Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A number of members of Congress and pressure groups have apparently started pushing the FTC to give the CVS/Caremark merger from two years ago another look. This reminds me of a question a student raised in my M&A class last year: does pre-merger clearance create some sort of safe harbor that removes all post-closing antitrust risk from a transaction?" The CVS/Caremark deal is a good reminder that the proper answer to that question is no. One should not mistake pre-merger clearance for an anti-trust "get out of jaill free" card. Although they don't go there very often, the FTC reserves the right to come back and examine the competitive (or anti-competitive) effects of mergers at any point in the future.