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Why Do Sellers (Usually) Prefer Auctions?

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  • Bulow, Jeremy I.
  • Klemperer, Paul

Abstract

We compare the most common methods for selling a company or other asset when participation is costly: a simple simultaneous auction, and a sequential process in which potential buyers decide in turn whether or not to enter the bidding. The sequential process is always more efficient. But pre-emptive bids transfer surplus from the seller to buyers. Because the auction is more conducive to entry - precisely because of its inefficiency - it usually generates higher expected revenue. We also discuss the effects of lock-ups, matching rights, break-up fees (as in takeover battles), entry subsidies, etc.

Suggested Citation

  • Bulow, Jeremy I. & Klemperer, Paul, 2009. "Why Do Sellers (Usually) Prefer Auctions?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7411, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7411
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    Keywords

    Auctions; entry; jump bidding; procurement; sequential sales;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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