On September 25, 2009, the FTC settled with K+S Aktiengesellschaft (“K+S”) regarding its $1.68 billion proposed acquisition of Morton International, Inc. (“Morton”).
The proposed merger would have combined K+S’s subsidiary, International Salt Company LLC (“ISCO”) with Morton. According to the FTC, the combined company would have enjoyed a 70% market share of the bulk de-icing salt market in Maine and Connecticut. There is no practical substitute for de-icing salt and it is unlikely that other salt providers would enter the markets. The transaction could have substantially increased the prices of de-icing salt.
On September 22, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") announced that they will solicit public comment and hold joint public workshops to explore the possibility of updating the Horizontal Merger Guidelines that are used by both agencies to evaluate the potential competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions.
On September 18, the DOJ presented its a statement of its views regarding the proposed class action settlement between the American Association of Publishers and Google. As the parties continue to modify the settlement agreement, the DOJ issued a statement of interest to the court to provide the court with the Antitrust Division's concerns relating to a potential settlement.
On September 4, 2009, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it would not challenge a joint purchasing agreement of certain medical supplies between Memorial Health, Inc (“Memorial”) and St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System (“St. Joseph’s/Candler”). The efficiencies produced by the joint purchasing agreement will reduce transactions for the hospitals and will result in lower costs and increased hospital services to consumers.
Memorial and St. Joseph's/Candler are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that own acute tertiary care hospitals in Savannah, Ga., that serve Southeast Georgia and the low-country area of South Carolina. Memorial owns and operates the Memorial Health University Medical Center. St. Joseph's/Candler owns and operates St. Joseph's Hospital and Candler Hospital.
On September 4, the FTC filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") Notice of Inquiry regarding development of a National Broadband Plan that will seek to ensure that every American has access to broadband capability. In its comments, the FTC states that the FCC should take into consideration the FTC’s two primary missions – promoting competition and protecting consumers in the marketplace.