On May 11, the new antitrust sheriff at the U.S. Department of Justice, Christine Varney, revoked the dominant firm-friendly report that the guy she replaced, Thomas O. Barnett, put out the autumn before.
Will dust-canning the section 2 report satisfy her? We must say NO. For the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission will go at least one better. They'll hold "workshops" to look at ways to tweak the Horizontal Merger Guidelines, which since 1968 have informed the antitrust agencies' reviews of potential business deals that may lead to monopoly.
Last week, Carl Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division, told a gathering of antitrust lawyers about plans for the workshops. He titled his speech "Updating the Merger Guidelines: Issues for Upcoming Workshops". The schedule:
December 3 FTC Washington, DC
December 8 New York University New York
December 10 Northwestern University Chicago
January 14 Stanford University Palo Alto, CA
Expect a lot of pro-antitrust economists and lawyers to show up.