Justice Department and FTC Announce Workshops on Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines, Extend Comment Period

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission today announced two public workshops, on March 11, 2020 and March 18, 2020, to solicit public dialogue on the draft vertical merger guidelines released on Jan. 10, 2020. The two half-day workshops will allow for a dynamic discussion about the proposed guidelines to complement any written public comments about the draft guidelines that are submitted to the agencies. The agencies will select panelists for the workshops from those that file public comments and indicate their interest and availability to participate.

The agencies also announced today that they will extend the deadline for submitting public comments regarding the draft vertical merger guidelines. The new final deadline for submitting comments is Feb. 26, 2020.

“The Antitrust Division has benefitted greatly from public engagement in preparing the draft guidelines, and I expect that will continue through the comment and workshop process,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Afterwards, we look forward to finalizing the first update to our vertical merger guidelines in more than three decades.”

The draft guidelines describe how the federal antitrust agencies review vertical mergers to evaluate whether they violate antitrust law. Vertical mergers combine two or more companies that operate at different levels of the supply chain. The draft guidelines outline the agencies’ principal analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement policy for vertical mergers. The agencies will consider both public comments and workshop discussions before issuing final Vertical Merger Guidelines.

The Department of Justice encourages comments from the public on the draft vertical merger guidelines. Interested parties may submit public comments online now through Feb. 26, 2020, by emailing verticalmergerguidelines@ftc.gov and verticalmergerguidelines@usdoj.gov. Commenters should indicate in the email if they are interested in participating in either workshop as a panelist and the date(s) they are available.

Both workshops are free and open to the public. The March 11, 2020 workshop will take place at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., from 1 p.m. Eastern Time to 5 p.m. Eastern Time and the March 18, 2020 workshop will take place at the Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., from 1 p.m. Eastern time to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. A recording of the workshop will be available on the Division’s website. Registration information, an agenda, directions to the event, and a list of speakers will be available prior to each workshop on the event webpage. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to register in advance for the workshop. Registration for the March 11 workshop may be completed on Eventbrite. Members of the press should also copy Alexei.Woltornist@usdoj.gov on their registration email. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees should bring a valid government-issued photo ID (government badge, license, passport, etc.) and arrive in time to go through security.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. If you need such an accommodation, please contact the Antitrust Division at ATR.VMGworkshop@usdoj.gov. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Author: February 3, 2020

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