Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Varney from DOJ to Cravath

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Chrstine Varney is moving from DOJ Antitrust to Cravath.

Update: DOJ Antitrust has confirmed the report with a press release. The most important parts of her legacy, according to the press release, are:

Shortly after confirmation, Assistant Attorney General Varney withdrew a previous department report that lowered the enforcement standards under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

Assistant Attorney General Varney next worked with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to update the Horizontal Merger Guidelines, including by hosting a series of workshops and receiving public comments on proposed revisions to the Guidelines. Most recently, Assistant Attorney General Varney released a new Merger Remedy Guide. These policy undertakings combine to bring new levels of transparency and certainty to antitrust enforcement in the United States.

Under Assistant Attorney General Varney’s leadership, the division enhanced its focus on large international cartel cases as well as financial institution price-fixing cases in the U.S. municipal bond market. As a result, these cases have brought a billion dollars in fines and restitution to the victims of those conspiracies. In the last fiscal year, the division brought 60 cases on the criminal side, charging 84 defendants. In that year, the division obtained over $550 million in fines, more than $24 million in restitution and prison sentences totaling over 71 years.

Under Assistant Attorney General Varney’s leadership, the Antitrust Division also challenged several proposed mergers or industry practices that, if allowed to proceed, would have diminished competition and harmed consumer welfare, including NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange Inc.’s joint bid to acquire NYSE Euronext; API Healthcare Corporation’s proposed merger with Kronos Inc.; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s attempt to purchase Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan (PHP). Other transactions including LiveNation/TicketMaster; Comcast/NBC; Google/ITA were significantly altered by the parties in order to secure division approval.

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