FTC Split Over Staples Deal Shows Merger Review Fissures

Law360 (January 31, 2019, 9:17 PM EST) -- The fight by many Democrats to push competition policy in a more populist direction helped spark a row at the Federal Trade Commission this week when members traded barbs over the agency's split decision allowing Staples and its private equity backer to acquire office supply company Essendant.

The back-and-forth went well beyond disputes over the effects of the deal at hand and pointed to broader divisions over general merger enforcement policy that will likely color FTC debates over future mergers.

The FTC voted 3-2 along party lines Monday to allow Staples Inc. to proceed with its planned $483 million purchase of...

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