HSR Informal Interpretations
Each year, the Premerger Notification Office ("PNO") answers thousands of letters and emails regarding the HSR rules, giving informal advice on the potential reportability of transactions and on completion of the Notification and Report Form. This database of informal interpretations is a reference tool for others with similar questions. Each letter and email is available as a text searchable HTML file, with an image of the original document in PDF format. The PNO updates the database monthly.
For a chronological index showing the most recent monthly updates, please click here.
Searching the Database: The informal interpretations database uses a Google search engine, which scans the text of the HTML file based on search terms, such as rule numbers, keywords, and dates. For instance, if you are looking for information on non-corporate entities, search terms may be “801.50”, “non-corporate”, and/or “interests” combined with a year, such as 2008. You may enter search terms in the box below or, if you would like to conduct an advanced search, go to the advanced search function at the top right of this page and be sure to limit your search to HSR Informal Interpretations in the Collections drop-down menu.
Note on Searching by Date: The best way to find letters from a particular year is to enter a search term and the year in the search box on this page. For example, if you enter “802.4 2008”, you will generate a list of inquiries regarding Rule 802.4 from 2008. Note that results are not displayed in chronological order. To find the most recent interpretations, use the file name (which can be found in the URL for each informal interpretation) as a reference. Each document in the database is assigned a unique file name derived from its date. For instance, the file name for an email from April 2007 is 0704010: the first two numbers indicate the year, the second two numbers indicate the month, and the last three numbers indicate the chronological order of the document. In this example, the email was the tenth item posted to the database in April 2007.
Redaction Policy: To protect the confidentiality of the parties seeking an informal interpretation, the letters have been redacted pursuant to one of two FOIA Exemptions: Exemption 3 [5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(3) (citing Section 7A(h) of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 18a(h) or Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §46(f))] or Exemption 4 [5 U.S.C. §552(b)(4)]. Any hand-written notes from PNO staff have been transcribed into each letter. If the document contains unreadable text, refer to the PDF version for clarification. For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions.
Limits to the Database: The informal interpretations in the database provide guidance from previous staff interpretations on the applicability of the HSR rules to specific fact situations. You should not rely on them as a substitute for reading the Act and the Rules themselves, but rather as a supplement that may address specific questions. If you have questions or would like to confirm that the letter or email you have found reflects the current view of the PNO, contact the PNO staff for assistance.
Disclaimer: While these letters and emails are made available for public inspection and copying pursuant to 5 USC § 552(a)(2), the FTC does not warrant or represent that (a) the letter and email database contains all letters and emails, (b) the letters and emails in the database are accurate and complete, (c) the letters and emails accurately state the advice given to the writer by the PNO staff, or (d) the letters and emails represent the current views of the PNO staff. The FTC is not liable or responsible for any misinterpretations of the HSR rules based upon reliance on this database, or resulting from any inaccuracies, errors, changes, or updates.
All materials on the site are presented by the FTC for general informational purposes only. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice.
The FTC expressly disclaims all responsibility and liability arising from your use of or reliance on the letter and email database as a reference source. The FTC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, that using the letter database or the site will assist you in any way, whether in the practice of law or for any other purpose.