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Efficiency Gains from Mergers

  • Lars-Hendrik Röller
  • Johan Stennek
  • Frank Verboven

The purpose of this discussion paper is to contribute to the analysis of two questions. Should a merger control system take into account efficiency gains from horizontal mergers, and balance these gains against the anti-competitive effects of mergers? If so, how should a system be designed to account for efficiency gains? The report is divided into five separate parts. The discussion paper is based on a report to the European Commission. To help answer the two questions we start with an extensive review of the relevant economic research, including both theoretical and empirical work. Next, we review the current practice in seven O.E.C.D. jurisdictions. Finally, we propose a merger control system, emphasizing the central role of informational limitations. Based on our conclusions from the empirical literature that efficiencies may need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, we construct an information-economizing two-stage decision framework for evaluating mergers. In a first stage, notified mergers are assessed using routine tools with modest information requirements. Mergers that do not pass the first stage test are subject to further investigation, including an efficiency defence. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG - (Effizienzgewinne von Unternehmenszusammenschlüssen) Das Diskussionspapier leistet einen Beitrag zur Analyse von zwei wettbewerbspolitischen Fragen: Sollen im Rahmen der Fusionskontrolle Effizienzgewinne horizontaler Zusammenschlüsse berücksichtigt und den wettbewerbsbeschränkenden Wirkungen gegenübergestellt werden? Und, falls ja, wie sollten diese Effizienzgewinne im Kontrollprozess berücksichtigt werden? Grundlage für das Diskussionspapier ist ein Gutachten, das für die Europäische Kommission erstellt wurde. Die Untersuchung beginnt mit einer ausführlichen Darstellung der relevanten ökonomischen Forschung. Dabei werden sowohl theoretische als auch empirische Arbeiten berücksichtigt. Anschließend wird die gegenwärtige Praxis der Fusionskontrolle in sieben OECD-Ländern erörtert. Auf Basis der gewonnenen Erkenntnisse wird schließlich ein Verfahren für die Analyse von Unternehmenszusammenschlüssen vorgeschlagen. Das vorgeschlagene Verfahren greift die empirische Erkenntnis auf, daß Effizienzgewinne nicht generell aber fallweise von Bedeutung sein können. Es wird ein zweistufiger Entscheidungsprozess entwickelt, um einerseits die Informationskosten gering zu halten und andererseits die notwendige Präzision des Kontrollverfahrens zu sichern. In der ersten Stufe des Verfahrens prüfen die Wettbewerbsbehörden angemeldete Fusionen anhand von Standardkriterien mit geringen Informationsanforderungen. Nur solche Fusionen, die diesen Test nicht bestehen, werden dann in einer zweiten Stufe einer genaueren Analyse unterzogen, bei der Effizienzgewinne berücksichtigt werden.

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Paper provided by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG) in its series CIG Working Papers with number FS IV 00-09.

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Length: 144 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:fsiv00-09
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