About 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.

The Filters box can be used to find specific content. The Keyword field searches the title/file name (see the next paragraph for details), and the other Filter fields search the content of those particular fields as displayed in the list of informal interpretations.

Note on Searching by Date: The best way to find letters from a particular year is to enter information into the Filters box on this page. For example, if you enter “802.4” in the Rule field and “2008” in the Date field, you will generate a list of inquiries regarding Rule 802.4 from 2008. 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. To search by file name, enter it (e.g., “0704010”) into the Keyword field.

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.