Encouraging Signals on Merger Review from DOJ’s Antitrust Division

swisherFeatured Expert Column: Antitrust & Competition Policy — U.S. Department of Justice

By Anthony W. Swisher, a Partner in the Washington, DC office of Baker Botts LLP.

Recently, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division gave a speech that offered a new vision for how DOJ approaches the merger review process. The most notable feature of Mr. Delrahim’s speech—certainly the one garnering the most press attention—is his goal of completing Second Request merger investigations in six months.

For those unfamiliar with DOJ antitrust enforcement, a “Second Request” is issued by the DOJ (or the Federal Trade Commission) at the end of the initial 30-calendar-day waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino filing process. A Second Request consists of an extensive list of document and data requests, and frequently includes numerous depositions of company executives. A Second Request often requires the production of millions of documents and terabytes of data. Currently, it is not uncommon for a Second Request investigation to take 12-15 months or more to complete. Mr. Delrahim cited a study that indicated the average time for the agencies to complete a significant merger review has increased by 65% in the last five years. A dedicated effort to shorten this process is welcome indeed. Continue reading “Encouraging Signals on Merger Review from DOJ’s Antitrust Division”