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DOJ official vows to speed up antitrust review process

September 25, 2018

The Department of Justice’s antitrust chief said Tuesday the department will implement a series of small steps to expedite a merger review process he said had become “unduly lengthy.”

Speaking at a global antitrust conference in Washington, D.C., Assistant Attorney General Mark Delrahim said accelerating the review process is a priority of the Trump Administration because it reduces the burden on businesses.

“Delay is a form of uncertainty and risk, and we should seek to remove it from the merger review process whenever possible,” he said.

Mr. Delrahim said antitrust reviews took an average of 10.8 months to resolve last year, a 65 percent increase from an average of 7.1 months in 2013.

The processes has become drawn-own because of several factors, Mr. Delrahim said. An increased amount of data and documents, more coordination with foreign officials and the time it takes for companies to divest units all add to the delay, according to Mr. Delrahim.

“Nobody wins with unduly lengthy reviews, other than lawyers and expert economists perhaps,” he said.

In order to speed up the process, the Justice Department will now meet with parties early in the process; allow parties to volunteer key documents during the waiting period and use model timing agreements to create a more orderly process for parties to submit documents.

“We are committed to accelerating the pace of merger review consistent with enforcing the law because we believe that doing so is good for American consumers and taxpayers,” Mr. Delrahim said.

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