Merger review to continue during government shutdown

In anticipation of the shutdown by the US federal government, which began early yesterday morning, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) released contingency plans that detail the impact on all aspects of the agencies’ operations, including their review of mergers and acquisitions.

The Bureau of Competition at the FTC will maintain a limited staff to accept and process new HartScott-Rodino (HSR) filings. The agencies will then determine whether circumstances warrant further investigation of any reported transaction during the shutdown.

Although the agencies can technically challenge a merger outside of the initial 30-day statutory review period, the FTC concedes that ‘the nature of the available relief changes dramatically once a merger or acquisition is consummated’. As a result, the FTC intends to initiate or continue investigations where it believes that ‘a failure…to challenge the transaction before it is consummated will result in a substantial impairment of the government’s ability to secure relief at a later time’…

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