Long-awaited vertical merger guidelines raise further questions

Author: John Crabb | Published: 28 Jan 2020

The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have finally published long-awaited guidelines on vertical mergers in the US. If adopted the guidelines will supersede the DoJ's 1984 Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines.

Although widely well-received, sources say the guidelines leave some holes and could have gone further, for instance in clarifying what constitutes a contentious issue.

Some say that vertical merger enforcement has been way too lax over the past 15 to 20 years and that the new guidelines should take a strong stance, should have presumptions based on market share and the anticompetitive nature of deals , should rely less on quantitative models, and should be more focused on the issue of vertical integration.

"Basically, both groups will be disappointed by the new guidelines that are not trying to describe a big change in enforcement, but more accurately describe what the...