Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s antitrust practice focuses heavily on mergers and acquisitions—representing buyers, sellers, targets and financial institutions. Our experience encompasses all forms of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, leveraged buyouts and divestitures, from negotiated transactions to hostile takeovers. We have a deep understanding of the regulatory review processes employed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ) and state attorneys general.
We engage in creative and effective antitrust counseling in all aspects of the merger planning process, including:
- analyzing prospective acquisition targets
- evaluating antitrust risks
- crafting effective antitrust risk-shifting provisions
- structuring transactions to minimize the prospect of an antitrust challenge
- complying with the premerger notification requirements and handling related government antitrust investigations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act, the European Union (EU) Merger Control Regulation and the merger control regimes in Russia and China.
The firm has successfully defended a large number of antitrust merger investigations through effective presentations to government antitrust enforcement lawyers and economists. In cases in which opposition has been more intense, we have negotiated consent decrees to eliminate antitrust objections; where an acceptable settlement cannot be reached, we will take cases to trial.
In 2017, Akin Gump served as lead antitrust counsel on numerous simultaneous high-stakes, high-value (billion-plus) transactions with significant levels of complexity. We developed innovative and creative solutions to facilitate regulatory approval with unprecedented degrees of time and resource efficiency. While Akin Gump’s management and navigation of three simultaneously active Second Requests is notable in its own right, the fact that all three are in different industries and are being reviewed by different merger shops (Mergers I, II and III) at the FTC speaks to the depth of our team’s experience, capability, knowledge, and ability to provide top-notch advice efficiently.
Representative merger matters include the following:
- serving as antitrust counsel to VCA, a leading U.S. animal health care services company, in a $9.1 billion highly-scrutinized merger (including a Second Request) of the largest and second-largest animal hospital owners in the United States
- serving as lead antitrust counsel in the auction of one of the largest equipment rental companies and its ensuing $1.3 billion sale to the largest company in the industry; led the strategy that resulted in quicker merger clearance than other past transactions in the same industry
- currently representing 7-Eleven in its $3.3 billion acquisition of over 1100 Sunoco fuel and convenience stores (currently responding to a Second Request from the Mergers 3 shop of the FTC)
- successfully defended a large electric power company in a DOJ investigation of an $8.5 billion horizontal merger creating one of the largest investor-owned electric systems in the country; fully complied with the DOJ’s second request and secured antitrust clearance with no relief sought
- defended a gas pipeline company in the lengthy government investigation of a multibillion-dollar horizontal merger presenting antitrust issues in multiple pipeline markets across the country; negotiated a complex consent order permitting consummation of the merger, which created the nation’s largest pipeline company
- represented one of the largest global manufacturers of medical device products in connection with a post-closing FTC investigation of the acquisition of a competing company; negotiated a consent decree to satisfy the FTC’s concerns.