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DOJ Antitrust Review Changes Unlikely to Make a Difference

December 2018 - Law360
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The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division is seeking to improve its antitrust review process, but there are reasons to be skeptical. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced that the DOJ would seek to resolve most merger "investigations within six months of filing" in a September speech at the 2018 Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium. The announced changes are also intended to reduce the burden of responding to a request for additional information and documentary material, also known as a second request.

Delrahim’s aim is admirable and well-taken: Merger review has grown increasingly burdensome and the results are less predictable. Delrahim quoted then-Assistant Attorney General William Baxter, who defended 1982 merger rules by observing that mergers are "an important and extremely valuable capital market phenomenon, that they are to be in general facilitated, and that it is socially desirable that uncertainty and risk be removed wherever possible to do so, subject, of course, to the very important limitation that where a merger threatens significantly to lessen competition, it should be halted."

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