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Expect Delays in the HSR Clearance Process Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Premerger Notification Office of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that their review of Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) filings will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic. However, both agencies have adopted and mandated the use of a temporary e-filing system and announced that while this system is in place, early termination of the waiting period will be suspended.

Furthermore, the agencies have directed all non-essential personnel to work remotely, limiting the ability to review HSR submissions in a timely fashion. As a result, DOJ is asking companies that are currently in the middle of the merger review process to permit a 30-day addition to any timing agreements already in place. Likewise, in a recent blog post, the FTC indicated that it is “conducting a matter-by-matter review of [its] investigations and litigations to consider appropriate modifications of statutory or agreed-to timing.” The FTC also indicated that counsel should expect to be contacted to discuss proposed modifications and encouraged parties “to reach out to staff proactively to begin those discussions themselves.”

While efforts to address price gouging and other immediate antitrust issues have taken precedence during this unusual time, Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, attempted to reassure the business community that merger reviews will continue as efficiently and effectively as possible by stating recently that “[w]e are in this together and intend to work cooperatively with the business community on pending mergers, consistent with our responsibilities under the antitrust laws and to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public.”

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About this Author

John Steren, Epstein Becker Law Firm, Health Care Litigation Attorney
Member

E. John Steren is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences and Litigation & Business Disputes practices, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. Mr. Steren devotes a significant portion of his practice to helping health care organizations manage the antitrust risks of joint ventures and other business arrangements. He also focuses his practice on other complex commercial and civil litigation matters.

202-861-1825
Patricia M. Wagner, Epstein becker green, health care, life sciences
Member

PATRICIA M. WAGNER is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Litigation practices, in the firm's Washington, DC, office. In 2014, Ms. Wagner was selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyers list in the area of Health Care.

Ms. Wagner's experience includes the following:

Advising clients on a variety of matters related to federal and state antitrust issues 

Representing clients in antitrust matters in front of the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice, and state antitrust authorities 

Advising clients on issues related HIPAA Privacy and security

Advising clients on issues related to state licensure and regulatory requirements

202-861-4182