On 18 January 2022, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission announced a joint public inquiry seeking comments on ways to “modernize” the federal merger guidelines and “strengthen merger enforcement.” The press release calls for public comments on a range of topics and highlights the agencies’ joint view that many industries across the economy are becoming more concentrated and “less competitive.” In their statements, both DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter, and FTC Chair, Lina M. Khan, announced an intention to “overhaul” the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines and conduct a broad-based review of the 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines.
In recent months, following the Biden Executive Order that set antitrust law enforcement priorities for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) (among other federal agencies), the FTC has made a number of changes to its long-standing merger review policies and processes. In announcing those changes, the FTC has cited the “surge in merger filings” and the need to ensure that merger reviews are more “comprehensive and analytically rigorous.” We highlight below the most significant of these recent changes announced by the FTC and expect the DOJ’s Antitrust Division to adopt similar (if not identical) stances on these and related enforcement issues.
On 9 July 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order (“Order”) and a supporting Fact Sheet announcing 72 initiatives to increase vigorous antitrust enforcement. The Order sets competition-law priorities for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and more than a dozen other federal agencies coordinated through a new White House Competition Council.
On 9 July 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order and a supporting Fact Sheet announcing 72 initiatives to increase vigorous antitrust enforcement. The Order sets competition-law priorities for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and more than a dozen other federal agencies coordinated through a new White House Competition Council.
The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has released an updated Merger Remedies Manual (the “2020 Manual”), setting out the DOJ’s framework for approaching remedies designed to preserve competition in merger cases. The 2020 Manual emphasizes the DOJ’s preference for structural remedies in both horizontal and vertical merger cases, but provides a narrow pathway for behavioral remedies and hybrid approaches. The 2020 Manual also sets out the DOJ’s expectations for consent decrees to improve their effectiveness and the DOJ’s ability to enforce them.
Like their counterparts in other countries, the US antitrust agencies have begun considering and in some cases have already implemented changes to antitrust review processes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have also announced measures geared…
Overview The Federal Trade Commission has announced the annual adjustment to notification thresholds that determine whether proposed transactions may trigger a filing obligation under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The revised thresholds will apply to all transactions that will close on or after February 27, 2020.…