Washington, D.C. — Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released their final, updated 2023 Merger Guidelines, which revitalize antitrust enforcement against any mergers and acquisitions that “substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly.”
Following a review ordered by President Biden’s executive order on competition, the completed merger guidelines represent a significant shift away from the past 40 years’ lax approach to antitrust enforcement.
“We commend the DOJ and FTC for delivering on their commitment to restore competition to our economy,” said Joe Maxwell, Farm Action’s co-founder and chief strategy officer. “For more than 40 years, the merger guidelines have been void of a review for competition. During this period of time, unprecedented concentration across U.S. markets has driven farmers and small businesses out of business.”
“These new merger guidelines will help restore economic freedom and strengthen our democracy,” concluded Maxwell.
Farm Action weighed in on every step of the process. In April 2022, Farm Action responded to the agencies’ request for information as they began developing the new guidelines. We set out the legal and factual case for ending the prioritization of the consumer welfare standard, which both violated antitrust laws and ushered in unprecedented corporate concentration.
In July 2023 the agencies released the draft guidelines. Farm Action’s second round of public comments provided a comprehensive overview of the organization of farms, structure of industry, and prevailing anticompetitive trends across the agricultural economy, and laid out the legal justification for these updated guidelines. Many of Farm Action’s recommendations and legal justifications can be found in the final merger guidelines.