FTC Obtains Structural Relief to Protect Competition in Natural Gas Market

  • The FTC has agreed to a consent order to resolve antitrust concerns surrounding a proposed $5.2 billion cash-and-stock deal that would make private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners one of the largest shareholders of natural gas producer EQT Corporation.
  • The FTC asserted in a complaint that because Quantum and EQT are direct competitors in the natural gas market in the Appalachian Basin, the deal as originally structured to give Quantum a seat on EQT’s board of directors would result in an interlocking directorate in violation of Section 8 of the Clayton Act.
  • According to an analysis to aid public comment, the proposed consent order resolves these concerns, in part by prohibiting Quantum from occupying an EQT board seat, requiring Quantum to divest its EQT shares, and reducing opportunities for exchanging confidential and competitively significant information between the firms.