Halliburton’s dying bid shows antitrust cops pounding mega-deals
Bloomberg - 04/06/2016
“The last year-plus has actually been pretty good in terms of enforcement, and that clearly has restored the agencies’ beliefs that they can go to court and prevail,” said John Kwoka, an economics professor at Northeastern University who studies the effectiveness of merger policy. “Many of us in the antitrust community have been reassured and maybe even surprised by how successful they’ve been.”
Kwoka has found that enforcement actions against deals in markets with just a handful of players have indeed risen over the last 20 years. Challenges against mergers that reduced a market to four or fewer players rose to 94 percent between 2008 and 2011, from 83 percent in the period from 1996 to 2003. The calculations, based on government data, classify a merger challenge as a lawsuit against a deal, a settlement requiring asset sales, or a deal that was abandoned due to government opposition.