Working paper 02/046 - Abstract

Portfolio Analysis in European Merger Control: An Economic Analysis (PDF, file 332 KB) (PDF, 321kB)

Thibaud Vergé

The year 1997 saw the emergence of a new game theory in European merger control called the 'portfolio power theory'. The European Commission argues that the holder of a comprehensive portfolio of brands may obtain a stronger position vis-à-vis its customers, and can therefore more easily impose restrictions, such as full-line forcing.
The objective of this paper is to analyse this argument from a theoretical point of view. We show that tie-in sales allow the incumbent to deter entry and to eliminate the retailer's rent when the downstream sector is monopolised. When the producers compete directly for consumers, the second brand provides a new predation tool. This allows the incumbent to deter entry more easily, but it can also limit price distortion. In both cases, the welfare impact is not clear-cut.

Summary (PDF, file 39.9 KB) (PDF, 43kB)