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US: FTC antitrust chief says AT&T challenge aligns with past practice

 |  January 11, 2018

The acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) bureau of competition has said that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) challenge to AT&T/Time Warner – widely viewed as a vertical merger – is consistent with past practices.

FTC and DOJ attempt to stop “inherently anti-competitive” horizontal M&A transactions between competing companies outnumber challenges to deals to combine corporations that operate at different points on the value chain by nearly 40 to 1 at times, but it would be a mistake to say the government ever held a policy of nonintervention in vertical mergers and acquisitions, Bruce Hoffman told attendees of the Washington Perspectives Conference, hosted by Credit Suisse, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 10.

Because the companies primarily operate in different parts of the supply chain of program content, they do not directly compete with one another. A combination of two such companies is known as a “vertical merger.” The last time the DOJ actually filed a lawsuit to block or dissolve a vertical merger was forty years ago reported Law360.

Full Content: Law 360

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