• Commentary

Reacting to New Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines Released by DOJ & FTC

On January 10, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced draft 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. The draft guidelines released provide an outline of the agencies’ analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement policy for vertical mergers. In particular, the new draft guidelines released have the following objectives:

  • in detail layout potential anticompetitive effects resulting from vertical mergers
    • these include both unilateral and coordinated effects
  • to clarify and identify potential elements of antitrust harm including:
    • access to competitively sensitive information
    • foreclosure
    • raising costs for rivals
  • to demonstrate and outline an analytic framework for analyzing potential anticompetitive effects
  • explicitly delineate clearly identifiable merger efficiencies that are specific within vertical mergers
  • to explain a number of examples to provide more clarity about the agencies’ analytical methods

Accordingly, as part of the process they seek public comment for 30 days. Then, the DOJ & FTC will review and consider the public comments before issuing final Vertical Merger Guidelines. As a result, there is increased interest in the topic.

Improved Clarity on of the major improvements of New Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines according to ISEG Executive Director Ted Bolema

Dr. Ted Bolema, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG), was quoted as a regulatory law and economics expert, “Trump Administration Proposes New Vertical Merger Guidelines,” John Eggerton, Multichannel News, January 13, 2020.


“The Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines add clarity by defining what it means for products to be related vertically and how the agencies will evaluate the competitive significance of that relationship,” said Ted Bolema, a member of the Free State Foundation’s board of academic advisors and a former trial attorney in DOJ’s antitrust division. “This approach also allows the agencies to identify ‘safe harbors’ that, while not binding on the agencies, still provide companies considering vertical mergers to better recognize when antitrust pushback is more likely.”

Dr. Theodore Bolema
Former Executive Director – Retired

Read the whole article at https://www.nexttv.com/news/trump-administration-proposes-new-vertical-merger-guidelines