The HSR changes will become effective on or about February 23, 2022 (30 days after the expected official publication date in the Federal Register). The new HSR thresholds will apply to transactions that close on or after that date.
The FTC also recently increased the dollar thresholds under Section 8 of the Clayton Act, which prohibits any person from holding positions as an officer or director of competing corporations engaged in commerce, if the corporations meet certain size thresholds. The new Section 8 thresholds will become effective on or about January 24, 2022 (the expected official publication date in the Federal Register).
HSR Thresholds Raised
As a result of this most recent indexing, the HSR Act now provides that transactions resulting in holdings valued in excess of US$403.9 million among parties engaged in commerce are subject to premerger notification regardless of the size of the parties. Transactions that result in holdings valued in excess of US$101.0 million, but not exceeding US$403.9 million, are reportable only if the acquiring and acquired "persons" meet the “size-of-person” test — meaning either the acquiring or acquired party (together with such other party's affiliates that are under common control for HSR purposes) must have annual net sales or total assets of US$202.0 million or more and the other party (together with such other party's affiliates that are under common control for HSR purposes) must have annual net sales or total assets of US$20.2 million or more. Acquired "persons" not engaged in manufacturing must meet the US$20.2 million test on the basis of the value of their assets alone, if their annual net sales are less than US$202.0 million. (Of course, certain transactions meeting these size thresholds may nevertheless be exempt under the HSR Act.)
The maximum civil penalties for violations of the HSR Act are similarly indexed, and have increased from US$43,792 per day to US$46,517 per day, effective as of January 10, 2022.
The HSR premerger notification program applies to large transactions involving large parties engaged in commerce. Dollar thresholds defining “large” were increased in 2000 from US$15 million to US$50 million and, since 2005, have been indexed to reflect changes in the gross national product (GNP). The following graph illustrates the changes in the HSR minimum size-of-transaction thresholds, as compared to changes in the GNP since 1978, when regulations implementing the HSR Act first went into effect. If the US$15 million minimum size-of-transaction threshold in 1978 had been indexed to changes in the GNP, it would be at approximately US$157 million rather than US$101.0 million.