NERA supports Red Bull in Turkish Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Investigation

The Situation

The Turkish Competition Authority—the Rekabet Kurumu—investigated the fast-moving consumer goods sector and whether certain vertical restraints (e.g., minimum resale price maintenance) and hub-and-spoke coordination were causing harm to Turkish consumers.

More than 20 companies were involved in the investigation, including 13 suppliers and several of the largest supermarket chains. As a leading supplier of energy drinks, Red Bull was brought into the investigation.  

NERA's Role

Supporting local counsel Erdem & Erdem, NERA prepared a report analyzing the sales of energy drinks across Turkey and exploring how and why grocery firms set prices along the supply chain. The analysis examined how prices varied for different products, retailers, and regions. It also assessed whether alleged conduct by Red Bull was negatively affecting consumers.

The report was submitted to the Rekabet Kurumu. NERA Senior Managing Director Grant Saggers then testified about the report before a panel of senior decisionmakers at public hearings in December 2022. Mr Saggers explained the economic findings and answered questions from the panel. 

The Result

NERA’s economic evidence helped explain why Red Bull’s conduct had not had any of the negative effects alleged in the complaint. The Rekabet Kurumu dropped the vertical restraints complaint against Red Bull, satisfied that there was no evidence of negative effects.

The Rekabet Kurumu ultimately decided to fine the supermarkets and suppliers for concerns about hub-and-spoke coordination in the market. Red Bull received a small administrative fine, the second lowest amongst all the parties.