Entry by Takeover: Auctions vs. Negotiations
We compare two mechanisms through which a potential entrant can take over an incumbent in a market with asymmetric firms: auctions (where other incumbents can bid for the target) and bilateral negotiations between the entrant and the target. The entrant’s choice of target depends on the mechanism, and it may not maximize ex-post profit or consumer welfare. In an auction, the entrant pays a higher price to take over a target with higher synergies, because they impose stronger negative externalities on incumbents and increase their willingness to pay for preventing entry. This provides a new rationale for takeover premia. Auctions increase the price obtained by the target, but reduce welfare compared to negotiation because they may discourage the entrant from acquiring a target with higher synergies.
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