This post updates one we did over a year ago analyzing antitrust reverse breakup fees in public deals since January 1, 2005.
An antitrust reverse termination fee (ARTF), sometimes called an antitrust reverse breakup fee, is a fee payable by the buyer to the seller if and only if the deal cannot close because the necessary antitrust approvals or clearances have not been obtained. The idea behind an antitrust reverse termination fee is twofold: (1) it provides a financial incentive to the buyer to propose curative divestitures or other solutions to satisfy the competitive concerns of the antitrust reviewing authorities and so permit the deal to close, and (2) it provides the seller with some compensation in the event the deal does not close for antitrust reasons.
Our sample now covers 760 strategic negotiated transactions announced between January 1, 2005, and May 1, 2014. Of these, 79 transactions, or about 9.8% of the total, had antitrust reverse termination fees. The fees were very idiosyncratic and showed no statistically significant relationship to the transaction value of the deal or trend over time, with fees ranging from a low of 0.1% to a high of 39.8%. The average antitrust reverse termination fee for the sample was 5.8% of the transaction value, although several high percentage fees skewed the distribution to the high end. A better indicator may be the median, which was 4.3% of the transaction value.
The chart below gives the number of transactions by the size of the antitrust reverse termination fee as a percentage of the transaction value.
NB: The percentage intervals on the horizontal axis are not of equal size.
This chart gives the number of transaction by year with antitrust reverse termination fees.
Significantly, of the 72 completed transactions with an antitrust reverse termination fee, 50 were cleared without any antitrust challenge. One transaction (AT&T/T-Mobile) was terminated in the course of litigation with the Antitrust Division, 19 were subject to only a DOJ or FTC consent order, one (Boston Scientific/Guidant) was subject to both an FTC consent order and EC undertakings, and one (Federated/May) was subject to an assurance agreement with a group of state attorneys general.
Antitrust Reverse Termination Fees--2014 Update