April 19, 2018

Antitrust: Shorter M&A Investigations in Q1 – But More Enforcement

Dechert’s latest report on the timing of antitrust merger investigations says that average duration of significant investigations declined during Q1 2018 in both the U.S. & the EU. Significant U.S. investigations averaged 9.7 months, down from 10.8 months during 2017.   EU Phase I cases averaged 6.3 months, down from 7 months in 2017, while EU Phase II cases dropped from 15.1 months to 14 months.

The report speculates that this may signal a reversal in the six-year trend toward lengthier investigations. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that after slight declines in the number of significant investigations during 2017, initial data suggests that 2018 may be a busy year for antitrust enforcers in both the U.S. and the EU. In that regard, the three U.S. agency complaints filed during the first quarter of 2018 matched the total filed in all of 2017.

John Jenkins