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How Effective is European Merger Control?

Tomaso Duso (), Klaus Gugler () and Burcin Yurtoglu

Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems from Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich

Abstract: This paper applies a novel methodology to a unique dataset of large concentrations during the period 1990-2002 to assess merger control’s effectiveness. By using data gathered from several sources and employing different evaluation techniques, we analyze the economic effects of the European Commission’s (EC) merger control decisions and distinguish between blockings, clearances with commitments (either behavioral or structural), and outright clearances. We run an event study on merging and rival firms’ stocks to quantify the profitability effects of mergers and merger control decisions. We back up our results and methodology by using alternative measures for the merger’s profitability effects based on balance sheet data and obtain consistent results. Our findings suggest that outright blockings solve the competitive problems generated by the merger. Remedies are not always effective in solving the market power concerns, at least not on average. Nevertheless, both structural (divestitures) and behavioral remedies do help restore effective competition when correctly applied to anticompetitive mergers during the first investigation phase. Yet, they are on the whole ineffective or even detrimental when applied after the second investigation phase. Finally, remedies - especially behavioral ones - seem to constitute a rent transfer from merging firms to rivals when mistakenly applied to pro-competitive mergers.

Keywords: Mergers; Merger Control; Remedies; European Commission; Event Studies; Expost Evaluation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C2 G34 K21 L2 L4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-eec, nep-fin, nep-ind, nep-law and nep-reg
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Journal Article: How effective is European merger control? (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: How Effective is European Merger Control? (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: How effective is European merger control? (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: How Effective is European Merger Control? (2006) Downloads
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