Antitrust Agencies Release New Vertical Merger Guidelines

Antitrust Law Update

Date: January 16, 2020

On January 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission released draft Vertical Merger Guidelines (Draft Guidelines) setting forth the agencies’ “analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement policy” for vertical mergers under federal antitrust law. The agencies are seeking public comment on the Draft Guidelines, which they will consider in preparing a final set of guidelines. The public comment period ends February 11, 2020.

If adopted, the Draft Guidelines would replace vertical merger guidance issued by the DOJ in 1984. Although the guidelines would not operate as a legal rule or a complete collection of considerations the agencies will use to evaluate vertical mergers, they are intended to provide guidance to businesses, antitrust practitioners and the courts in construing and applying antitrust laws related to vertical mergers and insight into the issues the agencies are most likely to evaluate going forward.

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Mark R. Butscha, Jr.
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216.566.5885
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