9710039

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BEFORE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

In the Matter of

FASTLINE PUBLICATIONS, INC., and MID-AMERICA EQUIPMENT RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, corporations.

File No. 971-0039

AGREEMENT CONTAINING CONSENT ORDER TO CEASE AND DESIST

The Federal Trade Commission, having initiated an investigation of certain acts and practices of Fastline Publications, Inc. ("Fastline"), and Mid-America Equipment Retailers Association ("Mid-America"), hereinafter sometimes referred to as "proposed respondents," and it now appearing that the proposed respondents are willing to enter into an agreement containing an order to cease and desist from use of the acts and practices being investigated and providing for other relief:


IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between proposed respondents and their attorneys, and counsel for the Federal Trade Commission that:

1. Proposed respondent Fastline is a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Kentucky, with its principal office and place of business located at 4900 Fox Run Road, Buckner, Kentucky 40010.

2. Proposed respondent Mid-America Equipment Retailers Association is a corporation organized, existing, and doing business under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Indiana with its principal office and place of business located at 9800 Association Court, Indianapolis, Indiana 46280.

3. Proposed respondents admit all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the draft of complaint here attached.

4. Proposed respondents waive:

(a) any further procedural steps;

(b) the requirement that the Commission's decision contain a statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law;

(c) all rights to seek judicial review or otherwise to challenge or contest the validity of the order entered pursuant to this agreement; and

(d) any claim under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

5. This agreement shall not become part of the public record of the proceeding unless and until it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission it, together with the draft of complaint contemplated thereby, will be placed on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days and information with respect thereto publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify proposed respondents, in which event it will take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its complaint (in such form as the circumstances may require) and decision, in disposition of the proceeding.

6. This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by proposed respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in the draft of complaint here attached, or that the facts as alleged in the draft complaint, other than jurisdictional facts, are true.

7. This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if such acceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of 2.34 of the Commission's Rules, the Commission may, without further notice to proposed respondents, (1) issue its complaint corresponding in form and substance with the draft of complaint here attached and its decision containing the following order to cease and desist in disposition of the proceeding and (2) make information public in respect thereto. When so entered, the order shall have the same force and effect and may be altered, modified or set aside in the same manner and within the same time provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service. Delivery by the U.S. Postal Service of the complaint and decision containing the agreed-to order to proposed respondents' addresses or their attorneys' addresses as stated in this agreement shall constitute service. Proposed respondents waive any right they may have to any other manner of service. The complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order, and no agreement, understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.

8. Proposed respondents have read the proposed complaint and the order contemplated hereby. They understand that once the order has been issued, they will be required to file one or more compliance reports showing that they have fully complied with the order. Proposed respondents further understand that they may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by law for each violation of the order after it becomes final. Proposed respondents agree to be bound by the terms of the proposed order pending its final approval by the Commission.

ORDER

I.

IT IS ORDERED that, for purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:

A. "Fastline" means Fastline Publications, Inc., its directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns; its subsidiaries, divisions, groups and affiliates controlled by Fastline, and the respective directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, successors, and assigns of each.

B. "Mid-America" means Mid-America Equipment Retailers Association, its directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns; its subsidiaries, divisions, groups and affiliates controlled by Mid-America, and the respective directors, officers, employees, agents and representatives, successors, and assigns of each.

C. "Person" means any natural person, corporation, partnership, unincorporated association, or other entity.

D. "Fastline Farm" means the Fastline buying guide for new and used farm equipment and parts. "Fastline Farm Edition" means each separate edition (e.g., Fastline Kentucky Farm Edition) of Fastline Farm.

E. "Commission" means the Federal Trade Commission.

II.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mid-America, directly or indirectly, or through any corporate or other device, in or in connection with its activities as a trade association, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C.  44, shall forthwith cease and desist from:

A. Prohibiting, restricting, regulating, impeding, declaring unethical, or interfering with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person.

B. Carrying out, participating in, inducing, suggesting, urging, encouraging, or assisting in any boycott or threatened boycott of, or concerted refusal to deal with, any newspaper, periodical, publication, television station, radio station or other medium (including, but not limited to, the internet) regarding the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts.

III.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Fastline, directly or indirectly, or through any corporate or other device, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C.  44, shall forthwith cease and desist from agreeing or combining, attempting to agree or combine, or taking any action in furtherance of any agreement or combination with any other person to prohibit, restrict, regulate, impede, or interfere with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person.

PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that nothing contained in this order shall prohibit Fastline from formulating, adopting, disseminating to its advertisers, and enforcing reasonable guidelines with respect to representations that Fastline reasonably believes would be false or deceptive within the meaning of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

IV.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mid-America:

A. Within sixty (60) days after the date this order becomes final, amend its by-laws to incorporate by reference Paragraph II of this order, and distribute by first-class mail a copy of the amended by-laws to each of its members;

B. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its current officers and directors, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Mid-America whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

C. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute by-first class mail a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its members;

D. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, and within thirty (30) days of the date the person assumes such position, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each new officer and director of Mid-America, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Mid-America whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order; and

E. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, provide each new member with a copy of the complaint and order in this matter, and the amended by-laws, within thirty (30) days of the new member's admission to Mid-America.

V.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Fastline shall:

A. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each of its current officers and directors, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Fastline whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

B. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final, and within thirty (30) days of the date the person assumes such position, distribute a copy of the complaint and order in this matter to each new officer and director of Fastline, and to each other agent, representative, or employee of Fastline whose activities are affected by this order, or who have responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order;

C. Within thirty (30) days after the date this order becomes final publish, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a copy of the NOTICE in the Attachment to this order in the next scheduled issue of each Fastline Farm Edition; and

D. For a period of five (5) years after the date this order becomes final publish, in a clear and conspicuous manner, a copy of the NOTICE in the Attachment to this order in the February issue of each Fastline Farm Edition, or in the next issue of each Fastline Farm Edition in the event no Fastline Farm Edition is published in February.

VI.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each respondent shall file a verified written report with the Commission within sixty (60) days after the date this order becomes final, and annually thereafter for five (5) years on the anniversary of the date this order becomes final, and at such other times as the Commission may by written notice require, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which the respondent has complied with and is complying with this order.

VII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the respondents shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any proposed change in any corporate respondent, such as dissolution, assignment, sale or reorganization resulting in the emergence of a successor corporation or association, or the creation or dissolution of subsidiaries, or any other change in the corporation that may affect compliance obligations arising under this order.

VIII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that each respondent shall, for the purpose of determining or securing compliance with this order, and subject to any legally recognized privilege, permit duly authorized Commission representatives:

A. Access during respondent's office hours, in the presence of counsel, to inspect any facilities and to inspect and copy all books, ledgers, accounts, correspondence, memoranda, reports, and other records and documents in respondent's possession or control that relate to any matter contained in this order; and

B. An opportunity, subject to respondent's reasonable convenience, to interview respondent, and officers, directors, employees, agents, or other representatives of respondent, who may have counsel present, regarding such matters.

IX.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date of its issuance.

Signed this day of , 19 .

FASTLINE PUBLICATIONS, INC.
BY:

William G. Howard
President

John S. Reed
Reed Weitkamp Shell Cox & Vice
2400 Citizens Plaza
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Counsel for Respondent Fastline

MID-AMERICA EQUIPMENT RETAILERS ASSOCIATION
BY:

David Lucy
Executive Vice President

Ronald C. Smith
Stewart & Irwin
251 East Ohio Street, Ste. 1100
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Counsel for Respondent Mid-America

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
BY:

Nicholas J. Franczyk
Evan Siegel
Attorneys

APPROVED:

C. Steven Baker
Director
Chicago Regional Office

Willard K. Tom
Acting Deputy Director
Bureau of Competition

William J. Baer
Director
Bureau of Competition

Attachment to Consent Order to Cease and Desist

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PRICE ADVERTISING IN FASTLINE

As a result of discussions with the Federal Trade Commission, Fastline Publications, Inc., has entered into an order prohibiting it from agreeing, attempting to agree, or taking any action in furtherance of any agreement with any other person, including, but not limited to, any other person who advertises in Fastline, to prohibit, restrict, regulate, impede, or interfere with the advertising of prices or other terms or conditions of sale for farm equipment or parts by any person. The order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a violation by Fastline. Copies of the order can be obtained by contacting Fastline.