Modern Healthcare reported in the article “Revised vertical merger guidelines not expected to sway proposed deals” that, while regulators are expected to clamp down on hospital-led acquisitions of physician practices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s reworking of the vertical merger guidelines isn’t expected to thwart proposed transactions. The publication turned to antitrust partner Alicia Batts for insight on the latest FTC guidelines.
Batts noted that case law on vertical integration is not progressing, which is frustrating antitrust lawyers and economists. “I think most people think that the system needs some minor tweaking. The question is how much,” she said.
The article also highlighted that the FTC expanded Section 5 of the FTC Act, which authorizes the commission to investigate and challenge “unfair methods of competition affecting commerce.”
Batts provided background on the debate around Section 5. “There has deﬁnitely been a component of the bar (association) that believes the FTC and DOJ should have the same standards and enforce the same laws,” Batts shared. “The more progressive part of the bar would like the FTC to be more aggressive in bringing cases.”