Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation

Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation

Edited by Colin Robinson

Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation continues the series of annual books, published in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the London Business School, which critically reviews the state of utility regulation and competition policy.

Chapter 3: Efficiencies in merger control

Jrissy Motis, Damien Neven and Paul Seabright

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public sector economics


Jrissy Motis, Damien Neven and Paul Seabright* 1. INTRODUCTION Two years ago, Paul Seabright presented a lecture in this series in which he observed, on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of EU merger control, that little was known about the source of efficiencies in mergers. In that lecture, he also put forward a simple framework to think about the motivation behind mergers, as a particular form of corporate restructuring, and the source of synergies between merging partners. In this paper, we report on some of the work that we have undertaken on synergies and the source of efficiencies in mergers in the last few years. We outline the framework that we have developed to think about mergers, summarize some of the empirical evidence that we have gathered and discuss the insights that the framework yields into the role of competition authorities. This work provides some confirmation that the reallocation of intangible assets is a significant motivation for mergers and a source of merger-specific efficiencies. With respect to the role of competition authorities, we will suggest that they should systematically ask about the activities that can only be undertaken through the proposed merger and seek evidence from the merging parties about the plans that they have developed to integrate their activities. We will also suggest that synergies are of particular importance compared to technical efficiencies because the latter are in principle achievable by other means than a merger, and if in practice they...

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