Mergers Involving Nascent Competition

By A. Douglas Melamed (Stanford)

Mergers involving nascent competition are a hot topic in antitrust circles, especially in light of the pending FTC case against Facebook; but the thinking about the topic is nascent, too. This paper is intended to contribute to that thinking and to discuss a variety of questions that have not previously been discussed together. It explains that, while the vast majority of such mergers are likely to be benign or procompetitive, some might be very harmful to competition and economic welfare. It argues that the latter can in principle be prohibited under existing Section 2 law, suggests criteria for doing so, and addresses policy concerns about merger efficiencies, error costs, the impact of heighted scrutiny of such mergers on venture capital investment, and post-acquisition challenges to such mergers.

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