Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1199: Threatening to Buy: Private Equity Buyouts and Antitrust Policy

Pehr-Johan Norbäck (), Lars Persson () and Joacim Tåg ()
Additional contact information
Pehr-Johan Norbäck: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Lars Persson: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Joacim Tåg: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Private equity firms (PE firms) have become common owners of established firms in concentrated markets. We show that the threat of a PE acquisition can trigger incumbent mergers in an otherwise mergerstable industry. This can help antitrust authorities maximize consumer surplus because previously privately unprofitable – but consumer surplus-enhancing – mergers now take place. We thus predict that merger waves among incumbents should follow the development of a local PE industry.

Keywords: Antitrust policy; Mergers and acquisitions; Private equity; Temporary ownership

JEL-codes: G32; G34; L13; L22; L40

6 pages, February 6, 2018

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