Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Monday, April 26, 2010

Competition Policy and Financial Distress

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Ezra Friedman, Yale University - Department of Economics, Northwestern University - School of Law and Marco Ottaviani, Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management provide thoughts on Competition Policy and Financial Distress.

ABSTRACT: Traditional analyses of competition policy assume that firms operate in perfect credit markets. We argue that imperfections in credit markets should be taken into account, and show one channel by which accounting for financial conditions could alter the welfare effects of a merger. In line with empirical evidence, we posit that the presence of financial distress might diminish price competition by reducing firms' willingness to undertake long-term investments in their customer base. Mergers that reduce the probability of financial distress can induce the merging firms to compete more fiercely for customers, thus partly offsetting the traditional effects of an increase in market power. We use this framework to derive implications for competition policy.

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