The Analysis of Mergers that Involve Multisided Platform Businesses

Posted: 8 Oct 2008 Last revised: 29 Jul 2022

See all articles by David S. Evans

David S. Evans

Global Economics Group; Market Platform Dynamics

Michael D. Noel

Texas Tech University

Date Written: September 1, 2008


A multisided platform (MSP) serves as an intermediary for two or more groups of customers who are linked by indirect network effects. Recent research has found that MSPs are significant in many industries and that some standard economic results-such as the Lerner Index-do not apply to them, in material ways, without some significant modification to take linkages between the multiple sides into account. This article extends several key tools used for the analysis of mergers to situations in which one or more of the suppliers are MSPs. It shows that the application of traditional tools to mergers involving MSPs results in biases, the direction of which depends on the particular tool being used and other conditions. It also extends these tools to the analysis of the merger of MSPs. The techniques are illustrated with an application to an acquisition involving the multisided online advertising industry.

Keywords: platform mergers, mergers in two-sided markets, market definition and platforms, SSNIP test for two-sided platforms, economics of mergers for platforms, platforms and hypothetical monopolist test

Suggested Citation

Evans, David S. and Noel, Michael D., The Analysis of Mergers that Involve Multisided Platform Businesses (September 1, 2008). Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pp. 663-695, 2008, Available at SSRN: or

David S. Evans (Contact Author)

Global Economics Group ( email )

One Beacon St
Boston, MA 02108
United States


Market Platform Dynamics ( email )

140 South Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60603
United States

Michael D. Noel

Texas Tech University ( email )

237 Holden Hall
Box 41014
Lubbock, TX 79407
United States

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