U.S. and Canada antitrust agencies issue best practices for merger reviews

 The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Com-mission (FTC), and the Competition Bureau Canada have issued a set of “best practices” to make more transparent how they coordinate merger reviews that affect the U.S. and Canada.

Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division Bill Baer, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Canadian Commissioner of Competition John Pecman praised the long record of successful cooperation between the two jurisdictions, and noted that cross-border coordination in mergers has increased over the last decades.

The best practices set forth how effective day-to-day cooperation works between the two U.S. agencies and the Competition Bureau, including how they communicate with each other, benefit from the similarity of their respective merger review timetables, cooperate in the analysis of evidence, use waivers of confidentiality provided by the parties and address remedies and settlements.  The best practices also seek to promote cooperation and coordination between the U.S. and Canadian agencies in order to enhance the likelihood of consistent outcomes when the same merger is reviewed in both countries.  In addition, the best practices acknowledge the contribution that merging parties can make in facilitating cooperation, and provide guidance to firms about how to work with the agencies to coordinate and facilitate the reviews of their proposed transactions.

“The strong relationship between the U.S. and Canadian competition agencies has allowed us to cooperate closely and effectively on many merger investigations,” said Assistant Attorney General Baer. “The best practices we are issuing today are a testimony to our agencies’ long-standing and productive working relationship and the importance all of our agencies place on transparency.”

“We have developed a very close working relationship with our Canadian colleagues based on our shared approach to the implementation of our competition laws and policies,” said FTC Chairwoman Ramirez.  “These best practices exemplify our commitment to cooperation and convergence, benefiting our agencies, merging parties, and ultimately consumers.”

The practices, which do not modify existing law, build on the framework of the 1995 U.S.-Canada antitrust cooperation agreement, and the experience gained under that framework.
A summary of the practices can be found at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2014/304654.pdf