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June 17, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, June 17, 2015 — Covington Partner Deborah Garza testified on Tuesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law in support of the re-introduced Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act (SMARTER Act), a draft bill that would equalize the merger enforcement authority of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.
Under existing law, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice have concurrent jurisdiction to review proposed mergers and acquisitions. However, the two antitrust agencies face different standards in court and utilize different processes when reviewing these transactions. The SMARTER Act would eliminate the existing disparities between the two antitrust enforcement agencies and ensure that companies face the same standards and processes regardless of which federal agency reviews the merger. It would substantially implement recommendations made in 2007 by Congress’ bi-partisan Antitrust Modernization Commission.
“The premise of SMARTER is simple: A merger should not be treated differently depending on which antitrust enforcement agency happens to review it,” Ms. Garza testified. “Regulatory outcome should not be determined by a flip of the merger agency coin.”
Ms. Garza chaired the Antitrust Modernization Commission. She also testified in 2014 in support of the prior version of the SMARTER Act.
Ms. Garza’s testimony can be found here.