Several high-profile academic articles and reports claim to have identified important gaps in current merger enforcement rules, particularly with respect to tech and pharma acquisitions involving nascent and potential competitors—so-called “killer acquisitions” and “kill zones.” As a result of these perceived deficiencies, scholars and enforcers have called for tougher rules, including the introduction of lower merger filing thresholds and substantive changes, such as the inversion of the burden of proof when authorities review mergers and acquisitions in the digital platform industry. Meanwhile, and seemingly in response to the increased political and advocacy pressures around the issue, U.S. antitrust enforcers have recently undertaken several enforcement actions directly targeting such acquisitions. As this paper discusses, however, these proposals tend to overlook the important tradeoffs that would ensue from attempts to decrease the number of false positives under existing merger rules and thresholds. While merger enforcement ought to be mindful of these possible theories of harm, the theories and evidence are not nearly as robust as many proponents suggest. Most importantly, there is insufficient basis to conclude that the costs of permitting the behavior they identify is greater than the costs would be of increasing enforcement to prohibit it.
Geoffrey A. Manne, Samuel Bowman, and Dirk Auer,
Technology Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control,
86 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol86/iss4/5