Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act (H.R. 5645), a product of the House Judiciary Committee. The SMARTER Act, sponsored by Representative Karen Handel (R-Ga.), increases transparency for companies seeking approval for mergers from the FTC and DOJ.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has issued the following statement:
Chairman Goodlatte: “Every merger impacts American businesses, workers, and consumers. When reviewing mergers, however, the federal government ought to be concerned not only with the outcome of the review, but with the process each merger review undertakes. Proposed mergers deserve to be handled in a just, transparent manner so that businesses know what to expect. I applaud the hard work of my colleagues who worked in a bipartisan way to craft the SMARTER Act, which will ensure companies face a standardized set of procedures regardless of which agency reviews the potential merger.”
Background: Under existing law, either the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) may review proposed mergers and acquisitions. However, the two antitrust agencies utilize different processes that can produce substantially different outcomes when reviewing these transactions.
The SMARTER Act eliminates the existing disparities between the two antitrust enforcement agencies, creating more transparency and predictability for merging companies. Identical legislation was reported favorably by the House Judiciary Committee in 2017.