1. Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 24, 2022, 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) and after last year’s atypical decrease they have again increased.

Continue Reading Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

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.”
Continue Reading Antitrust Scrutiny Heating Up in Oil and Gas Industries

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.
Continue Reading Senate Zeros in on Big Tech with Latest Antitrust Reform Bill

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.

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

A California jury last week handed down what has been reported to be the first antitrust jury verdict involving the cannabis industry.  As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, cannabis-related antitrust disputes may well increase.
Continue Reading California Jury Awards Millions to Cannabis Company in Antitrust Case

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 HSR Filing Fees For Large Acquisitions May Be Increased