Archives: DOJ Developments

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Price Discrimination Markets Lead Antitrust Enforcers to Increased Success

In the last two years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) brought, and won, several litigated merger cases by establishing narrow markets comprised of a subset of customers for a product. This narrow market theory, known as price discrimination market definition, allowed the agencies to … Continue Reading

Recent Enforcement Trends in Divestiture Packages

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division have been actively challenging mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across a variety of industries where there is not a viable or acceptable remedy to mitigate the agencies’ competitive concerns. Parties to M&A transactions that the FTC or the DOJ believe are likely to … Continue Reading

DOJ Continues to Monitor Interlocking Corporate Directorates with Restructuring of Tullett Prebon’s Acquisition of ICAP

On July 14, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the restructuring of a planned $1.5 billion transaction between Tullett Prebon Group Ltd. (Tullett Prebon) and ICAP plc adequately addresses the DOJ’s concerns that the transaction would violate Section 8 of the Clayton Act by creating an interlocking directorate.  The parties restructured their … Continue Reading

FTC Encourages VA to Adopt Proposed Rule Preempting State Laws to Allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to Provide Services Without Physician Oversight

On July 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted comments to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) supporting a proposed rule only affecting VA facilities that would authorize Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to provide primary health care services without the mandatory supervision of physicians, regardless of state or local laws, with limited exceptions. … Continue Reading

McDermott’s Antitrust M&A Snapshot Published on July 17, 2016

McDermott’s Antitrust M&A Snapshot is a resource for in-house counsel and others who deal with antitrust M&A issues but are not faced with these issues on a daily basis. In each quarterly issue, we will provide concise summaries of Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ) and European Commission (EC) news and events related to M&A, … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Encourages Competition Between Lawyers and Non-Lawyers in the Provision of Legal Services in Comments on North Carolina “LegalZoom” Bill

On June 10, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly submitted a letter recommending that the North Carolina General Assembly limit the definition of the “practice of law” only to activities for which “specialized legal knowledge and training” is demonstrably necessary to protect consumers.  The regulators argue that … Continue Reading

Lessons Learned – The State of Affairs in US Merger Review

In the last year, the US antitrust regulators successfully challenged multiple transactions in court and forced companies to abandon several other transactions as a result of threatened enforcement actions. Looking back at the different cases, there are some trends that we see developing in the government’s positioning on mergers, and these should be kept in … Continue Reading

Baer to Serve as Acting Associate Attorney General

On Monday, April 11, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed in a press release that Bill Baer will serve in the DOJ’s third-highest ranking position effective April 17, 2016. Baer will be stepping in for Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised Baer’s record at the Antitrust Division, noting that … Continue Reading

House Passes GOP-Backed SMARTER ACT Aiming to Harmonize Merger Review Process for FTC and DOJ

On March 23, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act by a vote of 235-171, despite strenuous objections from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) review proposed mergers and acquisitions.  Currently, the FTC can challenge transactions under … Continue Reading

Virginia’s Certificate of Need Laws May Stay, Fourth Circuit Says

On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld Virginia’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws, ruling that the scheme does not illegally discriminate against out-of-state health care providers. See Colon Health Ctrs. v. Hazel, No. 14-2283 (4th Cir. Jan. 21, 2015). In Virginia, and the 35 other states with CON laws, … Continue Reading

Has Antitrust Enforcement Been ‘Reinvigorated’ Under Obama?

In the 2008 presidential election campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to “reinvigorate” antitrust enforcement. Over the last few years, several observers have concluded that the Obama administration’s antitrust record is not substantially different from that of his predecessor. Conventional wisdom suggests that antitrust enforcement is non-partisan. Some key statistics bear out this conclusion, but a … Continue Reading

Four FTC Commissioners Reject Wright’s Call for GUPPI Safe Harbor

Four members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement on July 13, 2015, disputing claims by a fellow commissioner that the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines include a “safe harbor” that is available in unilateral effects merger investigations. Commissioner Joshua Wright’s comments about the potential safe harbor arose in the context of the Commission’s … Continue Reading

FTC Comment: Minnesota Law Requiring Public Disclosure of Health Care Contract Data Increases Risk of Anticompetitive Behavior

On June 29, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) responded to a request for comment from two Minnesota state legislators concerning recently enacted amendments to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). Under the amendments, the MGDPA would be expanded to cover all data collected by health maintenance organizations, health plans, and other health services … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Enforcers Respond to Congressional Questioning

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General William Baer testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law on May 15, 2015. The oversight hearing provided an opportunity for the heads of the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies to survey their agencies’ priorities and recent … Continue Reading

Shipping Executive Acquitted of Antitrust Charge

On May 8, 2015, a jury in Puerto Rico acquitted Thomas Farmer (Farmer), the former vice president of price and yield management for Crowley Liner Services, Inc., of conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition in violation of Sherman Act, Section 1. The case is United States v. Thomas Farmer (3:13-cr-00162) in the United States District … Continue Reading

Antitrust Enforcers Discuss Recent Highlights, Ongoing Cases, Enforcement Priorities and General Trends at the 2015 ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting

The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting concluded earlier this month with the traditional “Enforcers’ Roundtable,” an interview with leading competition authorities about recent highlights, ongoing cases, enforcement priorities and general trends. This year’s participants were Bill Baer, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust; Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman; … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Asked to Clarify the Reach of U.S. Antitrust Laws to Foreign Conduct

On March 16, 2015, AU Optronics Corporation America Inc. (AU Optronics) and Motorola Mobility LLC separately asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) and the extent to which its language allows foreign conduct to be brought within the scope of the Sherman Act.  The requests for review follow … Continue Reading

Parking Heater Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing

On March 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Espar Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of price-fixing under the Sherman Act in a scheme involving parking heaters for commercial vehicles that ran from October 2007 through December 2012.  Parking heaters heat the inside of a vehicle when the engine is not running. According … Continue Reading

Increasing Antitrust Risk in Non-Reportable Transactions – DOJ Obtains Disgorgement of Profits in Tour Bus Settlement

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently reached a settlement with Coach USA Inc. and City Sights LLC, breaking up their joint venture. The DOJ also employed the rarely used remedy of disgorgement to recover $7.5 million in profits from the defendants. This case demonstrates the aggressive posture the antitrust agencies are taking to challenge … Continue Reading

FTC and DOJ Host Workshop Examining Health Care Competition

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) held a public workshop on February 24–25, 2015, to examine recent trends and developments in health care provider organization and payment models, and their potential effects on competition in the provision of health care services. A main message from … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Amex’s “Anti-Steering” Merchant Rules Anticompetitive

After a seven-week bench trial in an enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 17 state attorneys general, U.S. District Judge Garaufis (Eastern District of New York) held that American Express Co.’s (Amex’s) “anti-steering” rules (Non-Discrimination Provisions or NDPs) are an unreasonable restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Watchdog to Merging Firms: DOJ Not Interested in Remedies that Require Ongoing Regulatory Oversight

Head U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust enforcer, Bill Baer, believes the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ are law enforcement agencies, not regulators.  In his recent speech at the Global Competition Review Fourth Annual Antitrust Leaders Forum, Baer stressed that antitrust regulation “is not what we do.  And it is not how we ought to … Continue Reading
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