Post-merger time series analysis: Iron ore mining
In Brazil, mergers and acquisitions are usually analyzed by the antitrust authorities ex post, following a Structure-Conduct-Performance approach close to the US Merger Guidelines. However, this framework was unable to address the complexity posed by a series of acquisitions of four mining companies by the newly privatized national champion Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (known then as CVRD, nowadays as Vale). This article extends a Vector Error Correction model estimated by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, which eventually came to reinforce the definition of the relevant geographic market and to test for structural breaks in the price series. A formal horizontal merger simulation model was not viable from the available data. Though international prices Granger-caused domestic prices in Brazil, they explain less than a third of the variance. Domestic price hikes in the acquired miners' series were observed above the export price increase not long after the acquisitions, and a structural break could not be rejected. Since convergence of domestic prices to international levels were not to be punished, remedies eventually applied by the Brazilian Antitrust Tribunal focused on preventing CVRD from abusing dominant position to vertically foreclose competitors in logistics, a key competitive issue for the industry.
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