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FTC and DOJ Issue Joint Antitrust Guidelines for Vertical Mergers

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued new joint Vertical Merger Guidelines for evaluating the potential competitive impact of vertical and other non-horizontal transactions, which are mergers by two entities that operate at different levels of the supply chain. This is the first time that the FTC and the DOJ have issued antitrust guidelines jointly.
  • The Guidelines reflect current enforcement approaches and provide information about the techniques and types of evidence that the FTC and DOJ typically use to determine whether vertical mergers may substantially lessen competition, and additionally include illustrative examples to demonstrate the range of issues that could raise anticompetitive red flags as well as circumstances that likely would not trigger an investigation.
  • The new guidelines replace the DOJ 1984 Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines, which were withdrawn in January 2020.