Law & Order

Feds Update Horizontal Merger Guidelines

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised the “Horizontal Merger Guidelines” to reflect changes in the way mergers are reviewed since the guides were last revised in 1992. Horizontal mergers are defined as two or more companies with similar product lines. The guides help antitrust regulators from the DOJ and FTC evaluate the likely competitive impact of mergers, distinguishing between potentially harmful mergers versus mergers that will be competitively beneficial or will likely have no competitive impact on the marketplace.

The 2010 guidelines are different from the 1992 guidelines in several important ways. For example, the guidelines clarify that merger analysis does not use a single methodology, but is a fact-specific process through which the agencies use a variety of tools to analyze the evidence to determine whether a merger may substantially lessen competition. The guides also include a section on "Evidence of Adverse Competitive Effects," which provides examples of evidence that the agencies have found informative in predicting the likely competitive effects of mergers.

The 2010 guidelines are available on the Department of Justice website.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at