This paper studies endogenous mergers of complements with mixed bundling, by allowing both for joint and separate consumption. After merger, partner firms decrease the price of the bundled system. In addition, when markets for individual components are sufficiently important, partner firms find it strategically advantageous to raise the prices of stand-alone products, thus making substitute ‘mix-and-match’ composite products less attractive to consumers. Even though these effects favor the profitability of mergers, merging is not always an equilibrium outcome. The reason is that outsiders respond by cutting their prices to retain their market share, and mergers can be unprofitable when competition is intense. From a welfare analysis, we observe that the number of mergers that are observed in equilibrium may be either excessive (when markets for individual components are important) or suboptimal (when markets for individual components are less important).
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 15, 2011
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