Which is the more profitable way to sell a company: an auction with no reserve price or an optimally-structured negotiation with one less bidder? We show under reasonable assumptions that the auction is always preferable when bidders’ signals are independent. For affiliated signals, the result holds under certain restrictions on the seller’s choice of negotiating mechanism. The result suggests that the value of negotiating skill is small relative to the value of additional competition. The paper also shows how the analogies between monopoly theory and auction theory can help derive new results in auction theory.