Baer and Ramirez Headline Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium

October 1, 2015 —

The ninth annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium — hosted by Georgetown Law’s Academic Conferences and Continuing Legal Education on Sept. 29 — helped more than 300 practitioners keep abreast of the latest developments in competition law and policy.

Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, began the day’s events with a look back at five years of enforcement under the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines. These guidelines, which were jointly issued by the FTC and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, outlined a new holistic approach to merger review by these agencies, one that focused on a potential merger’s competitive effects. (And as Ramirez noted, the joint FTC-DOJ project was announced at Georgetown Law in 2009, at the third annual antitrust symposium.)

As an illustration of how the guidelines have worked in practice, Ramirez outlined the FTC’s investigation of the proposed merger between Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores. Earlier this year, the FTC required these retailers to sell 330 stores in local markets in 35 states as a condition of the merger, finding that competition would be lost — and consumers harmed — in those areas if the merger went forward as planned.  

“The Commission’s investigation … implicated literally thousands of geographic areas of the U.S. where both parties had retail stores,” Ramirez explained, noting that the commission applied a sophisticated analysis to pinpoint “those markets where the merger might be likely to harm competition and those where it might pose little or no risk.”

Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division William J. Baer, the luncheon speaker, both noted the importance of dialogue between antitrust enforcement agencies globally. 

“We have come a long way in building productive relationships in the international antitrust community…,” Baer said. “If we are to effectively advance our shared goals of protecting competition, we need to be able to talk about all the tools at our disposal.”

There was much conversation at the day’s panels, which included a global enforcers roundtable and a discussion on U.S. enforcement and policy with Georgetown Law Professor Steven C. Salop.

Assistant Dean Larry Center, Program Attorney Alisha Avril and Covington & Burling’s Deborah Garza introduced the event, which was co-sponsored by Covington & Burling, Baker Botts, Hogan Lovells, NERA Economic Consulting and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

For a full list of moderators, panelists and sponsors, click here.

For a transcript of Ramirez’s remarks, click here.

For a transcript of Baer’s remarks, click here.


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