Competition laws keep businesses operating honestly and fairly in an open marketplace. They protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers and harmful business practices, while guaranteeing the benefits of competition – more product choices, lower prices, higher quality products and services and continued innovation.

When competing firms join forces to fix prices, rig bids, allocate customers between themselves or make other potentially anticompetitive arrangements, including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), regulatory agencies such as the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and European Commission, act on behalf of the public by investigating and prosecuting criminal antitrust violations.

With antitrust investigations on the rise, legal teams face a slew of challenges as they collect, assess and produce highly sensitive data to the government in relation to M&A transactions. With large volumes of documents and data to sift through in a short space of time, efficient strategies and technologies for negotiating the search process are critical.

What is the government looking for?

In the US, government investigations into antitrust compliance begin with an informal request for information. At this stage, the regulatory agency seeks to build an understanding of the industry, marketplace, customers and competition. When looking at a product market, they assess the relationships between competitors and the extent to which consumers see the products as substitutes for one another. They also consider how consumers will react to price changes.

Jan-Mar 2019 issue

Epiq Global