Antitrust Law Blog

Current Antitrust & Competition News & Regulatory Developments

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On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) voted 3-2 to issue its final rule (“Final Rule”) banning employers from imposing noncompete clauses on their workers, approving the final rule in a special Open Commission Meeting. 
Continue Reading FTC Votes to Ban Noncompete Agreements

Parties involved in or considering health care transactions in California have been focused on navigating the new rules set by California’s Office of Health Care Affordability (OHCA),[1] and newly proposed legislation could present additional challenges in consummating certain health care transactions, particularly those involving private equity. Introduced in February 2024, California’s Assembly Bill 3129 seeks to curb consolidation in the health care industry allegedly driven by private equity firms and hedge funds. As summarized in greater detail below, the bill would require that these parties obtain prior written consent from California’s Attorney General (AG) before an acquisition or change
Continue Reading California’s AB 3129: A New Hurdle for Private Equity Health Care Transactions on the Horizon?

As part of its European Economic Security Package, the European Commission (‘Commission’) has recently proposed a number of legislative proposals and White Papers intended to better protect Europe’s strategic interests. We have covered the wider initiative here.
Continue Reading The EU Commission Gets Serious About Foreign Direct Investment Screening

On December 18, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice (the “Agencies”) jointly issued Final Merger Guidelines, following a public comment period on the Proposed Merger Guidelines first issued in July. The Final Merger Guidelines update and replace the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines and the rescinded 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. The Final Merger Guidelines kept important components from the Proposed Merger Guidelines (e.g., lower thresholds rendering certain transactions presumptively illegal, focus on cumulative effects of multiple acquisitions, etc.). Among the most significant developments from prior iterations of the merger guidelines are the adoption of a market share
Continue Reading The Wait is Over: DOJ and FTC Issue Final Merger Guidelines

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a press release highlighting recent and forthcoming actions by the FTC, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which they say will further promote competition, thereby lowering costs and increasing the quality of care in the U.S. health care market. In addition to highlighting recent actions by each of the agencies (e.g., the FTC’s proposed non-compete rule), the release states that the three agencies are entering into new partnerships to increase interagency cooperation and advance a “whole-of-government” approach to protect health care competition, including:
Continue Reading FTC, DOJ, and HHS Announce Interagency Initiatives to Promote Healthcare Competition

This blog article is relevant to all companies which are parties to a vertical agreement (i.e. an agreement entered into between two parties operating at different levels of trade – typically distribution agreements) concerning the sale or purchase of products or services in the European Union/European Economic Area.
Continue Reading Non-Exclusive: Dual Distribution and Exclusivity

On June 27, 2023, the FTC and DOJ (together the “Agencies”) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposing extensive revisions to both the rules that implement the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (the “Act” or “HSR Act”) and the Premerger Notification and Report Form (the “Form”) that merging parties must submit under the Act. Our previous analysis of the NPRM is covered here.
Continue Reading Mergers & Acquisitions Update: A Closer Look at the Impact of the FTC and DOJ’s Proposed HSR Act Filing Reform on Private Equity Firms

On September 21, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) and U.S. Anesthesia Partners, Inc. (USAP), in the Southern District of Texas, alleging the two companies “[e]xecuted a multi-year anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas, drive up the price of anesthesia services provided to Texas patients, and boost their own profits.”
Continue Reading FTC Sues Private Equity Firm and Anesthesiology Practice for Antitrust Violations

On August 16, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“the FTC”) marked its first enforcement action of the prohibitions on interlocking directorates under Section 8 of the Clayton Act in over 40 years. Section 8 prohibits an officer or director of one firm from simultaneously serving as an officer or director of a competing firm under most circumstances.[1] The FTC accepted for public comment a consent order conditioning the 5.2 billion dollar cash‑and-stock deal between two rival natural gas producers on preventing “entanglements between the two companies and the exchange of confidential, competitively sensitive information.” Under the consent order, Quantum
Continue Reading Antitrust Enforcement Agencies Continue to Target Interlocking Directorate Arrangements

As generative AI becomes an increasingly integral part of the modern economy, antitrust and consumer protection agencies continue to raise concerns about the technology’s potential to promote unfair methods of competition. Federal Trade Commission (“the FTC”) Chair Lina Khan recently warned on national news that “AI could be used to turbocharge fraud and scams” and the FTC is watching to ensure large companies do not use AI to “squash competition.”[1] The FTC has recently written numerous blogs on the subject,[2] signaling its intent to “use [the FTC’s] full range of tools to identify and address unfair methods of
Continue Reading AI Under the Antitrust Microscope: Competition Enforcers Focusing on Generative AI from All Angles

On 12 July 2023, the new EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (“FSR”) started applying to all non-EU and EU companies and all sectors of the economy. FSR filled a regulatory gap which existed since 1958. The European Commission (the “Commission”) is vested by FSR with wide investigative and decisional powers to prevent any distortions in the EU internal market caused by “foreign subsidies” (“FS”) granted by non-EU countries.
Continue Reading The EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation: New Rules for All Companies Active in the EU

On July 19, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice jointly published long-anticipated proposed merger guidelines (the “Proposed Merger Guidelines”), which had been expected since President Biden issued an Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy in the summer of 2021. According to the agencies, the Proposed Merger Guidelines “build upon, expand, and clarify” the prior guidance,[1] to keep up with “modern” market realities.[2] In contrast to the previous versions, the Proposed Merger Guidelines cover both horizontal and vertical mergers. They also cite case law for the first time.[3] Reflecting the Biden Administration’s views
Continue Reading A Big Deal: FTC and DOJ Issue Long-Awaited New Draft Merger Guidelines

The FTC announced today a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”)[1] proposing extensive revisions to both the rules that implement the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (the “Act” or “HSR Act”), and the Premerger Notification and Report Form (the “Form”) that merging parties must submit under the Act. The NPRM would also implement the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022. 
Continue Reading Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: FTC Proposes to Redesign and Dramatically Expand the Scope of the HSR Act Filing Process

It has been another busy year for the Department of Justice’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF). Formed in 2019, the Department of Justice created the PCSF, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. The PCSF is a constellation of partnerships among the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, multiple U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Inspectors General for multiple federal agencies working together to crack down
Continue Reading Government Contracting Companies Beware: DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force is Global, Growing, and Going Strong

On June 2nd, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“the FTC”) announced modifications to its in-house adjudicative proceedings. Under these new rules, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) presiding over an administrative hearing can only issue “recommended” decisions that are reviewed automatically by the FTC Commissioners (the “Commission”). The Commission, during their now-automatic review, may affirm the recommended decision in full or reject the decision, in whole or in part, and issue its own decision adopting different findings of fact or conclusions of law. Before the Commission acts on an ALJ’s recommended decision, it must provide the parties with an opportunity to
Continue Reading FTC Modifies Role of Administrative Judges Amid Heightened Agency Scrutiny