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DOJ Reviewing 1400 Antitrust Settlements

 |  November 1, 2017

Posted by Bloomberg

Justice Dept. Reviewing 1,400 Antitrust Settlements

By Liz Crampton

The Justice Department’s antitrust division is taking a “fresh look” at about 1,400 agreements between the government and companies intended to curb anticompetitive behavior, the assistant attorney general for antitrust said October 27.

Speaking at New York University’s law school, Makan Delrahim said he ordered a survey of the settlements, officially known as consent decrees, upon his recent arrival at DOJ

“Big swaths of the economy have been regulated by consent decrees,” Delrahim said. The antitrust division will examine “whether or not they have any relevance in today’s economy.”

The Justice Department has resolved antitrust complaints about mergers or anticompetitive behavior through consent decrees. Under these agreements, companies agree to certain actions like selling assets or to continue selling to competitors. Some consent decrees last for decades, and it’s a common practice among antitrust lawyers to question whether they work or are even appropriate.

Delrahim is among this group. “I view my role as a law enforcer, not a regulator through consents,” he said. “You either violate the law or you don’t.”

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