Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) submitted public comments on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines.
OCM argues that 1984 Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines, currently in place, should be rescinded, as the nearly 40-year-old merger review standards do not reflect today’s economic realities in which consolidation in agriculture has driven farmers off the land, reduced farm income, and eroded small towns and rural economies. OCM applauds the DOJ and FTC for taking steps to improve its guidelines, however, the proposed Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines do not adequately address the many concerns surrounding vertical mergers, especially those in agriculture.
Among its suggestions, OCM outlined the need for a detailed rule that outlines specific violations, creates a broad framework for identifying competitive harm, is enforceable, and applies significant consequences for companies that commit violations. For too long, OCM’s comments argue, “subjective interpretation of antitrust law has led to widespread anticompetitive behavior. These abuses have been permitted for so long that they are now considered to be common industry practice.”