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Shelving or Developing? The Acquisition of Potential Competitors under Financial Constraints

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  • Chiara Fumagalli
  • Massimo Motta
  • Emanuele Tarantino

Abstract

We analyse the optimal policy of an antitrust authority towards the acquisitions of potential competitors in a model with financial constraints. With respect to traditional mergers, these acquisitions trigger a new trade-off. On the one hand, the acquirer may decide to shelve the project of the potential entrant. On the other hand, the acquisition may allow for the development of a project that would otherwise never reach the market. We first show that a merger policy does not need to be lenient towards acquisitions of potential competitors to take advantage of their pro-competitive effects on project development. This purpose is achieved by a policy that pushes the incumbent towards the acquisition of the potential entrants that lack the financial resources to develop the project. To this end, the implementation of this policy can be contingent to the bid formulated by the acquirer. However, we also show that, if the anticipation of a takeover relaxes the target firm's financial constraints, a more lenient merger policy, which allows for the acquisition of firms that have already committed to enter the market, may be optimal.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiara Fumagalli & Massimo Motta & Emanuele Tarantino, 2020. "Shelving or Developing? The Acquisition of Potential Competitors under Financial Constraints," Working Papers 1197, Barcelona School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:1197
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Motta, Massimo & Peitz, Martin, 2021. "Big tech mergers," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    2. Vaziri, M., 2022. "Antitrust Law and Business Dynamism," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2243, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    3. Geoffrey Parker & Georgios Petropoulos & Marshall Van Alstyne, 2021. "Platform mergers and antitrust [Ex-post assessment of merger control decisions in digital markets]," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 30(5), pages 1307-1336.
    4. Brunner, Philipp & Letina, Igor & Schmutzler, Armin, 2024. "Research joint ventures: The role of financial constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    5. Esmée Dijk & José Luis Moraga-González & Evgenia Motchenkova, 2023. "Start-up Acquisitions and the Entrant’s and Incumbent’s Innovation Portfolios," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 23-047/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Igor Letina & Armin Schmutzler & Regina Seibel, 2024. "Killer Acquisitions And Beyond: Policy Effects On Innovation Strategies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 65(2), pages 591-622, May.
    7. Gilbert, Richard J. & Katz, Michael L., 2022. "Dynamic merger policy and pre-merger product choice by an entrant," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    8. Christian Fons-Rosen & Pau Roldan-Blanco & Tom Schmitz, 2022. "The Effects of Startup Acquisitions on Innovation and Economic Growth," Working Papers 944, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    9. Jean-Michel Benkert, Igor Letina, Shuo Liu, 2023. "Startup Acquisitions: Acquihires and Talent Hoarding," Diskussionsschriften dp2309, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    10. Klaus Gugler & Florian Szücs & Ulrich Wohak, 2023. "Start-up Acquisitions, Venture Capital and Innovation: A Comparative Study of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp340, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    11. Laureen de Barsy & Axel Gautier, 2024. "Big Tech Acquisitions and Innovation: An Empirical Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 11025, CESifo.
    12. Iñigo Herguera, 2021. "Competencia y regulación de (algunas) plataformas digitales en la UE," Working Papers 2021-10, FEDEA.
    13. Haucap, Justus & Stiebale, Joel, 2023. "Non-price effects of mergers and acquisitions," DICE Discussion Papers 402, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    14. Lefouili, Yassine & Madio, Leonardo, 2023. "Market Structure and Investments : A Progress Report," TSE Working Papers 23-1491, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Mar 2024.
    15. Pauline Affeldt & Reinhold Kesler, 2021. "Competitors’ Reactions to Big Tech Acquisitions: Evidence from Mobile Apps," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1987, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    16. Prado, Tiago S. & Bauer, Johannes M., 2022. "Big Tech platform acquisitions of start-ups and venture capital funding for innovation," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    17. Geoffrey Parker & Georgios Petropoulos & Marshall Van Alstyne, 2021. "Platform mergers and antitrust," Working Papers 43276, Bruegel.
    18. Jean-Michel Benkert & Igor Letina & Shuo Liu, 2023. "Startup Acquisitions: Acquihires and Talent Hoarding," Papers 2308.10046, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2024.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    merger policy; digital markets; potential competition; conglomerate mergers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law

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