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Commission Announces Revised Filing Thresholds for Clayton Act Antitrust Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission, by a vote of 4-0, has approved a Federal Register notice announcing the revised thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act, which requires premerger notification for certain large transactions. The FTC is required to revise the filing thresholds annually, based on the change in gross national product. Certain related thresholds and limitations in the HSR rules also are adjusted by this notice. This year, the threshold for reporting proposed mergers and acquisitions decreased from $65.2 million to $63.4 million. The additional revised thresholds, which can be found as a link to this press release and on the FTC’s Web site, will apply to all transactions that close on or after the effective date of the notice. The notice will be published in the Federal Register shortly and will become effective 30 days after publication. (FTC File No. P859910; the staff contact is Michael Verne, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3100.)

Also, by a vote of 4-0, the FTC has approved a Federal Register notice announcing the revised thresholds that trigger the prohibition on interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act. The Act requires that the Commission revise those thresholds annually, based on the change in the level of gross national product. The new thresholds are $25,841,000 for Section 8(a)(1) and $2,584,100 for Section 8(a)(2)(A). The notice announcing the revisions will be published in the Federal Register shortly and will be effective upon publication. (FTC File No. P859910; the staff contact is James F. Mongoven, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2879.)

Following Review, Commission Decides to Retain the Amplifier Rule

The Federal Trade Commission announced it will retain an FTC rule put in place in 1974 to help consumers compare audio amplifiers by setting testing and disclosure standards for manufacturers. The FTC reached this decision after completing a periodic regulatory review. The Rule, formally called the “Trade Regulation Rule Relating to Power Output Claims for Amplifiers Utilized in Home Entertainment Products,” and more commonly known as the Amplifier Rule, helps consumers compare the power outputs of competing amplifiers used in home entertainment products.

As part of the review, the FTC considered whether the Rule should be modified to address methods of rating the power output of multichannel “home theater” amplifiers, sometimes marketed as “surround sound.” Based on the comments received, the FTC has determined not to amend the Rule. The FTC has, however, issued guidance concerning the testing requirements under the Rule for measuring power ratings of multichannel amplifiers.

The FTC vote approving the Federal Register notice announcing the retention of the Amplifier Rule was 4-0. The notice can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. P974222; the staff contact is Jock K. Chung, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2984; see related press release dated February 22, 2008.)

FTC Approves Final Consent Orders in Cases Against Six Businesses That Claimed to Comply With an International Privacy Framework

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved final consent orders in the six matters concerning Collectify LLC; Progressive Gaitways, LLC; Onyx Graphics, Inc.; ExpatEdge Partners, LLC; Directors Desk LLC; and World Innovators, Inc. The staff also responded to members of the public who submitted comments in the Directors Desk and World Innovators matters. In each case, the final consent settles charges that the defendants falsely claimed to have complied with the Safe Harbor privacy framework that provides a means for U.S. companies to transfer data from the European Union to the United States, in keeping with EU and U.S. law.

The FTC vote approving each final order was 4-0. (FTC File Nos. 092-3142, 092-3141, 092-3139, 092-3138, 092-3140, and 092-3137; the staff contact is Molly Crawford, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3076; see press release dated October 6, 2009.)

FTC Approves Final Consent Order in Matter Concerning Watson Pharmaceuticals and Arrow Pharmaceuticals

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order regarding Watson Pharmaceuticals’ recent acquisition of Arrow Pharmaceuticals. The final order settles charges that the transaction as it originally was proposed would have harmed consumers by eliminating future competition for important generic drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease and the side effects of chemotherapy.

The FTC vote approving the final order was 3-0, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour not participating. (FTC File No. 091-0116; the staff contact is Stephanie C. Bovee, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2083. See press release dated December 2, 2009.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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