April 16, 1998

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The Federal Trade Commission today published in the Federal Register a final rule amending its procedures related to applications for prior approval of divestitures, acquisitions, or similar transactions subject to Commission review under outstanding consent orders.

The changes to Rule 2.41(f) and to Rule 4.9 clarify the nature of the materials that will be placed on the public record in prior approval proceedings, clarify the timing of such placement, and provide that, in appropriate cases, the Commission may shorten, eliminate, extend or reopen a comment period.

Specifically, amended rule 2.41(f)(1) replaces the requirement that prior approval applications under that rule be placed on the public record "together with supporting materials." The revised rule states that applications shall "fully describe the terms of the transaction and shall set forth why the transaction merits Commission approval." It further provides that, subject to confidentiality determinations, such applications shall be placed on the public record together with any additional applicant submissions for which the Commission directs such placement. The revised rule also will allow the Commission to shorten or eliminate the 30-day public comment period for a prior approval application. For example, the Commission might shorten or eliminate a comment period if it had previously sought comment on a similar or identical proposal. In addition, the amendments include conforming changes to Rule 4.9, which identifies the materials that are placed routinely on the Commission's public record.

The Commission vote to approve the final rule was 5-0. Staff contact is Marc Winerman, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2451.

Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

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