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Business Articles Awards > Mergers

After the Obama Administration: What Comes Next in Antitrust Merger Enforcement Policy?

Joshua Soven, Justin Epner, Antitrust, Fall 2017

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Most commentators on the Obama administration’s antitrust policy have focused on what they characterize as a more aggressive approach to antitrust merger enforcement than that implemented by the preceding administration. It is true that the Obama Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission probably challenged several mergers that their predecessors would have cleared. But the administration’s potentially longer-lasting impact was that it persuaded a number of courts to adopt the administration’s preferred doctrinal approach to analyzing unilateral effects in transactions that involved differentiated product markets. The administration also altered the antitrust agencies’ tactical strategies for investigating and litigating challenges to these types of mergers. These changes are significant because the large majority of the agencies’ litigated merger challenges involve alleged unilateral effects in differentiated product markets.

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