Mergers that Harm Sellers

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This Feature examines the antitrust treatment of mergers that harm sellers. We separately consider two mechanisms of harm, increased classical monopsony power and increased bargaining leverage. We show that lost upstream competition is an actionable harm to the competitive process. Our central claim is that harm to sellers in an input market is sufficient to support antitrust liability. We defend this conclusion against the contrary view that demonstrated harm to the merging firms’ downstream purchasers or final consumers is an essential element of any antitrust claim. Nor is it necessary for plaintiffs to demonstrate a reduction in the input quantity transacted. We further argue that claimed “efficiencies” premised on a reduction in buy-side competition are not efficiencies at all.