In a move that sparked criticism, the Department of Justice and the
Federal Trade Commission reached an agreement Tuesday under which the DOJ would
assume control over all media- and entertainment-industry mergers.
The move -- postponed in January in the face of congressional resistance --
was hailed as a necessary step in reducing delays associated in the bargaining
between the FTC and the DOJ in deciding which agency would review a merger.
'This agreement will improve our law-enforcement efforts,' said Charles
James, assistant attorney general for antitrust, in a prepared statement. James
reached the agreement with FTC chairman Timothy Muris.
Sen. Ernest (Fritz) Hollings (D-S.C.), chairman of the committee that
approves the DOJ's budget, said the agreement violated the law because Congress
was not properly notified.
'We were in the middle of discussions on how to proceed,
and they just moved forward on their own. It's a tricky way to forego
consultation. We have our tricks, too,' Hollings said in a prepared statement.