United States

30 November 2011

It has been a year since the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued updated Horizontal Merger Guidelines (HMGs), which explain how the US competition agencies analyse the competitive effects of mergers between firms that directly compete with similar products. Since then, the agencies have taken action against perceived threats to competition from a variety of mergers, as well as from cartels, and monopolistic acts. Merger enforcement has not been limited to horizontal mergers, but has involved a number of actions against ‘vertical’ mergers (merger of buyers and sellers) that are not addressed by the new HMGs. Very recently the DoJ issued potentially significant new guidelines for remedies to anti-competitive horizontal and vertical mergers, which appear to move away from structural remedies (such as divesture) to behavioural remedies, particularly for vertical mergers.