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Predation and mergers: Is merger law counterproductive?

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  • Persson, Lars

Abstract

This paper studies the interaction between the incentives for predation and mergers. I show that the incentive for predation in an oligopoly is limited by the subsequent competition for the prey. This bidding competition is expecially fierce when the prey's assets exert strong negative externalities on rivals. Firms may therefore prefer to predate to destroy the prey's assets, rather than just its financial viability. The paper also demonstrates that predation may be preferred to an immediate merger for two reasons. First, by predating, firms may share the costs of eliminating a rival and circumvent the free-riding problem associated with mergers, and second, destructive predation helps firms avoid the bidding competition. It is also shown that a restrictive merger policy may be counterproductive, since it may increase the incentives for predation by helping predators avoid the bidding competition. Moreover, the incentive for predation under the US failing firm defense might be even stronger, since it allows mergers bu limits the bidding competition.
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Suggested Citation

  • Persson, Lars, 2004. "Predation and mergers: Is merger law counterproductive?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 239-258, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:48:y:2004:i:2:p:239-258
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Appelbaum, Elie & Weber, Shlomo, 1992. "A note on the free rider problem in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 473-480, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Garth Saloner, 1987. "Predation, Mergers, and Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 165-186, Summer.
    6. 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 107-122, February.
    7. Persson, Lars, 1998. "The Auctioning of a Failing Firm," Working Paper Series 514, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Yamey, B S, 1972. "Predatory Price Cutting: Notes and Comments," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 129-142, April.
    9. Perry, Martin K & Porter, Robert H, 1985. "Oligopoly and the Incentive for Horizontal Merger," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 219-227, March.
    10. Morton I. Kamien & Israel Zang, 1990. "The Limits of Monopolization Through Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 465-499.
    11. 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 183-199, October.
    12. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2005. "Exclusive Dealing, Entry and Mergers," CEPR Discussion Papers 4902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Friberg, Richard & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2008. "Getting a Better Price: Strategic Behaviour before Changes in Ownership of Corporate Assets," Working Paper Series 777, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Fumagalli, Chiara & Motta, Massimo & Persson, Lars, 2007. "On the Anticompetitive Effect of Exclusive Dealing when Entry by Merger is Possible," Working Paper Series 718, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2007. "Globalization and Profitability of Cross-border Mergers & Acquisitions," CEPR Discussion Papers 6102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Ralph M. Braid, 2016. "Potential merger-forcing entry reduces maximum spacing between firms in spatial competition," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(3), pages 653-669, August.
    6. Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2008. "Globalization and profitability of cross-border mergers and acquisitions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 35(2), pages 241-266, May.
    7. Helder Vasconcelos, 2013. "Can the failing firm defence rule be counterproductive?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 567-593, April.
    8. Mason, Robin & Weeds, Helen, 2013. "Merger policy, entry, and entrepreneurship," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 23-38.
    9. Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta & Lars Persson, 2009. "ON THE ANTICOMPETITIVE EFFECT OF EXCLUSIVE DEALING WHEN ENTRY BY MERGER IS POSSIBLE -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 785-811, December.
    10. Miguel González-Maestre & Diego Peñarrubia, 2005. "Innovation, merger policy and technology transfer," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 29(1), pages 181-201, January.
    11. Appelbaum, Elie & Weber, Shlomo, 1992. "A note on the free rider problem in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 473-480, December.
    12. Kumar, Vikram & Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M. & Samkharadze, Lily, 2015. "Buyer resistance for cartel versus merger," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 71-80.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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