Merger reviews to get a revamp: 5 things to know

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are seeking to rewrite merger guidelines for businesses. 

Five things to know: 

1. The agencies kicked off a process Jan. 18 to overhaul the guidelines. They are seeking public comment on how to "modernize federal merger guidelines to better detect and prevent illegal, anticompetitive deals," according to a news release

2. The FTC and the Justice Department are seeking to ensure merger guidelines equip them to take a forceful approach to antitrust enforcement. 

3. The agencies are seeking input on several topics, including whether distinctions between vertical and horizontal transactions reflected in the guidelines should be revisited and whether additional metrics or factors that trigger presumptions of competitive harm should be considered. 

4. The potential overhaul of merger guidelines comes amid a surge in transactions that strained the FTC. The influx of merger filings last year caused a delay in the review of some healthcare deals, including the combination of Southfield, Mich.-based Beaumont Health and Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spectrum Health. 

5. Comments can be submitted to the FTC and the Justice Department through March 21.

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