Pandemic Drives Temporary Changes in Antitrust Investigations from DOJ and FTC

For mergers currently pending or that may be proposed, the DOJ Antitrust Division is requesting from merging parties an additional 30 days to timing agreements to complete its review of transactions after the parties have complied with document requests. If circumstances require, the Division may revisit its timing agreements with merging parties in light of further developments.

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Editor’s Note: Taken from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) press releases related to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, the following two announcements may be beneficial for eDiscovery providers as they support Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act mandated transaction reviews and Second Requests.

Press Announcement – DOJ

Justice Department Announces Antitrust Civil Process Changes for Pendency of COVID-19 Event

Process Changes Will Ensure that the Department Can Carry Out Its Enforcement Mission While Protecting the Health and Safety of Its Employees and the American Public

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced today [March 19, 2020] that it has adopted a series of temporary changes to its civil merger investigation processes, which will remain in place during the pendency of the coronavirus (COVID-19) event.  These changes will ensure that the Antitrust Division will be able to continue operations as its employees carry out their duties to protect American consumers under a mass telework directive, in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities.

“As the Antitrust Division takes steps to protect the health and safety of its workforce and the parties that appear before it, these process changes will ensure that the Division can continue to review transactions efficiently and effectively,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The Division remains open for business, and we will continue to carry out our mission to protect competition and the American consumer.  We are in this together and intend to work cooperatively with the business community on pending mergers, consistent with our responsibilities under the antitrust laws and to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public.”

The civil process changes include the following:

  • For mergers currently pending or that may be proposed, the Antitrust Division is requesting from merging parties an additional 30 days to timing agreements to complete its review of transactions after the parties have complied with document requests.  If circumstances require, the Division may revisit its timing agreements with merging parties in light of further developments.
  • The Antitrust Division will allow the electronic filing of Hart-Scott-Rodino submissions.
  • The Antitrust Division will conduct all meetings by phone or video conference (where possible), absent extenuating circumstances.
  • All scheduled depositions temporarily will be postponed and will be rescheduled using secure videoconferencing capabilities.

For questions regarding these process changes, please contact Amy Fitzpatrick at 202-476-0529, or Amy.Fitzpatrick@usdoj.gov.

Read the complete release at Justice Department Announces Antitrust Civil Process Changes for Pendency of COVID-19 Event


Press Announcement – FTC

Premerger Notification Office Implements Temporary e-Filing System

Due to the developing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and consistent with guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, the Premerger Notification Office (PNO) will implement a temporary e-filing system. During this emergency, all filings must be submitted via this system, and all hard copy and DVD submissions will be suspended. Key facts are as follows:

  • The PNO will be open to accept hard copy and DVD Hart-Scott-Rodino filings until Friday March 13, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
  • The PNO will not accept any filings on Monday, March 16, 2020.
  • Beginning at 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the PNO will accept HSR filings only via the temporary e-filing system.
  • The system will involve uploading documents to a secure Accellion file-transfer platform using the same file formats as specified for DVD filings on the Style Sheet for Hart-Scott-Rodino Filings.
  • While this temporary system is in place, early termination will not be granted for any filing.
  • The Department of Justice will implement the same procedures.

The PNO is working to get this system in place on a very tight schedule. The PNO has issued specific guidance on the temporary e-filing system and PNO operating procedures. If you have questions after reviewing our guidance, please contact premerger@ftc.gov. We appreciate your support and patience during this difficult time.

Read the complete release at Premerger Notification Office Implements Temporary e-Filing System


Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery

 

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