Last week, Fortiline settled charges that it invited a competing seller of ductile iron pipe (DIP) to fix prices. This is the first case in which the FTC has challenged an invitation to collude by a firm that is in both a horizontal relationship (i.e., direct competitor) and a vertical relationship (i.e., manufacturer-distributor) with the invitee.
Today the FTC and DOJ released the 38th Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report, which details the agencies’ merger review and enforcement program for Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015). This report, like the 37 previous versions, is a snapshot of one year’s worth of HSR filings, Second Requests and merger enforcement actions, including HSR compliance and merger cases filed by the agencies in federal court.
I am happy to announce that Chuck Loughlin will replace Tara Reinhart as Chief Trial Counsel for the Bureau when Tara leaves the Commission later this week. Chuck joined the Bureau in September 2015, as the Deputy Chief Trial Counsel of the litigation group, bringing over 20 years of experience in antitrust litigation, first at Howrey LLP and then at Baker Botts, where he was a partner in the antitrust group.
Look at any recent merger settlement accepted by the Commission and the answer is clear: An acceptable merger remedy must eliminate the potential for anticompetitive effects that would likely occur if the merger were to proceed. Typically this means creating another competitor to take the place of one of the merging companies so that customers are not harmed by the merger. In short, a merger remedy must fix the specific competitive problems created by the merger.
As we head into the dog days of summer, I am delighted to share some recent management changes in the Bureau.
Last year, federal agencies, including the FTC, were instructed to adjust the maximum civil penalties for violations of laws they enforce. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 requires agencies to adjust penalty amounts using the “catch-up” inflation adjustment methodology contained in the Act.
Looking for ways to celebrate the summer solstice? Tune in to the FTC's workshop on competition and consumer protection issues in solar energy. Tomorrow, on June 21, scientists, academics, regulators, and other industry experts will come together for a series of presentations and roundtables to discuss:
The legal services marketplace, like many sectors of the economy, is experiencing dynamic change. Among other things, clients have demanded more cost-effective and efficient services, and legal services providers increasingly use computer technologies to deliver their services. Dynamic changes in the legal services marketplace continue to raise questions about how to define the scope of the licensed practice of law.
The PNO handles Hart-Scott-Rodino Premerger Notification Filings for well over a thousand transactions each year. Each transaction requires the acquiring person to pay an HSR filing fee, which must be paid within two days of filing an HSR Form in order for the HSR waiting period to begin. If payment isn’t received on time, the PNO will "bounce" the filing as incomplete and delay the start of the waiting period.
The FTC has recently made some changes that will make it easier to get your HSR filing fee to the agency. This blog provides an overview of what’s new.
Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act and Rules, determining whether a U.S. entity is a corporation or a non-corporate entity (like an LLC or LP) is relatively clear. For foreign entities, the answer is often not so clear. Yet this determination can have important implications for HSR reportability and the applicability of certain exemptions (e.g., 16 CFR §§ 802.9, 802.51).
Now available on the FTC website: the Bureau of Competition’s Health Care Division has posted updated versions of our three overviews of FTC enforcement actions and policy work in the health care sector undertaken across the Bureau. Together, these documents contain hundreds of pages of detailed summaries of four decades of FTC efforts to promote competition in healthcare markets – which make them invaluable resources for health care antitrust practitioners, market participants, and other stakeholders.
Most mergers reviewed by the Commission involve the acquisition of an entire company, or an identifiable set of assets – that is, the buyer seeks to control the assets of the seller through an acquisition. But sometimes companies acquire only a partial interest in a competitor – and such an interest, even a minority interest, can raise antitrust concerns, too.
Look up and you just might see one: solar panels are on top of more homes and businesses than ever before. Around the country, rooftop solar is an increasingly important source of electricity. For many customers with solar panels, solar power provides most of their electricity; many even sell power back to the power company.
Recently, President Obama issued a call to all executive departments and agencies “to promote competition, arm consumers and workers with the information they need to make informed choices, and eliminate regulations that restrict competition without corresponding benefits to the American public.” We here at the Federal Trade Commission are uniquely positioned to help in this effort.
Once a year, the ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting presents the perfect occasion to take stock of the Bureau’s work. This has been an especially busy year for the Bureau of Competition, requiring extraordinary effort from our attorneys and support staff to keep up with the unprecedented litigation workload. As of today, we have multiple merger challenges in various stages of active litigation, as well as three federal court cases involving reverse patent settlements or sham litigation.
For more than 15 years, one of the FTC’s top priorities has been to put an end to anticompetitive reverse-payment settlements between brand-name drug makers and their potential generic rivals. In our view, these settlements are anticompetitive agreements not to compete in which the brand pays the generic to refrain from marketing a lower cost, generic product for a period of time.
Ten years ago this month, the FTC and DOJ issued the Commentary on the Horizontal Merger Guidelines.
“Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women. There is so much yet to be done.” – Suffragist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
The consumer movement, trust-busting, the women’s movement, and the work of the FTC have traveled parallel (and often intersecting) paths. Women’s History Month offers us a chance to consider the contribution women have made to the mission of the FTC and the unprecedented moment in women’s history we’re witnessing at the FTC today.
There is a basic but important difference between antitrust cases brought by the government and those brought by private parties: All plaintiffs, including government enforcers like the FTC, must prove an antitrust violation, which requires showing harm to competition. But private plaintiffs must make an additional showing: to establish antitrust ‘standing,’ private plaintiffs must prove that the antitrust violation caused harm to them.
When Congress passed the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, it created minimum dollar thresholds to limit the burden of premerger reporting. In 2000, it amended the HSR statute to require the annual adjustment of these thresholds based on the change in gross national product. As a result, reportability under the Act changes from year to year as the statutory thresholds adjust. The PNO fields many questions about the upcoming adjustments to the HSR thresholds from parties whose transactions may take place around the time of the revisions.