Private Equity Meets Antitrust…Complications Ensue

By Kent Bernard

Private Equity is simply a way in which an investment company is structured. What the term usually means, however, is an entity that seeks to make an investment, quickly make changes in the company, and then sell out. Antitrust gets involved to determine whether the acquisition of stock or assets leads to a lessening of competition in any market. As part of that process, potential acquirers must give notice to the antitrust agencies and observe a waiting period. The private equity business model seeks to minimize, or avoid, such waiting. The approaches taken by private equity investors, and the agencies’ responses, have created an interesting legal landscape.

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