WHAT HAPPENED:

  • In early February, the FTC released its Merger Remedies Study (the Study), which focused on transactions from 2006-2012 in which the FTC found a competitive problem that did not require a block outright, and allowed the transaction to gain clearance so long as the merging parties agreed to what the FTC determined were appropriate remedies to restore competition to the impacted market.
  • Via case study method, questionnaires and data, the FTC analyzed the outcomes of 89 remedial orders and self-critiqued its success in restoring competition and used the learnings to refine its internal best practices.
  • The report serves as an update to practitioners for understanding what is required to develop an effective remedy package, what qualities the FTC seeks in a buyer of the remedy package and how the FTC will seek to implement the remedy.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

  • On balance, the Study supported the FTC’s current practices.
  • Remedy packages consisting of an ongoing business were all successful—which confirms FTC’s long-held conviction that these kinds of divestitures are highly likely to succeed in restoring competition.
  • There will be heightened focus when the remedy package consists of selected assets (that is, not an ongoing business) and a heightened focus on the financing/funding of the divestiture buyer.
  • In these situations, merging parties should expect a fact intensive inquiry by the FTC, the potential for the FTC to seek larger asset packages that include products outside of the competitive problem area (if needed to make the proposed buyer competitive) and increased information sharing with the proposed buyer (and future competitor) to transition the business.
  • FTC has a strong preference for proposed buyers with experience and strong financial commitment to the business. These kinds of proposed buyers are more effective at securing the right personnel, understanding what’s needed to effectively compete (e.g., assets, supply agreements, production processes) and implementing the transition.