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THE LATEST: Federal Judge Blocks Merger of Nuclear Waste Disposal Companies Rejecting “Failing Firm” Defense

On June 21, 2017, US District Judge Sue L. Robinson blocked EnergySolutions, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS), applying a strict standard for the “failing firm” defense to a merger challenge. The parties compete in the disposal of low level radioactive waste (LLRW). WCS had argued that it would be forced to exit the market due to heavy operating losses if the transaction were not approved. Judge Robinson’s recently released opinion provides insights into how aggressively a putative failing firm must shop its assets to third parties before it can qualify for the failing firm defense to an otherwise anticompetitive merger. WHAT HAPPENED: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit in November 2016 to enjoin the proposed acquisition of WCS by EnergySolutions, arguing that the merger would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the LLRW disposal industry. DOJ alleged that EnergySolutions and WCS are the only...

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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 Hershey before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and, like that prior case, is a strong endorsement for the FTC’s analytical approach to hospital mergers. Overview On October 31, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned a district court decision that denied a motion by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Illinois Attorney General (IL AG) to enjoin the proposed merger of Advocate Health Network (Advocate) and NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) pending conclusion of an FTC administrative trial on the merits of the proposed merger. Earlier this year, the US District Court for the Northern District of...

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