Without fanfare, the Department of Justice's antitrust division has implemented reforms aimed at cutting the cost that agency antitrust reviews impose on merging parties.
Although the cost of filing a merger notification is generally less than a quarter of a million dollars, responding to a second request for information — a process the antitrust agencies use to examine competitive problems in mergers between competitors and other strategic combinations — had soared to as high as $50 million on a single deal.
DOJ's attempt to streamline the second-request process follows a similar initiative at the Federal Trade Commission. Earlier this year, FTC Chairman Debbie Majoras announced a merger process reform at her agency, which promised to limit to 35 the number of employees who must respond to the agency's requests for data. There's once catch, however: The parties must agree to certain concessions, including a two-month period for pretrial discovery if the FTC decides to block a merger.