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FTC Prior Approval Policy Change Raises Antitrust Risks for Buyers and Sellers


Understand the increased burden and risks associated with mergers and acquisitions that may raise a competitive concern.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice have increased their scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions, looking at new theories of harm and seeking ways to address market concentration in every industry. At the same time, and due in part to the backlog of transactions that were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demands on these agencies to review mergers and acquisitions has never been greater. As a result, the federal antitrust enforcers have looked for ways to keep up with the workload without jeopardizing their stated goal of heightened enforcement. Among other things, the FTC has moved to strengthen and streamline the HSR review process and has moved to rescind a policy statement in effect since 1995 addressing the requirement for prior notice and approval in every settlement agreement. These changes have increased both the burden and risks associated with mergers and acquisitions that may raise a competitive concern.



Stuart M. Gerson

Stuart M. Gerson

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

  • Former Acting Attorney General of the United States, Assistant Attorney General, and federal prosecutor with hands-on enforcement and policy experience both with respect to antitrust and data privacy and security
  • Experience in counseling and defending companies in antitrust litigation, including the successful court defenses of recent hospital mergers and other health care-related cases
  • Successful defense of class action litigation related to the privacy of both PII and PHI
  • Broad successful litigation and counseling experience with respect to Federal False Claims Act and other fraud actions
  • As a corporate director, head of a compliance committee in a heavily data-centric industry
  • Director of National Council of Registered ISAO’s, related to the adoption of best cyber practices and the fostering of public/private partnerships
E. John Steren

E. John Steren

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

  • Co-chair of the antitrust service team at the law firm of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
  • Counseling and defending clients for over thirty years in antitrust matters, including defense of antitrust enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice
  • Broad successful litigation experience with respect to antitrust and other competition-related matters, including theft of trade secrets and violations of restrictive covenants
  • Contributing author to numerous publications on the topic of antitrust and co-author of the widely circulated blog post Antitrust Byte
  • Frequent lecturer on antitrust-related topics

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