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US: Congress out to level the merger playing field between FTC, DOJ

 |  April 6, 2014

A congressional subcommittee met Thursday to discuss draft legislation that would remove some discrepancies between the powers of the two agencies that can bring legal challenges to mergers, say reports.

A House Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony on the proposals aimed to level the playing field between the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, as some critics say the FTC has more power to block mergers.

While the DOJ must request permanent injunctions against mergers in federal court, the FTC can currently do so at in-house administrative trials, reports say.

But the draft bill would clarify that both authorities would need to seek such injunctions in federal court. Congress is looking to address concerns that some mergers may have a higher chance of approval depending on which regulator reviews the transaction.

The hearing was lead by Representative Spencer Bauchus (R-AK), who serves as the chairman of the antitrust subcommittee.

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