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Analysis

FTC, DOJ Seek Public Input on Vertical Merger Guidelines

By John Commins  
   January 13, 2020

The draft guidelines outline the agencies' analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement for vertical mergers.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division have opened a 30-day window for public comment on draft 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines.

The draft guidelines outline the agencies' analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement for vertical mergers, which combine two or more companies that operate at different levels in the same supply chain.

"While many vertical mergers are competitively beneficial or neutral, both the Department and the Federal Trade Commission have recognized for over 25 years that some vertical transactions can raise serious concern," Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of DOJ's Antitrust Division.

"The revised draft guidelines are based on new economic understandings and the agencies’ experience over the past several decades and better reflect the agencies' actual practice in evaluating proposed vertical mergers," he said.     

In a joint media release, FTC and DOJ said the draft guidelines adopt the principles and analytical frameworks in the agencies’ Horizontal Merger Guidelines. That includes defining a market, creating a framework for evaluating entry considerations, the treatment of the acquisition of a failing firm, and the acquisition of a partial ownership interest.    .

Related: CVS-Aetna Nears Final Judgment Amid Rising Scrutiny of Vertical Deals

Related: Megamergers Take Center Stage in M&A Activity

Related: Should FTC Examine Contracts Between Hospitals, Insurers?

Related: More Aggressive Review of Hospital Mergers Needed, Says FTC Commissioner  

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The draft guidelines adopt the principles and analytical frameworks in the agencies’ Horizontal Merger Guidelines.

That includes defining a market, creating a framework for evaluating entry considerations, the treatment of the acquisition of a failing firm, and the acquisition of a partial ownership interest.  

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