Working Paper No. 514

The Auctioning of a Failing Firm

Published: November 23, 1998Pages: 32Keywords: Competition policy, Failing firm defense, AuctionJEL-codes: K21, L13, L41

The Auctioning of a Failing Firm Lars Persson


This paper evaluates the welfare consequences of the failing firm doctrine in the EU and US merger laws. I combine an oligopoly model with an "endogenous valuations" auction model. Thereby, I take into account that, in an oligopoly, a firm's willingness to pay for the assets depends on the identity of the alternative buyer. The main result is that the doctrine leads to cost inefficiencies, due to a "least danger to competition" (LDC) condition, which favors small, and thus inefficient, firms. In particular, the LDC condition implies that small firms can preempt acquisitions that would lead to both higher producer surplus and higher consumer surplus.

Lars Persson

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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