Washington, D.C.— House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), and Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), the original sponsor of the bill, issued the following joint statement upon House Judiciary Committee’s approval of H.R. 659, the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act by a vote of 16-10.
“When the fate of jobs and the economy hang in the balance, we cannot have the federal government at odds with itself. The merging of companies, large or small, always has an impact on our marketplace; as well as the livelihoods of millions of hardworking Americans. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice must be in agreement on the process for evaluating a proposed merger. When the federal government looks at a proposed merger, it needs to be done in a fair, transparent, and predictable manner and not by the flip of the coin.
“The SMARTER Act is a commonsense measure that ensures that companies face the same standards and processes regardless of whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice reviews the proposed merger.”
Background: Under existing law, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice may review proposed mergers and acquisitions. However, the two antitrust agencies face different standards in court and utilize different processes when reviewing these transactions. The way a reviewing agency is chosen can appear random, as if it is decided by the flip of a coin. The SMARTER Act eliminates the existing disparities between the two antitrust enforcement agencies, creating more transparency and predictability for merging companies.