Antitrust Counseling and Compliance

Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 28, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The filing thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in Gross National Product (GNP).

The new thresholds will become effective on February 27, 2020. Acquisitions that have not closed by the effective date will be subject to the new thresholds.
Continue Reading Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

On January 3, 2020, Axon Enterprises Inc. filed a complaint against the Federal Trade Commission in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the constitutionality of the FTC’s administrative process.  Axon’s complaint marks the latest salvo in a decades-long critique of the disparity between FTC and Department of Justice merger enforcement procedures.
Continue Reading Axon Sues FTC Over Use of Administrative Adjudication in Merger Investigations

California’s below-cost pricing statute, the Unfair Practices Act (the “UPA”), is perhaps the broadest such statute in the nation, and far broader than comparable federal laws, which have been narrowed in recent decades almost to the vanishing point.  Indeed, the statute—which dates back to the Great Depression and the era of New Deal economics—could be interpreted as a bright line prohibition against pricing just about anything below cost to take business from a competitor.  See Bus. & Prof. Code § 17043.  And yet, at least by the hyperactive standards of contemporary commercial litigation, the statute has not been heavily employed or even spoken about, mainly collecting cobwebs in the dim corners of law libraries.
Continue Reading Why Aren’t There More California Below-Cost Pricing Cases? *

Over the last three decades, government antitrust enforcers and private plaintiffs in the United States have increasingly sought to apply U.S. antitrust laws to conduct by foreign businesses that is deemed to have effects on the U.S. economy. Many of these foreign businesses have been located in Asia:  since the 1990s there have been waves of U.S. criminal prosecutions and civil cases alleging anticompetitive conspiracies between Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese sellers and manufacturers.  For most of this time, however, companies in mainland China—despite being the largest exporters of goods to the United States, first in Asia and now in the entire world—have rarely been targeted for U.S. antitrust enforcement.
Continue Reading Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Vitamin C and the Future of U.S. Antitrust Enforcement Against Chinese Companies *

An increasing number of M&A transactions each year involve private equity firms. Like any other transaction, the parties in private equity deals must be cognizant of the filing requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and the substantive requirements of the Clayton Act § 7, which prohibits transactions that may “substantially . . . lessen competition” or “tend to create a monopoly.” Over the years, the HSR rules have been modified to target certain information specific to private equity firms and generally have been adding to the burden of the filing parties in private equity transactions. The requirements sometimes differ from those applicable to deals that do not involve private equity firms. This article discusses some of the HSR and antitrust issues that should be considered, and frequently arise, in private equity transactions.
Continue Reading HSR and Antitrust Considerations for Private Equity Firms in M&A Transactions

  1. Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 26, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The filing thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in gross national product and will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register. Publication is expected within one week, so the new thresholds will likely become effective in late February 2018. Acquisitions that have not closed by the effective date will be subject to the new thresholds.
Continue Reading Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

The antitrust injury and antitrust standing defenses/doctrines are alive and well in healthcare.  A recent case, SCPH Legacy Corp. et al. v. Palmetto Health et al., shows that a competitor is not always the most legally appropriate plaintiff to bring an antitrust case, especially when the competitor’s alleged harm stems from increased competition.  This article explains the court’s reasoning and makes some predictions for similar arguments in the future.
Continue Reading Antitrust Not Always Available in Competitor Disputes in the Healthcare Sector

1. Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The filing thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in gross national product and will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register. Publication is expected within one week, so the new thresholds will likely become effective in late February 2017. Acquisitions that have not closed by the effective date will be subject to the new thresholds.Continue Reading Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

The U.S. Antitrust Agencies (the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission) recently issued a document entitled “Antitrust Guidance For Human Resource Professionals” intended to alert HR professionals to potential antitrust violations involving hiring and compensation decisions.

The Guidance states that firms that compete to hire or retain employees are competitors in the “employment marketplace,” regardless of whether they make the same products or compete to provide the same services.  It advises that it is unlawful for competitors to expressly or implicitly agree not to compete and notes that the Antitrust Agencies have taken enforcement actions against employers that have agreed not to compete for employees.  To underscore this, the Guidance briefly discusses the enforcement actions that the Antitrust Agencies have taken against entities for agreeing not to compete for employees or agreeing to uniform compensation terms, including actions against high profile technology companies.Continue Reading Antitrust Agencies Issue Guidance To HR Professionals Regarding Hiring and Compensation Decisions

Invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union requires participation of the UK Parliament say Lord Chief Justices Lord Sales and Lord Thomas of the Royal Courts of Justice in London who handed down their judgment today.

This is a significant step, but only a step along the way. The final outcome remains uncertain as this judgment will most likely be appealed by the Government to the Supreme Court. Hence, the uncertainty caused by Brexit to businesses remains if it is not further increased.Continue Reading Brexit News: UK Judges Throw a Block in the Road of Article 50