TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports H.R. 5645, the “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act of 2018.” This legislation is long overdue. The SMARTER Act would ensure that antitrust reviews are conducted under the same government review process regardless of whether the review is done by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
H.R. 5645 would amend Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act to prohibit FTC from pursuing administrative litigation in Hart-Scott-Rodino Act merger cases, and ensure the same standard for the granting of a preliminary injunction applies to both FTC and the Antitrust Division of DOJ for Hart-Scott-Rodino Act merger cases.
The SMARTER Act would also require the FTC to go to court to challenge proposed mergers in the same manner as the DOJ. Current law does not determine whether the DOJ or FTC reviews a merger. Merging arties should not be subject two different processes that have the potential to generate different outcomes.
The SMARTER Act would not make it easier nor more difficult for mergers to be reviewed. Instead, the SMARTER Act would harmonize statues to ensure merger transactions are reviewed under the same process regardless of whether the transaction happens to be reviewed by the DOJ or FTC.
The Chamber strongly supports the SMARTER Act.
Neil L. Bradley