Announced Actions for February 15, 2000

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Applications for approval of transactions:

The Commission has received a petition from the following entity for approval of a transaction: El Paso Energy Corporation. In its petition, El Paso has requested approval to sell its 33.3 percent membership interest in Destin Pipeline, L.L.C., as detailed in a consent agreement reached with the Commission, to Amoco Destin Pipeline Company, an entity controlled by BP/Amoco.

The FTC is seeking public comment on this petition for 30 days, until March 16, 2000. Comments should be sent to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (FTC File No. 911-0178; C-3915; staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526; see press release dated October 22, 1999.)

Motion to reopen and modify consent order:

The Commission has voted to reopen and modify an existing consent order in the following matter: Digital Equipment Corporation (Compaq Computer Corporation).

Compaq had requested that the Commission reopen and modify its July 14, 1998 decision and order to set aside the requirement in Paragraph II that the petitioner license its Alpha microprocessor architecture to Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., or to another licensee that receives the Commission's prior approval. The Commission's initial decision was designed to address antitrust concerns arising from Digital's sale of certain semiconductor business assets to Intel Corporation, including a microprocessor manufacturing facility known as Fab 6--the primary manufacturing site for Digital's Alpha microprocessors.  

In voting to approve this matter, the Commission effectively relieved Compaq (successor to respondent Digital Equipment Corporation) of the requirements of Paragraph II. The Commission vote to reopen and modify the consent order was 4-0, with Commissioner Thomas Leary recused.  

In a separate concurring statement, Commissioner Orson Swindle joined in the conclusion that Compaq, the successor to original respondent Digital Equipment, has shown that it is in the public interest to modify the order, setting aside Paragraph II of the 1998 consent. He stated, however, that he did not "fully subscribe to the manner in which my colleagues reached [that result]." Specifically, Swindle wrote, "I have serious questions about the provenance, logic, and utility of the 'affirmative need threshold' in order modifications under the public interest standard. I do not believe that the 'affirmative need' element adds to our evaluation of a petition on public interest grounds ... I cannot help but think that, however unintentionally, the Commission's establishment of an 'affirmative need threshold' must have discouraged some petitioners from seeking potentially meritorious order modifications ... This case represented an excellent opportunity -- one that the Commission missed -- to intensify the natural implication of [the Commission's earlier Schnuck and General Nutrition cases] about the demise of the 'affirmative need threshold.'" (FTC Docket No. C-3818; staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526; see press release dated April 23, 1998.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC Help (877-382-4357); 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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