The impact of access to consumer data on the competitive effects of horizontal mergers and exclusive dealing
Jin‐Hyuk Kim, Liad Wagman, and Abraham L. Wickelgren
We examine the influence of firms’ ability to employ individualized pricing on the welfare consequences of horizontal mergers. In a two‐to‐one merger, the merger reduces consumer surplus more when firms can price discriminate based on individual preferences compared to when they cannot. However, the opposite holds true in a three‐to‐two merger, in which the reduction in consumer surplus is substantially lower with individualized pricing than with uniform pricing. Further, the merger requires an even smaller marginal cost reduction to justify when an upstream data provider can make exclusive offers for its data to downstream firms. We also show that exclusive contracts for consumer data pose significant antitrust concerns independent of merger considerations. Implications for vertical integration and data mergers are drawn.