FTC Boosts Merger Review Trigger

Government Increases Threshold for Antitrust Vetting of Deals by More than $2.5 Million
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Attention potential merging media and their financial folks -- the Federal Trade Commission has upped its (Hart-Scott-Rodino) competition review threshold for deals, effective immediately.

An FTC/DOJ review for potential competition issues, and the requirement that companies alert the government to the deal, will now be triggered by deals valued at $70.9 million up from $68.2 million last year.

The companies also must wait a set period of time to give the government a chance to review the transaction, although the FTC regularly gives deals with no competition issues the go-ahead via early termination notices.

The FTC is required to review the trigger every year and adjust it based on changes in gross national product. It also upped the threshold for prohibitions on an executive serving as a board member or officer of two competing companies. The trigger used to be if either company had capital, surplus and profits totaling more $27,784,000, unless either company had sales of less than $2,778,400. Now, those figures are $28,883,000 and $2,888,300, respectively.