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Product-bundling and Incentives for Merger and Strategic Alliance

This paper analyzes firms' choice between a merger and a strategic alliance in bundling their product with other complementary products. We consider a framework in which firms can improve profits only from product-bundling. While mixed bundling is not profitable, pure bundling is because pure bundling reduces consumers' choices, and thus softens competition among firms. Firms benefit the most from this reduced competition if they form an alliance. Firms do not gain as much from a merger because, internalizing the complementarity between the two products, a merged firm is inclined to pursue aggressive pricing to gain market share. Yet, firms may be motivated to choose a merger over an alliance because of foreclosure possibility as foreclosure is not possible under strategic alliance. However, in response, unmerged rivals can use a strategic alliance to avert foreclosure. Hence, the possibility of counter-bundling via strategic alliance by rivals reduces the incentives for merger. In equilibrium, bundling is offered only through strategic alliances.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) in its series Emory Economics with number 0907.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:0907
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  1. DeGraba, Patrick, 1994. "No Lease is Short Enough to Solve the Time Inconsistency Problem," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 361-74, December.
  2. Seidmann, Daniel J, 1991. "Bundling as a Facilitating Device: A Reinterpretation of Leverage Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 491-99, November.
  3. Peitz, Martin, 2008. "Bundling may blockade entry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 41-58, January.
  4. Vaubourg, Anne-Gael, 2006. "Differentiation and discrimination in a duopoly with two bundles," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 753-762, July.
  5. Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," NBER Working Papers 2995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Barry Nalebuff, 2004. "Bundling as an Entry Barrier," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 159-187, February.
  7. Chen, Yongmin, 1997. "Equilibrium Product Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(1), pages 85-103, January.
  8. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Whinston, Michael D, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-83, May.
  9. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King, 2006. "PAYING FOR LOYALTY: PRODUCT BUNDLING IN OLIGOPOLY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 43-62, 03.
  10. Choi, Jay Pil & Stefanadis, Christodoulos, 2001. "Tying, Investment, and the Dynamic Leverage Theory," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 52-71, Spring.
  11. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre, 1992. "Compatibility and Bundling of Complementary Goods in a Duopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 37-54, March.
  12. Denicolo, Vincenzo, 2000. "Compatibility and Bundling with Generalist and Specialist Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 177-88, June.
  13. Carbajo, Jose & de Meza, David & Seidmann, Daniel J, 1990. "A Strategic Motivation for Commodity Bundling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 283-98, March.
  14. Armstrong, Mark, 2006. "Price discrimination," MPRA Paper 4693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Jay Pil Choi, 2008. "MERGERS WITH BUNDLING IN COMPLEMENTARY MARKETS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 553-577, 09.
  16. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
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