In the past several weeks, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved final orders in two matters, settling charges that the buyers’ consummated acquisitions of their respective competitors, though valued below the Hart Scott Rodino (HSR) Act’s notification thresholds, were anticompetitive. In the first consent order approved, the FTC alleged that the acquisitions violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act by eliminating the only significant competition in the market, which resulted in the buyer, Graco, Inc., holding a monopoly position as the only full-line manufacturer of fast-set equipment (FSE). In the second consent order approved, the FTC alleged that the effect of Charlotte Pipe’s acquisition of its rivals has been a substantial lessening of competition in the cast iron soil pipe products (CISP) markets in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 5 of the FTC Act by, inter alia, eliminating competition, eliminating a maverick firm and increasing concentration and market power. Neither Graco nor Charlotte Pipe have admitted any violation of law.With the increasing number of agency challenges to consummated transactions not reportable under the HSR Act over the past few years, parties should not be surprised by these latest challenges. However, because the transactions at issue… Read full this story
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