2023 Merger Guidelines
Jonathan B. Baker provides his reactions to the final 2023 Merger Guidelines, including why they strengthen enforcement and where the antitrust enforcement agencies can further clarify their merger analysis.
Steven C. Salop evaluates the final version of the 2023 Merger Guidelines on vertical merger analysis and certain rebuttal arguments. He finds that the final Guidelines successfully incorporate developments in the economic scholarship and update antitrust enforcement with the tools to analyze non-horizontal mergers in an increasingly digital economy.
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission released their completed version of the new 2023 Merger Guidelines. Susan Athey, Chief Economist for the DOJ Antitrust Division, and Aviv Nevo, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics, explain how the revised document addresses the comments they received on the Draft Merger Guidelines that were expressed in ProMarket and elsewhere.
The final version of the Agencies’ Merger Guidelines are a thoughtful improvement over the draft version, writes Fiona Scott Morton. Both the economic and legal analysis in the final version promise to more effectively prevent harmful mergers and bring U.S. antitrust into the modern age.
Former special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy Tim Wu responds to the November 27 letter signed by former chief economists at the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department Antitrust Division calling for a separation of the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines.
Letter to the Editor: Former FTC and DOJ Chief Economists Urge Separation of Economic and Legal Analysis in Merger Guidelines
Seventeen former chief economists of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division urge current Agency heads to separate the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines to strengthen the role of the latter in merger review.
Zephyr Teachout provides her Round-Two comments on the draft Merger Guidelines.
The draft Merger Guidelines seek to reduce mergers and acquisitions, especially those that remove potential entrants. However, precluding acquisitions in those settings ignores both what incentivizes startups and investors to take initial risks, as well as the advantages that large incumbents have to parlay acquisitions into further innovation and an array of widely commercialized consumer products. The overall effect may dampen innovation, write Ginger Zhe Jin, Mario Leccese, and Liad Wagman.
How the FTC Could Have Used Its Draft Merger Guidelines To Argue Against Microsoft-Activision and Meta-Within
Joshua Gray and Cristian Santesteban show how the Federal Trade Commission could have used its 2023 draft Merger Guidelines to focus its challenges against Microsoft-Activision and Meta-Within squarely on the pressing economic concern of protecting competition during critical technological transitions making full use of the law’s traditional incipiency standard.
Vertical merger law lacks the structural presumption of horizontal merger law, which shifts the burden from the government to the merging parties to provide evidence that a merger will not produce anticompetitive effects when it is known that the merger will substantially increase market concentration. To improve Guideline 6 of the draft Merger Guidelines concerning vertical foreclosure, Steven Salop develops a three-factor criteria with which the government antitrust agencies can show an analogous structural “inference” that shifts the burden of evidence to the merging parties.