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Merger regulation, firms, and the co-evolutionary process: An empirical study of internationalisation in the UK alcoholic beverages industry 1985-2005


  • Julie Bower
  • Howard Cox


We present an historic industry study of the consolidation of the UK alcoholic beverages firms to inform debates in organisation studies relating to co-evolution and the dynamics of internationalisation. We distinguish behavioural and structural co-evolutionary factors in firms’ strategic intent, mirroring the two types of remedies that competition authorities can impose on merging firms. We test this theoretical construct in an empirical investigation of the consolidating UK alcoholic beverages firms between 1985 and 2005. In this era Diageo was formed from the landmark merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness. Subsequently Diageo acquired the former international spirits empire of Seagram in partnership with a major competitor. Successful implementation of Diageo’s merger strategy owed much to an ability to navigate the evolving multijurisdictional co-ordinated oversight of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. The formation of novel deal structures as well as co-operation with competitors to circumvent policy intervention were significant co-evolutionary mechanisms that have featured more generally in subsequent international mergers as others have copied these deal structures to achieve similar regulatory outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Julie Bower & Howard Cox, 2013. "Merger regulation, firms, and the co-evolutionary process: An empirical study of internationalisation in the UK alcoholic beverages industry 1985-2005," Working Papers 48, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:48

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patrice Bougette & Stéphane Turolla, 2006. "Merger Remedies at the European Commission: A Multinomial Logit Analysis," Post-Print halshs-00466603, HAL.
    2. Huygens, M.W. & Baden-Fuller, C.W.F. & van den Bosch, F.A.J. & Volberda, H.W., 2001. "Coevolution of Firm Capabilities and Industry Competition," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2001-61-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    3. Joseph A. Clougherty, 2004. "Antitrust Holdup Source, Cross-National Institutional Variation, and Corporate Political Strategy Implications for Domestic Mergers in a Global Context," CIG Working Papers SP II 2004-09, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
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    More about this item


    Alcoholic beverages; Co-evolution; Competition policy; Merger regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco

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