Tronox, Cristal Merger Review Underscores Need For Reform

By Michael Wise and Noah Pinegar (September 26, 2018, 2:06 PM EDT) -- While antitrust practitioners and observers gathered together last week to discuss another topic — whether the Federal Trade Commission is equipped to handle antitrust enforcement in the digital economy — we noted the closing arguments in the FTC's case against the Tronox/Cristal deal, as well as the public release of the district court's opinion granting a preliminary injunction. While in some ways, this deal was a worst-case scenario for parties in a merger review, the Tronox/Cristal saga provides a good window into the extent to which FTC merger challenges can be stuck in a procedural quagmire under the terms of the FTC Act. A review of the case provides a strong basis for the need to harmonize enforcement across the U.S. Department of Justice and the FTC, as proposals like the pending SMARTER Act would do....

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