Merger wave means slower evaluate: FTC – Enterprise Insurance

(Reuters) – A huge surge in the number of mergers submitted to the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust review is limiting its ability to investigate deals in a timely manner, the FTC said Tuesday.

The agency, which works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law, said it received 343 deal notifications in July alone, up from 112 last July. A statement said the influx "strains the agency's ability to rigorously investigate deals before legal deadlines."

The agency said it is sending letters to companies planning transactions requesting in-depth documentation on a deal, informing them that while the usual 30-day wait is about to expire, the FTC investigation will continue.

"Please note that if the parties finalize this transaction before the Commission has completed its investigation, you would do so at your own risk," it said.

In February, the Antitrust Division of the FTC and the Department of Justice temporarily suspended the early termination practice of the least controversial deals. This happened due to the change in administration and an increase in the number of merger notifications.

Under the Merger Act, transactions of a certain size must be reported to the government, which allows many to move quickly under what is known as "early termination". More complicated or controversial deals trigger a “second request” or a request for documents related to the planned transactions.

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