Antitrust Scrutiny Heating Up in Oil and Gas Industries

President Biden recently wrote a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan urging the Commission to immediately investigate potential anticompetitive behavior in the oil and gas sector. The President noted that gas prices have been rising, while the costs faced by oil and gas companies themselves have decreased. Concerned that the two largest oil and gas companies in the country are set to double their net income over 2019 while the gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the price at the pump is increasing, he called on the FTC to “bring all of the Commission’s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”

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Senate Zeros in on Big Tech with Latest Antitrust Reform Bill

Last month, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) fired the latest and perhaps most high-profile legislative salvo against Big Tech to date – the proposed American Innovation and Choice Online Act.  This Senate bill would update the antitrust laws with the specific goal of reigning in large technology companies.  This comes after a year of high-profile hearings in which the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, under Klobuchar’s direction, has investigated the conduct of Apple, Google, and other big tech companies.

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Back to the “Good Old Days”: FTC Announces Return to Prior Merger Approval Regime

FTC announces that its merger enforcement orders will once again require prior approval before the subject firm can make a future acquisition affecting any relevant market for which a violation was alleged.

On October 25, 2021, the FTC issued a Prior Approval Policy Statement (the “Statement”) reinstating its prior practice of routinely requiring merging parties subject to a Commission order to obtain prior approval from the FTC before closing any future transaction affecting any relevant market for which a violation was alleged. The Policy Statement implements the Commission’s July 21, 2021 vote rescinding its 1995 Policy Statement on Prior Approval and Prior Notice Provisions. The 1995 Statement rescinded the FTC’s long-standing practice of including prior approval and prior notice provisions in Commission enforcement orders concerning mergers.

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HSR Practice Alert – FTC is Making Changes to Respond to the “Massive Surge” in HSR Filings

Yesterday, the FTC announced certain changes in response to the continuing “massive surge” in HSR filings. See Reforming the Pre-Filing Process for Companies Considering Consolidation and a Change in the Treatment of Debt | Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov).

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HSR Filing Fees For Large Acquisitions May Be Increased

On May 13th, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved  and sent on to the full Senate the “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2021.” The Bill, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley, and approved with bipartisan support, would raise the filing fees under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act for large mergers and would require the fees to be adjusted annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. (Currently, the HSR Act’s size-of-person and size-of-transaction tests are adjusted annually, but not the filing fees.) Continue Reading

The European Commission Adopts a Proposal for a Regulation on Foreign Subsidies Distorting the Internal Market

In August 2020, we wrote a blog post about the adoption by the European Commission (“Commission”) of a White Paper on Foreign Subsidies. On 5 May 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market after an extensive consultation process with stakeholders. This post updates our previous entry and considers the implications of the newly proposed regulation. Continue Reading

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