On the Possibility of an Unsuccessful Merger : Implications from Stock Market and Retail Scanner DataOn the Possibility of an Unsuccessful Merger : Implications from Stock Market and Retail Scanner Data
Industrial economists and competition policymakers have traditionally assumed that a horizontal or vertical merger raises involved parties' joint profits, whereas whether consumers benefit or lose should be judged on a case-by-case basis. However, if a completed merger is not as successful as expected, its observed effects on the retail market may not necessarily be a result of the integrated firm's anti-competitive conduct. How can one assess whether a merger has achieved its initial objectives? This paper proposes to use two different data sources to empirically argue the possibility of such an unsuccessful merger. First, I use stock market data to provide an event study analysis, and compare PepsiCo's vertical integraton of two of the its chain bottlers (February 2010) and Coca-Cola's acquistion of its biggest bottler (October 2010). I argue that the stock market may not have perceived Coca-Cola's vertical merger as promising as PepsiCo's vertical merger. Furthermore, the former may have been perceived as helping Dr Pepper Snapple rather than Coca-Cola itself. Secondly, I use retail scanner data to present evidence, based on a difference-in-differences estimation, which shows that Coca-Cola's retail prices rose by 5% after its vertical merger, suggesting that internal conficts may have been passed through to its final prices.