Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Varney's Parting Thoughts - Rethink the Institutional Design of Mergers - Two Agencies May be One Too Many
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
In a speech at the Center for American Progress today, Christine Varney questioned the current institutional design of merger control according to the Wall Street Journal. As the WSJ reports:
Ms. Varney, speaking at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said lawmakers may want to examine "the kind of redundancy that they have in merger review."
Ms. Varney expressed concern that the Justice Department and its sister antitrust agency, the Federal Trade Commission, have "potentially substantively different legal standards" when seeking to block mergers they view as anticompetitive.
"I don't think we want to foster a system where ... the legal review, the result of your merger, depends on which agency it's in front of," Ms. Varney said. "So with that, I would recommend to the Congress that they start to think about how to rationalize that."
I agree entirely. In fact, I noted the same problem in my article Antitrust, Institutions, and Merger Control, 17 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1055, 1078-79 (2010).