of business documents and fact witness testimony can provide a basis for credible and persuasive expert testimony. Our experts are adept at incorporating such evidence, helping to ensure that their analyses are consistent with industry realities and the way the merging parties think about how their consumers make choices.

Big data and survey analysis

Cornerstone Research staff and experts regularly work with datasets containing billions of records. Clients frequently rely on us to compile large datasets from disparate sources and incompatible formats to address the economic issues that arise in mergers. We also have extensive experience in constructing surveys, analyzing market-based data, and critiquing survey methodologies.

Accounting issues

Our staff and experts with financial statement or accounting expertise can provide valuable input in merger challenges where parties assert efficiency claims or “failing firm” defenses. Such analyses can include assessment of merger specificity and verifiability of claimed efficiencies. Our experts have been asked to assess a target firm’s financial condition, the risk of its key assets leaving the market absent the merger, and whether the firm has made good faith efforts to elicit reasonable alternative offers.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Andrew Sweeting

Professor, Department of Economics,
University of Maryland, College Park;
Former Director, Bureau of Economics,
U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Andrew Sweeting is a former director of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Bureau of Economics. An industrial organization economist, Professor Sweeting specializes in competition and antitrust, including merger analysis, applied econometrics, and structural modeling.

While at the FTC, Professor Sweeting oversaw many merger investigations conducted by the Agency, and was director when the 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines were released. He was also involved in high-profile consumer protection investigations, including several related to digital platforms and data security. In addition to his tenure at the FTC, Professor Sweeting has served as an academic visitor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Economic Analysis Group, and as an expert on the Academic Panel of the U.K. Competition Commission (now the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority).

Global Competition Review recognized Professor Sweeting in its inaugural list of the world’s most important antitrust academics. His wide-ranging research has analyzed the impact of mergers on prices, product variety, and product repositioning. He has also addressed collusion in wholesale electricity markets, the performance of different auction designs, dynamic pricing in online resale markets, and the effects of alternative copyright policies in the radio industry. In addition, he has researched the effect of government bailouts, how targeted advertising affects market structure and competition, and firms’ strategic use of pricing and capacity choices to influence future competition.

Professor Sweeting has conducted empirical research in a range of industries, including radio, television, advertising, consumer packaged goods, energy markets, online resale markets, transportation, and government procurement and timber auctions.

A widely published author, Professor Sweeting’s work has appeared in leading economics journals, such as Econometrica, the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and the RAND Journal of Economics. He has been awarded several multiyear research grants from the National Science Foundation. In 2018, he received the Robert F. Lanzillotti Prize for the best paper in antitrust economics for a coauthored article on post-merger repositioning in the airline industry.

Professor Sweeting is a former editor of the Journal of Industrial Economics and a former foreign editor of the Review of Economic Studies. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

In his more than two decades as an educator, Professor Sweeting has been honored numerous times for excellence in teaching. Before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland, he held positions at Duke University, Northwestern University, and St. Catherine’s College, Oxford.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Nathan Miller

Professor,
McDonough School of Business and Department of Economics,
Georgetown University

Nathan Miller is an antitrust expert who consults on high-stakes merger investigations. His research covers industrial organization, finance, and regulation, with a focus on merger investigations, cartels, tacit coordination, and price discrimination. Professor Miller teaches courses to graduate students on strategic pricing, microeconomics, and firm analysis and strategy. Who’s Who Legal has recognized him as a “definite future leader” in the competition field. Global Competition Review recognized Professor Miller in its inaugural list of the world’s most important antitrust academics.

On behalf of the merging parties, Professor Miller analyzed the competitive effects, including upstream and downstream aspects, in the proposed $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts by Cigna. He has also been retained as an expert witness in merger investigations brought by U.S. and international agencies. Professor Miller’s testimony on behalf of U.S. agencies includes retentions by the Federal Trade Commission to analyze US Foods Inc.’s proposed $1.8 billion acquisition of Services Group of America Inc., as well as Edgewell Personal Care Company’s proposed $1.37 billion acquisition of its competitor, Harry’s Inc.

As a former staff economist for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Professor Miller assessed an array of complex mergers, notably Bazaarvoice/PowerReviews, AT&T/T-Mobile, and Ticketmaster/Live Nation. For analysis related to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, he received the Antitrust Division’s Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Award.

Professor Miller’s research has appeared in journals such as the American Economic ReviewEconometrica, the RAND Journal of Economics, the Journal of Finance, and the Journal of Financial Economics. His 2022 coauthored article on market power trends was awarded the Industrial Organization Society’s Robert F. Lanzillotti Prize for the best paper in antitrust economics. Professor Miller also won the Lanzillotti Prize in 2015 for his paper on coordinated effects.

Georgetown University designated Professor Miller a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor based on excellence in research, teaching, and service. He serves as a senior policy scholar at the Center for Business and Public Policy at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

John Asker

Armen A. Alchian Chair in Economic Theory and Professor of Economics,
University of California, Los Angeles;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

John Asker is a leading expert in antitrust and competition economics. Professor Asker focuses on topics related to antitrust policy, cartel behavior, vertical restraints, auction design, firm-level productivity, industry subsidy effects, and artificial intelligence (AI) pricing mechanisms. He also has experience with issues at the intersection of financial markets and antitrust.

An experienced expert witness, he has provided testimony in numerous high-profile matters. Counsel for Meta retained Professor Asker to assess competitive effects in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) review of Meta’s $1 billion acquisition of Kustomer. He was retained by counsel for SoftBank and Sprint Corporation in the $26 billion T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Professor Asker provided written testimony to the World Trade Organization on behalf of the Canadian government in the U.S.–Canada softwood lumber dispute.

Professor Asker has served as an economic consultant to both federal and state regulatory agencies. In the AT&T/DirecTV merger, he served as an expert for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Department of Justice retained him to evaluate potential competitive effects of the then-proposed merger between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont. He has coauthored several amicus briefs presented before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate courts.

Professor Asker is an editor of the Journal of Political Economy. He has also held editorial positions at the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, the RAND Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Industrial Economics. His research has been published in leading economics journals, including the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review. Who’s Who Legal has named Professor Asker as a leading competition economist, as well as a Thought Leader and Future Leader in the competition field. Global Competition Review recognized him in its inaugural list of the world’s most important antitrust academics.

Professor Asker has taught courses in antitrust policy, industrial organization, and strategy. He also speaks on antitrust topics, including to U.S. federal agencies, and has been a visiting scholar at the FTC’s Bureau of Economics, the Department of Economics at Harvard, and Yale Law School.

Before joining the UCLA faculty, Professor Asker was an associate professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Merger Investigations Capabilities

Before a deal comes before the agencies, we provide merging parties with assessments of antitrust risks and strategies to address potential agency concerns. Consulting while the deal is being structured can help parties avoid costly and disruptive reviews.

For merging parties, it is important to understand the agency’s concerns and educate the agency on how the specific industry or market operates. If an agency is sufficiently concerned about harm to competition at the end of the initial review period to proceed to a second request, Cornerstone Research works with merging parties to respond to agency requests, including assisting with data and document production as well as providing analytical support for expert white papers or presentations to the agency.

Our credibility with the agencies enables us to communicate effectively on behalf of merging parties. We are also frequently retained by the agencies to offer independent opinions about whether a merger raises antitrust concerns.

On behalf of merging parties and U.S. government agencies, Cornerstone Research has supported testifying experts in some of the highest-profile merger review cases in recent years. We have the experience and skills to help counsel seamlessly transition to litigation and meet the compressed deadlines common in merger litigation.

With offices across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Cornerstone Research provides the expertise and capabilities to assist in mergers being reviewed internationally. Our affiliated experts have advised parties in merger proceedings before enforcement bodies throughout the world, including Europe, the United Kingdom, and China.

Failing Firm Defense

Assessing failing firm arguments from both the regulatory and merging parties’ perspectives enables us to provide insight into the rigorous demands of this defense.

Featured Cases

Featured Publications

15 December 2022

Selected Research and Writings of Aviv Nevo

The authors discuss Aviv Nevo’s research on contemporary merger review, as well as his writings on antitrust policy and regulation.

21 October 2022

Public’s M&A Comments Hold Clues for Agency Guidelines

The authors identify key areas of interest in comments that members of the public submitted to the FTC and DOJ.

12 October 2022

Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at the U.S. Antitrust Agencies: FY 2011–FY 2020

This update is the seventh in a series of annual reports that describe merger investigations and enforcement activity at the FTC and DOJ.

22 June 2022

Cornerstone Research Experts in Focus: Craig Malam

Dr. Malam speaks about his experience as an economist advising on merger reviews for both the agencies and merging parties.

8 June 2022

A Look at the Public’s Divergent Views on New Merger Guidelines

The authors synthesize the comments submitted to the agencies’ RFI and outline possible paths forward for merger enforcement.

31 May 2022

Evolving Antitrust Analysis of Hospital Mergers

The authors discuss how differences between patient and insurer perspectives could create "cross-market" effects.

19 May 2022

Intersection of Intellectual Property and Competition Policy in Recent Cases

The authors discuss high-profile cases in the EU and US that concern IP rights and competition policy.

2 May 2022

Craig Malam Joins Cornerstone Research

Respected mergers expert adds international expertise and wide-ranging experience to the firm.

27 April 2022

Cornerstone Research Staff and Affiliated Experts Submit Comments to the Joint FTC-DOJ Inquiry on Merger Enforcement

The FTC and DOJ launched a joint public inquiry to solicit comments from the public on merger enforcement.

24 November 2021

Economic Issues in Merger Analysis for Platforms

The authors use recent enforcement examples to discuss market definition, theory of harm, and efficiencies in merger cases involving platforms.

How can we help you?

For more information or assistance with a specific matter, please contact us.