1. Higher Jurisdictional Thresholds For HSR Filings

On January 22, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act). The jurisdictional thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in Gross National Product (GNP).Continue Reading Higher Jurisdictional and Filing Fees Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

Since President Biden’s July 2021 direction to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to “curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility,” the FTC has ratcheted up its scrutiny of and investigations into non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants. Now, the FTC has expanded beyond post-employment restrictive covenants to tackle “sale of business” non-competes. Most recently, the FTC voted in favor of a deal-changing proposed order against ARKO Corp. related to its 2021 acquisition of sixty fuel outlets from Corrigan Oil Company.

Continue Reading Buyer (and Seller) Beware: The FTC Is Coming for Your M&A Non-Competes

Procurement Collusion Strike Force

The Procurement Collusion Strike Force, formed by the Department of Justice in 2019, is ramping up enforcement pressures against government contractors. The Strike Force brings together the DOJ Antitrust Division criminal offices, state Attorneys General, and federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Federal Trade Commission.[1] The Strike Force is an effort to crack down on anticompetitive activities in public procurement, which the DOJ views as particularly susceptible to the costs of collusive activity.[2] The Department was already devoting significant resources to public procurement crimes,[3] and the Strike Force represents an intensified, all-hands approach to enforcement.
Continue Reading Government Contractors Facing Increased Antitrust Scrutiny

As it continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector will face increased antitrust scrutiny from the Biden administration, with the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) (together the “Agencies”) as the Agencies ramp up their reviews not just of “horizontal” transactions (i.e., deals between competitors), but also of “vertical” transactions (i.e., deals that combine market participants at different levels of the healthcare industry, such as payors, hospitals, and physician practices).
Continue Reading Vertical Deals in Healthcare: Key Antitrust Takeaways for Private Equity Firms

Make no mistake, the antitrust laws remain in full effect.  The leadership of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) have made clear that these enforcers “stand ready to pursue civil violations of the antitrust laws, which include agreements between individuals and business to restrain competition through increased prices, lower wages, decreased output, or reduced quality as well as efforts by monopolists to use their market power to engage in exclusionary conduct.” The DOJ also promised to vigorously monitor and prosecute any criminal violations of the antitrust laws, “which typically involve agreements or conspiracies between individuals or businesses to fix prices or wages, rig bids, or allocate markets.” In fact, the DOJ has drafted proposed legislation to allow more time for its criminal cases by tolling the statute of limitations for criminal antitrust violations for no less than 180 days and until 60 days after termination of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020.
Continue Reading Speeding Up and Slowing Down Antitrust Reviews – How the Federal Antitrust Agencies Are Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis

On May 7, 2019, The Governor of the State of Washington signed into law Substitute House Bill 1607 (“HB 1607”) – a first-of-its-kind premerger notification requirement covering healthcare transactions closing on or after January 1, 2020. HB 1607 is a timely reminder that state attorneys general have not hesitated in recent years to enforce both federal and their own state antitrust laws when a transaction poses local anticompetitive concerns.
Continue Reading The State of Washington Has Another Arrow in its Healthcare Antitrust Quiver: State Healthcare Antitrust Enforcement in the Spotlight

On January 23, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (“Third Circuit”) issued an opinion denying the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the right to recover attorney’s fees after it had successfully blocked a hospital merger. The Third Circuit determined that the state had no federal statutory basis to be awarded attorney’s fees since the injunction had been granted under Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”), which does not provide for attorneys’ fees, rather than Section 16 of the Clayton Act.

This case establishes binding precedent in the Third Circuit that state attorneys general will only have standing to seek attorneys’ fees in antitrust actions under the Clayton Act when the state actually litigates the case under that section. It also potentially has broader implications if other circuits decide to look to this decision as persuasive authority when deciding similar cases in their jurisdictions.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Rejects State’s Bid for Attorney’s Fees in Hospital Merger Dispute

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

On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court decided Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277, holding that 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees around the nation could not bring discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Wal-Mart on a classwide basis, because the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(2) were not satisfied. The decision is yet another major decision from the Court this term relating to class actions. (See, e.g., AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, No. 09-893 (U.S. Apr. 27, 2011)). The Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart clarifies the "rigorous analysis" that courts must conduct under Rule 23, and reaffirms that the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. section 2072(b), cannot be applied in a way that changes substantive rights. Wal-Mart gives antitrust defendants additional potential ammunition to defeat class certification, but it remains to be seen how courts will apply Wal-Mart to a Rule 23(b)(3) antitrust class action instead of a Rule 23(b)(2) Title VII discrimination class action.
 Continue Reading Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Implications For Antitrust Class Actions

On June 20, 2011, the United States Supreme Court decided Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277, holding that 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees around the nation could not bring discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Wal-Mart on a classwide basis, because the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(2) were not satisfied. The decision is yet another major decision from the Court this term relating to class actions. (See, e.g., AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, No. 09-893 (U.S. Apr. 27, 2011)). The Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart clarifies the "rigorous analysis" that courts must conduct under Rule 23, and reaffirms that the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. section 2072(b), cannot be applied in a way that changes substantive rights. Wal-Mart gives antitrust defendants additional potential ammunition to defeat class certification, but it remains to be seen how courts will apply Wal-Mart to a Rule 23(b)(3) antitrust class action instead of a Rule 23(b)(2) Title VII discrimination class action.
 Continue Reading Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Implications For Antitrust Class Actions