DP8992 Buying to Sell: Private Equity Buyouts and Industrial Restructuring

Author(s): Pehr-Johan Norbäck, Lars Persson, Joacim Ingemar Tåg
Publication Date: May 2012
Keyword(s): antitrust, competition policy, leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, temporary ownership
JEL(s): G32, G34, L13, L22
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8992

We investigate how temporary ownership by private equity firms affects industry structure, competition and welfare. Temporary ownership leads to strong investment incentives because equilibrium resale prices are determined partly by buyers' incentives to block rivals from obtaining assets. These strong incentives benefit consumers, but harm rivals in the industry. Evaluating optimal antitrust policy, we point out that an active private equity market can aid antitrust authorities by triggering welfare enhancing mergers and by preventing concentration in the industry. By spreading costs of specializing in restructuring over multiple markets, private equity firms have stronger incentives than incumbents to invest in acquiring specialized restructuring skills.