U.S. Antitrust Authorities Issue New Merger Guidelines

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued revised Horizontal Merger Guidelines outlining the agencies' enforcement policies with respect to mergers and acquisitions under the federal antitrust laws.

While not breaking much new ground compared to how the DOJ and FTC have actually been evaluating proposed transactions, this new iteration of the Guidelines provides useful insights into how the regulators frame their evaluation of transactions and warrants close attention by companies considering mergers or acquisitions with competitors or potential competitors.

The new Guidelines substantially downplay the importance of defining markets, focusing instead on direct evidence of anti-competitive effects of proposed transactions. Importantly, the Guidelines also address, for the first time, potential effects of mergers and acquisitions on innovation, which should be of particular importance to high-tech firms.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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