Two recently released reports, although unrelated, together show the effects of the downturn on business activity and on people's livelihoods. One report is the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR Act) Annual Report issued jointly by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice for the 2007 fiscal year. In fiscal year 2007, 2,201 transactions were reported under the HSR Act, a 25% increase from 1,768 transactions in fiscal year 2006. Similarly, the value of reported transactions was almost $2 trillion in fiscal year 2007, up from $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2006.
Under the HSR Act, notifications to the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are required for business combinations and mergers above a certain level prior to the implementation of the merger or business combination. The purpose is to provide the government with an opportunity to review the competitive effects of a merger or combination before it goes into effect. It provides a rough measure of merger and acquisition activity for the year. The 2007 fiscal year report covered the period from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007. Because of the lag between the time covered and the issuance of the report, the report reflects merger and acquisition activity mostly before the economic downturn. No doubt the 2008 fiscal year and the current period will reflect substantial reductions in such activity. (The 2007 report can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/11/hsrreportfy2007.pdf ).