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FTC, Justice Department Unveil 2023 Merger Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have released final guidelines outlining the frameworks and factors the agencies use in assessing mergers and acquisitions.

FTC said Monday it voted unanimously to approve the 2023 Merger Guidelines, which reflect advances in law and economics, the experiences of market participants and feedback gained through public engagement and seek to offer transparency into the decision-making process of agencies.

FTC Chair Lina Khan said fair, open, competitive markets have been key to the country’s economy and that the latest merger guidelines “reflect the new realities of how firms do business in the modern economy and ensure fidelity to statutory text and precedent.”

In January 2022, the agencies kicked off the process of developing the new guidelines by issuing a request for information on merger enforcement.

DOJ and FTC received over 30,000 comments from consumers, academics, enforcers, workers and other stakeholders on the draft guidelines released in July. They also hosted three workshops, informing the revision process for the guidelines.

The commission said the latest guidelines do not predetermine the agencies’ enforcement action and that enforcement decisions will depend on facts while requiring prosecutorial discretion and judgment.

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