The American Hospital Association (AHA) joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to extend for at least 60 days the comment period for their draft guidance revising how they review mergers and acquisitions to determine compliance with federal antitrust laws.
As the organizations wrote, they believe that the extension would be beneficial to both the public and the agencies; allowing for more fulsome responses to proposed revisions to the merger guidelines, which are intended to adjust existing U.S. merger policy and capital markets.
According to AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack, “An extension of the comment period will maximize public and agency participation by allowing sufficient time to carefully consider these complex issues.”
The urgency of the issue is weighed against the need to carefully consider the proposed revisions and the obvious overlap between its comment period and that of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Rule on premerger notification. The organizations noted that the agencies themselves took 15 months to complete the draft once the previous comment period had closed, evidencing the need for a considered and thorough evaluation.
The organizations believe that “existing guidance offers insufficient clarity, particularly with respect to the issues of competitive effects, remedies, and the role of efficiencies in merger analysis”. These same organizations also expect that this proposed guidance “will provide clear, transparent criteria and guidance to enable companies making mergers and acquisitions to understand their obligations under antitrust law.”
The statement from the organizations concluded with a reminder that “the public deserves ample opportunity to provide thoughtful comments on how merger guidelines can best support the objectives of the antitrust enforcement community to protect competitive markets and the interests of consumers.”
The comment period on the draft guidance is currently underway, but with an expiration date of September 1st, 2020. The AHA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations are asking the FTC to extend it before it is too late to provide a full-bodied response and to do so in the most efficient way possible. This extension will not only benefit the public, but the FTC as well, by allowing an adequate amount of time to evaluate such a complex and far-reaching decision.
Source: AHA Org