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Joe Simons, Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition, today announced the formation of the Merger Litigation Task Force, which will be headed by Michael Cowie, an Assistant Director in the Bureau of Competition. The Task Force will be responsible for reinvigorating the Commission's hospital merger program, which includes a review of, and potential challenge to, consummated transactions that may have resulted in anticompetitive price increases. The Task Force also will focus on merger enforcement in the retail industry, particularly regarding matters involving food, beverages, and supermarkets.

"Personnel in the new task force have been responsible for pursuing the agency's actions in some of the Commission's recent notable cases, including baby food (Heinz/Beech Nut), pet food (Nestle/Ralston Purina), and distilled spirits (Diageo/Vivendi)," Simons said. "I expect that, under the leadership of Mike Cowie, they will continue with increasing effectiveness to review and, if necessary, to recommend challenges to transactions that may harm consumers."

The FTC's Bureau of Competition seeks to prevent business practices that restrain competition. The Bureau carries out its mission by investigating alleged law violations and, when appropriate, recommending that the Commission take formal enforcement action. To notify the Bureau concerning particular business practices, call or write the Office of Policy and Evaluation, Room 394, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, Electronic Mail:; Telephone (202) 326-3300. For more information on the laws that the Bureau enforces, the Commission has published "Promoting Competition, Protecting Consumers: A Plain English Guide to Antitrust Laws," which can be accessed at

Contact Information

Cathy MacFarlane,
Office of Public Affairs
Michael G. Cowie, Assistant Director,
Merger Litigation Task Force