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How Effective is European Merger Control?

  • Duso, Thomas
  • Gugler, Klaus
  • Yurtoglu, Burcin B.

This paper applies an intuitive approach based on stock market data to a unique dataset of large concentrations during the period 1990-2002 to assess the effectiveness of European merger control. The basic idea is to relate announcement and decision abnormal returns. Under a set of four maintained assumptions, merger control might be interpreted to be effective if rents accruing due to the increased market power observed around the merger announcement are reversed by the antitrust decision, i.e. if there is a negative relation between announcement and decision abnormal returns. To clearly identify the events’ competitive effects, we explicitly control for the market expectation about the outcome of the merger control procedure and run several robustness checks to assess the role of our maintained assumptions. We find that only outright prohibitions completely reverse the rents measured around a merger’s announcement. On average, remedies seem to be only partially capable of reverting announcement abnormal returns. Yet they seem to be more effective when applied during the first rather than the second investigation phase and in subsamples where our assumptions are more likely to hold. Moreover, the European Commission appears to learn over time.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 354.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:354
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  1. Tomaso Duso & Damien J. Neven & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2002. "The Political Economy of European Merger Control: Evidence using Stock Market Data," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-34, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  2. Bruce R. Lyons, 2004. "Reform of European Merger Policy," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 246-261, 05.
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  6. Stillman, Robert, 1983. "Examining antitrust policy towards horizontal mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 225-240, April.
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  15. Brady, Una & M. Feinberg, Robert, 2000. "An examination of stock-price effects of EU merger control policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 885-900, August.
  16. Klaus Gugler & Dennis C. Mueller & B. Burcin Yurtoglu & Christine Zulehner, 2001. "The Effects of Mergers: An International Comparison," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-21, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  17. Albert Banal‐Estañol & Jo Seldeslachts, 2011. "Merger Failures," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 589-624, 06.
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  21. Fee, C. Edward & Thomas, Shawn, 2004. "Sources of gains in horizontal mergers: evidence from customer, supplier, and rival firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 423-460, December.
  22. Seldeslachts, Jo & Clougherty, Joseph A. & Barros, Pedro Pita, 2007. "Remedy for Now but Prohibit for Tomorrow: The Deterrence Effects of Merger Policy Tools," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 218, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  23. Ajeyo Banerjee & E. Woodrow Eckard, 1998. "Are Mega-Mergers Anticompetitive? Evidence from the First Great Merger Wave," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 803-827, Winter.
  24. McAfee, R. Preston & Williams, Michael A., 1988. "Can event studies detect anticompetitive mergers?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 199-203.
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  27. Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Stennek, Johan, 1999. "Why Mergers Reduce Profits, and Raise Share Prices," Working Paper Series 511, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 03 Dec 2001.
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