FTC and DOJ to Host Public Forums on Effects of Mergers Ahead of Issuance of New Merger Guidelines

As an element of the brand new initiative to revise the antitrust merger pointers, the Federal Commerce Fee (“FTC”) and the Division of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) introduced on March 17, 2022 that the businesses will host 4 listening boards on the firsthand results of mergers and acquisitions.  FTC Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Legal professional Normal of the DOJ Antitrust Division Jonathan Kanter said that the aim of the boards is to “address mounting concerns” concerning issues ensuing from the “ongoing merger surge that has more than doubled merger filings from 2020 to 2021.”

Following the present pattern on the businesses, the boards will focus on industries and labor markets in meals and agriculture, well being care, media and leisure, and know-how. Comparable to the FTC’s current Open Fee Conferences, the boards will likely be held nearly and open to the general public. The boards will function audio system corresponding to impartial enterprise homeowners, entrepreneurs, farmers, employees, and different trade individuals—adopted by an open interval for public remark.

The discussion board focusing on Well being Care is probably going to embrace dialogue on the businesses’ renewed focus on the appliance of antitrust legislation to promote competitors in labor markets, in addition to the FTC’s current urge for food for conducting a 6(b) research on Pharmacy Profit Managers. The proposed research failed 2-2 on the Fee’s February 17 Open Meeting, however Khan shortly launched a Request for Information on PBMs the next week. These feedback are due April 25, 2022.

The date and time for every discussion board is listed beneath, and the webcasts will likely be out there on the Commission’s homepage:

  • Meals & Agriculture – Monday, March 28 at 3:00 PM EST

  • Well being Care – Thursday, April 14 at 2:00 PM EST

  • Media & Leisure – Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30 PM EST

  • Tech – Thursday, Could 12 at 2:00 PM EST

The boards are one other step towards the businesses issuing new merger pointers, after the FTC unilaterally rescinded the 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines on September 15, 2021. The brand new pointers, anticipated in late 2022, will probably embrace language focusing on the impression of mergers and acquisitions on the labor market, because the businesses have each not too long ago dedicated to the Biden Govt Order on Competitors’s “Whole-of-Government” approach to addressing labor points in M&A.

The businesses intend to solicit suggestions from trade individuals and the general public at these boards to “ensure that the agencies hear from affected groups who might not otherwise participate in the process.”  The boards additionally complement the Enforcers Summit, which will likely be held on April 04, 2022.  The Summit will function Chair Khan, AAG Kanter, and senior workers from the businesses discussing methods to modernize the merger pointers and alternatives for interagency collaboration. The Summit will host worldwide enforcers and state attorneys normal as properly. 

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