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Predation and mergers: Is merger law counterproductive?

  • Persson, Lars

This Paper shows that predation might help firms overcome the free riding problem of mergers by changing the acquisition situation in the buyer's favour relative to the firms outside the merger. It is also shown that the bidding competition for the prey's assets is most harmful to predators when the use of the prey's assets exerts strong negative externalities on rivals, i.e. when their use severely reduces competitors' profits. The reason is that potential buyers are then willing to pay a high price for the prey in order to prevent other buyers from obtaining the assets. This implies that predators prefer predation technologies that destroy the prey's assets since they limit the negative effects of the subsequent bidding competition for the prey. It is also shown that a restrictive merger policy might be counterproductive, since it might increase the incentives for predation by helping predators avoid the bidding competition. Moreover, the incentive for predation under the US failing firm defence might be strong, since it allows mergers but limits the bidding competition.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 48 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 239-258

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:48:y:2004:i:2:p:239-258
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Dixit, Avinash K, 1986. "Comparative Statics for Oligopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 107-22, February.
  2. Morton I. Kamien & Israel Zang, 1988. "The Limits of Monopolization Through Acquisition," Discussion Papers 802, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Neumann, George R & Nelson, Jon P, 1982. "Safety Regulation and Firm Size: Effects of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 183-99, October.
  4. Garth Saloner, 1987. "Predation, Mergers, and Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 165-186, Summer.
  5. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1984. "Strategic Deterrence of Sequential Entry into an Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 1-11, Spring.
  6. Appelbaum, Elie & Weber, Shlomo, 1992. "A note on the free rider problem in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 473-480, December.
  7. Dan Kovenock & Suddhasatwa Roy, 2005. "Free Riding in Noncooperative Entry Deterrence with Differentiated Products," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 119–137, July.
  8. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
  9. Yamey, B S, 1972. "Predatory Price Cutting: Notes and Comments," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 129-42, April.
  10. Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
  11. Persson, Lars, 1998. "The Auctioning of a Failing Firm," Working Paper Series 514, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  12. Perry, Martin K & Porter, Robert H, 1985. "Oligopoly and the Incentive for Horizontal Merger," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 219-27, March.
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