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Antitrust Law

Critics Fault DOJ for Monitoring Controversial Mergers Instead of Blocking Them

Posted Apr 25, 2011 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Justice Department has added some limits to three recent high-profile mergers that will require years of monitoring by government lawyers.

Critics say the department should be blocking the mergers rather than regulating them, according to a report by the Washington Post and Bloomberg. The three mergers that won approval—with restrictions—involve Google’s purchase of travel software firm ITA, Comcast’s acquisition of NBC, and Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation, the story says.

Google’s purchase gives it control of the technology for most online flight searches. The deal was approved with the condition that Google license the technology to existing customers for five years based on commercially reasonable terms. According to a press release, the DOJ established those terms by filing an antitrust suit to block the purchase, along with a proposed settlement imposing the requirements.

One of the critics is the American Antitrust Institute. “Massive … firms are being allowed to form in key industries, with the DOJ accepting oversight responsibility for such firms and agreeing to perform a day-to-day monitoring function for which it may be ill-staffed, ill-funded and ill-equipped,” the group said.

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