Working Paper No. 541

Should Mergers be Controlled?

Published: December 14, 2000Pages: 40Keywords: Endogenous Mergers & Acquisitions; Coalition Formation; Competition PolicyJEL-codes: L41; L12; C78

Should Mergers be Controlled? Sven-Olof Fridolfsson and Johan Stennek


Anticompetitive mergers benefit competitors more than the merging firms. We show that such externalities reduce firms' incentives to merge (a holdup mechanism). Firms delay merger proposals, thereby foregoing valuable profits and hoping other firms will merge instead - a war of attrition. The final result, however, is an overly concentrated market. We also demonstrate a surprising intertemporal link: Merger incentives may be reduced by the prospect of additional profitable mergers in the future. Merger control may help protect competition. Holdup and intertemporal links make policy design more difficult, however. Even reasonable policies may be worse than not controlling mergers at all.

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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