Product Differentiation, Cost-Reducing Mergers, and Consumer Welfare
Cost synergies are an explicitly recognized justification for a two-firm merger and empirical techniques are now widely used to assess the impact of cost-reducing mergers on prices and welfare in the postmerger market. We show that if the merger occurs in a vertically product differentiated market then the merger will lead to a reduction in product offerings that limits the usefulness of pre-merger empirical estimates. Indeed, we further show that in such markets, two-firm merges will lead to higher prices regardless of the merger’s cost-savings. We show that our results may obtain even when we allow for post-merger entry.
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