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Analyzing Mergers under Asymmetric Information: A Simple Reduced-Form Approach


  • Thomas Borek


  • Stefan Bühler


  • Armin Schmutzler



This paper provides a simple reduced-form framework for analyzing merger decisions in the presence of asymmetric information about firm types, building on Shapiro's (1986) oligopoly model with asymmetric information about marginal costs. We employ this framework to examine what types of firms are likely to be involved in mergers. While we give sufficient conditions under which only low-type firms merge, as a lemons rationale would suggest, we also argue that these conditions will often be violated in practice. Finally, our analysis shows how signaling considerations affect merger decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Borek & Stefan Bühler & Armin Schmutzler, 2008. "Analyzing Mergers under Asymmetric Information: A Simple Reduced-Form Approach," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2008 2008-15, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2008:2008-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew Rhodes-Kropf & S. Viswanathan, 2000. "Corporate Reorganizations and Non-Cash Auctions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1807-1854, August.
    2. Hansen, Robert G, 1985. "Auctions with Contingent Payments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 862-865, September.
    3. Stephen W. Salant & Sheldon Switzer & Robert J. Reynolds, 1983. "Losses From Horizontal Merger: The Effects of an Exogenous Change in Industry Structure on Cournot-Nash Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 185-199.
    4. Peter M. DeMarzo & Ilan Kremer & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2005. "Bidding with Securities: Auctions and Security Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 936-959, September.
    5. Borek, Thomas & Bühler, Stefan & Schmutzler, Armin, 2003. "Weddings with Uncertain Prospects - Mergers under Asymmetric Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3839, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. James S. Ang & Yingmei Cheng, 2006. "Direct Evidence On The Market-Driven Acquisition Theory," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 199-216.
    7. Gärtner, Dennis L. & Schmutzler, Armin, 2009. "Merger negotiations and ex-post regret," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1636-1664, July.
    8. Hansen, Robert G, 1987. "A Theory for the Choice of Exchange Medium in Mergers and Acquisitions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 75-95, January.
    9. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
    10. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    11. Buehler Stefan & Schmutzler Armin, 2005. "Asymmetric Vertical Integration," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, January.
    12. Hviid, Morten & Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "Merger Failure and Merger Profitability," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 371-386, December.
    13. Barros, Pedro Pita, 1998. "Endogenous mergers and size asymmetry of merger participants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 113-119, July.
    14. Gregor Andrade & Mark Mitchell & Erik Stafford, 2001. "New Evidence and Perspectives on Mergers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 103-120, Spring.
    15. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo & David T. Robinson & S. Viswanathan, 2007. "Efficient Mechanisms For Mergers And Acquisitions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 995-1035, August.
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    More about this item


    merger; asymmetric information; oligopoly;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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