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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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2734.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2734
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  1. 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.
  2. Persson, Lars, 1998. "The Auctioning of a Failing Firm," Working Paper Series 514, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Morton I. Kamien & Israel Zang, 1987. "The Limits of Monopolization Through Acquisition," Discussion Papers 754, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Garth Saloner, 1987. "Predation, Mergers, and Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 165-186, Summer.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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 183-99, October.
  12. Appelbaum, Elie & Weber, Shlomo, 1992. "A note on the free rider problem in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 473-480, December.
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