Archives: FTC Developments

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THE LATEST: DOJ Price-Fixing Probe Demonstrates That Deal Risk Is Not the Only Antitrust Concern Merging Parties Should Keep in Mind

Bumble Bee Foods, and two of its senior vice presidents, have recently pled guilty to US Department of Justice (DOJ) charges that they engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of shelf-stable tuna fish sold in the United States from 2011 to 2013. Bumble Bee agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine that can … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: FTC Files Complaint Against Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board

This week, the Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board (LREAB). This complaint is the FTC’s first against a state licensing board since it prevailed in the Supreme Court in the decision in NC State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC in 2015. There, the Court held that … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: American Guild of Organists Reaches Settlement Agreement with the FTC over Challenged Professional Association Rules

The two current commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a final order and consent agreement with the American Guild of Organists (AGO) after a public comment period of two months. The FTC alleged that the AGO violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by agreeing to restrain competition among its organist … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Rohit Chopra, Progressive Student Loan Watchdog, Recommended for FTC Commissioner

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is composed of five Commissioners each with terms of seven years. The Commissioners are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. At any given time, no more than three Commissioners may be members of the same political party. Currently, Acting Chairman Ohlhausen (R) and Commissioner … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Enforcers Continue Recent Focus on Innovation Concerns with Emerson/Pentair Consent Agreement

The FTC’s recent consent agreement addressing concerns regarding Emerson Electric Co.’s (Emerson) acquisition of Pentair Plc (Pentair) demonstrates a continued focus on whether transactions will reduce the incentive for merging parties to develop new, innovative products in the future. This is the latest in a string of cases which show that when the antitrust regulators … Continue Reading

McDermott Releases 1Q2017 Antitrust M&A Snapshot

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 … Continue Reading

Bag Fee Case Highlights Antitrust Risk Of Public Statements

For publicly traded companies, earnings calls are routine business events, as are press releases, speeches, investor conferences and trade association meetings. However, in the world of antitrust law, words uttered in these situations can provide fodder for plaintiffs to claim that instead of providing information for investors and the public, the communication’s purpose was to … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Losing Bidder for Pharmaceutical Triggers FTC Investigation, Fix, and $100 Million Fine in Non-HSR-Reportable Transaction

A private lawsuit filed by Retrophin Inc. (Retrophin), under then-CEO Martin Shkreli, likely triggered an investigation by the FTC into a consummated transaction.  Both the private lawsuit and the FTC complaint resulted in settlement.  In addition, the FTC levied a $100 million penalty. WHAT HAPPENED: In 2013, Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Questcor) acquired the U.S. rights … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Occupational Licensing—Do We Need to Protect “the Public from Rogue Interior Designers Carpet-Bombing Living Rooms with Ugly Throw Pillows?”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has looked at licensing boards many times in the past and advocated for regulations with less restriction that promote competition.  There are numerous examples of antitrust regulators’ interest in occupational licensing and competition concerns, including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in the VA, non-lawyers in the provision of legal services, and … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: FTC Fixes Consummated Pharma Transaction Involving Pre-Phase 3 Product Because It Eliminated a “Nascent Threat”—Tacks on $100 Million Disgorgement Penalty

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenged a consummated transaction using a monopolization theory to allege that the acquisition would eliminate “nascent” competition for therapeutic adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH) in the United States. WHAT HAPPENED: Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (Questcor) H.P. Acthar Gel (Acthar) is the only ACTH product sold in the US, is the standard of care … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: FTC Determines Behavioral Remedies are Sufficient to Fix Offshore Natural Gas Pipeline Overlap

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently granted US antitrust clearance for Enbridge’s acquisition of Spectra after the parties agreed to behavioral commitments to remedy an overlap for natural gas pipeline transportation from the wellhead in three markets off the coast of Louisiana (Green Canyon, Walker Ridge and Keathley Canyon). WHAT HAPPENED: The merging parties each … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Learnings from Merger Remedies Study Underscores FTC’s Heightened Focus on Remedy Packages and Proposed Buyers

WHAT HAPPENED: In early February, the FTC released its Merger Remedies Study (the Study), which focused on transactions from 2006-2012 in which the FTC found a competitive problem that did not require a block outright, and allowed the transaction to gain clearance so long as the merging parties agreed to what the FTC determined were appropriate … Continue Reading

The LATEST: FTC “Second Requests” to be Narrower in Scope under Ohlhausen’s Leadership

Transactions that meet the Hart-Scott-Rodino thresholds for notification must be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Department of Justice. Where a notified transaction raises competition concerns, the reviewing agency may decide to launch an in-depth investigation and request additional information from the merging parties, known as a “Second Request,” which can take several … Continue Reading

Flurry of Antitrust Merger Enforcement Actions as Obama Presidency Comes to a Close

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced several antitrust enforcement actions in advance of the inauguration of President Trump, including settlements for failures to file under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act), a challenge to an unreportable deal and a settlement of a “gun-jumping” … Continue Reading

Antitrust M&A Snapshot: October – December 2016 Update

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 … Continue Reading

Musical Chairs at the FTC—Ohlhausen is New Acting Chairwoman

This month has seen significant changes in the landscape of federal leadership and the changes have now reached the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). On January 13, current Chair Edith Ramirez announced that she would resign from her position effective February 10, 2017. This Wednesday, January 25, the new administration designated Maureen Ohlhausen as Acting Chair. … Continue Reading

Notification Threshold Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act Increased to $80.8 Million

Pursuant to the amendments passed by the US Congress in 2000, the FTC announced revised thresholds for HSR pre-merger notifications on January 19, 2017. These increased thresholds will become effective 30 days following publication in the Federal Register. These new thresholds apply to any transaction completed and any HSR pre-merger notifications filed on or after … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Release New Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation

On Friday, January 13, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the new Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation. These guidelines were jointly developed by the agencies and serve to update the Antitrust Enforcement Guidelines for International Operations that have been in place since April 1995. The new guidelines … Continue Reading

FTC and DOJ Update Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property

On January 13, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued updated Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property (the Guidelines). The revised Guidelines follow nearly half a year of consideration and public commentary. According to the FTC, the updates were “intended to modernize … Continue Reading

President-Elect Trump Has Once-in-a-Century Opportunity to Substantially Revise the FTC’s Law Enforcement and Regulatory Agenda

Bilal Sayyed, a McDermott partner and former official at the Federal Trade Commission, has prepared a thoughtful series of recommendations for actions which the new administration’s FTC might take. His paper considers options which the new administration may take based on prior precedents. Read the full report here.… Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Hands FTC Another Geographic Market Definition Victory in Chicago Hospital Merger Case

On October 31, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed another important victory to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State of Illinois in a hospital merger case in Chicago, Illinois. This decision follows closely on the heels of the FTC’s victory earlier this year in FTC v. Penn State … Continue Reading

Antitrust M&A Snapshot: July – September 2016 Update

UNITED STATES: Continuing an active first half of 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and US Department of Justice (DOJ) have challenged several large mergers and acquisitions. In fact, trials for the two national health insurer deals are slated to begin Q4 of 2016 in Washington, DC, where the agencies have had success in obtaining … Continue Reading

DOJ, FTC Issue Antitrust Guidance to Human Resources Professionals

On October 20, 2016, the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued joint Antitrust Guidance to Human Resource (HR) Professionals (the Guidance) involved in hiring and compensation decisions. The agencies issued the guidance to educate HR professionals about how the antitrust laws apply in the employment context.  Read … Continue Reading

FTC Report on Patent Assertion Entities Recommends Patent Litigation Reform

On October 6, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its report on patent assertion entity (PAE) activity. The report is the result of research that began in September 2014 to address a gap in the agency’s understanding of PAEs, how they operate and how policies can be developed to reduce nuisance litigation. The study focused … Continue Reading
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