People are policy when it comes to government administration. President Trump’s nominee to lead Antitrust at the DOJ is Makan Delrahim. Delrahim’s reputation and legal legacy places him squarely within traditional conservative antitrust jurisprudence. Moreover, Delrahim is widely respected for his prior work at the DOJ and FTC, where he is viewed as a pragmatist rather than an ideologue. In this light, Delrahim’s DOJ antitrust enforcement will likely follow typical enforcement in a Republican administration and serve as a retreat from the Obama years where DOJ antitrust enforcement was muscular as it related to M&A review.
Our hosted event T/TWX Merger – Antitrust Analysis explored the mega-merger antitrust review in light of the new administration. Our expert, a Partner at a leading law firm and former DOJ antitrust attorney, broke down the DOJ review process, identified controlling precedent and how the DOJ will look at these cases to guide its decision on T/TWX. Our expert provided likely remedies and outlined the timeline for the DOJ. Ultimately, our expert offered his opinion that the T/TWX merger will survive the DOJ antitrust review with modest behavioral remedies. This conclusion is directly at odds with President Trump’s campaign rhetoric where he specifically noted the T/TWX merger should fail on antitrust grounds because it concentrated too much power into AT&T (T).
The appointment of Delrahim to lead the DOJ Antitrust Division likely means that the typical Republican reliance on free markets to mitigate anticompetitive effects with regard to mergers and acquisitions is now policy. The litmus test regarding this Regulatory change is how the DOJ handles the T/TWX mega-merger. If our expert’s analysis is correct, it likely means investors will see more and larger deals as companies look to capitalize on a traditional Republican antitrust review process.