Antitrust enforcers from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), during a roundtable discussion at this year’s virtual spring meeting of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Law Section, proclaimed that, with certain caveats, enforcement has returned to normal. Among other things, Bureau of Competition Director Ian R. Conner reiterated that the FTC has not changed either its enforcement priorities or its enforcement standards as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As evidence of this return to normalcy, Director Conner pointed to the remarkable transition made by the FTC to the electronic filing of all pre-merger notifications subject to the requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (“HSR”). In fact, the FTC has resumed after a temporary suspension its consideration of requests for early termination of the applicable HSR waiting period.
The notable exception appears to be how, and the speed with which, parties interact with the FTC. Phone calls are not returned quite as fast, and in-person meetings remain on hold. In addition, the FTC recommends that emails be sent to multiple members of the FTC’s staff to ensure a timely response.
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For additional information about the issues discussed above, or if you have any other antitrust concerns, please contact the Epstein Becker Green attorney who regularly handles your legal matters, or one of the authors of this Antitrust Byte: