FTC launches first Web API to make Early Terminations more accessible

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An important aspect of the FTC’s Premerger Notification Program is the granting of early terminations. Any person filing an HSR form may request that the waiting period be terminated before the statutory waiting period expires, allowing the parties to consummate their deal. Such a request for “early termination” (ET) is granted only if both the FTC and Department of Justice Antitrust Division complete their review and determine not to take any enforcement action during the waiting period.

The FTC publishes an online notification of early terminations that have been granted, which is updated almost every weekday and consistently ranks among the most-viewed pages on FTC.gov.

To make this data even more accessible, we now also offer the Early Termination Notices via a Web API (Application Programming Interface) endpoint.

An API is a means of offering a dataset so web developers can query, gather, and manipulate the data via their own applications or systems. Federal government agencies are encouraged to take a machine-readable approach to providing information by making high-value data and content available through Web APIs, supporting open standards and interoperability. Providing this information through Web APIs makes data assets freely available for use within agencies, between agencies, in the private sector, and by citizens.

Purpose of the Early Termination Notices API Endpoint

The Early Termination Notices API endpoint enables developers to show real-time or historical ETs data on websites, mobile apps, or other computer programs. For example, a developer could choose to create a filterable search on an external website that would allow users of that site to manipulate the data in real time without requiring users to download a standalone CSV file containing the data. The API gives developers access to not just the most recent notices, but also historical notices going back to January, 1999.

Developers who wish to use the Early Termination Notices API endpoint can find the technical details on our site.

Compliance with FTC Goals and President’s Management Agenda

The creation of this Web API helps the FTC comply with laws and directives that require agencies to offer their data and content in machine readable formats. The launch of the FTC Web API and Early Termination Notices API endpoint aligns with the FTC’s goals as established in its 2016 Open Government Plan and with the FTC’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan’s objective to provide consumers and businesses with knowledge and tools that provide guidance and prevent harm.

The launch of this API endpoint and the FTC’s ongoing efforts to robustly share data and content aligns with the President’s Management Agenda, released by the Office of Management and Budget in March 2018. Data, accountability and transparency is one of the agenda’s three drivers of government transformation (see page 17 of agenda PDF), providing tools to deliver results to the public and hold agencies accountable to taxpayers.

More About Early Termination Data

Early termination notices list the identifying number, date of early termination, acquiring person, acquired person, and any acquired entities. It’s important to note that not all filed transactions request or are granted ET.

In some instances, after an investigation involving a Request for Additional Information and Documentary Material (Second Request) has been issued, the investigating agency will determine that no further action is necessary and terminate the waiting period before full compliance with the Second Request is made. A grant of ET may also be made after the parties agree to a consent order with the investigating Agency, whether or not there was Second Request compliance.

The list of transactions that have been granted early termination is only a subset of the transactions filed each year. Generally, the fact that a filing has been made is confidential by statute. Only if one (or both) of the parties to the transaction has requested ET, and that request has been granted, will notice be made. If neither party requests early termination, or the request is not granted, the fact that a filing has been made will remain confidential.

Interested parties may also monitor the FTC’s Twitter feed to find out when new notices have been published. They are also available via an RSS feed.

Plans for Future FTC API endpoints

The work done to build this API lays the foundation for seizing more opportunities to produce machine-readable and accessible FTC content for the public and government agencies through the addition of more endpoints. Future API endpoints could involve sharing data related to Do Not Call or syndicating consumer and business education content to broaden its dissemination. We’re interested in hearing your ideas for future API endpoints to enable wider sharing of FTC data and information. Please email us.

More FTC Data on Data.gov

The FTC has also increased the number of datasets it provides to the public on Data.gov, the federal government’s open government portal, and has improved and standardized its pages on data.gov. Additional information on the FTC’s commitment to open government principles can be found on our Open Government page.

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