Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

The FTC’s Path Ahead

On February 3, 2017, Maureen Ohlhausen, Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) gave a speech entitled “The FTC’s Path Ahead”. She said her antitrust philosophy is that she believes “in the power of the markets-when free of restraints and unnecessary regulations-to provide the best outcomes for consumers.” She believes in the “rigorous application of economic theory” for informing enforcement decisions.  She vows to challenge anticompetitive mergers.  She spoke about having an evidence based approach to antitrust enforcement and that the FTC should avoid against uncritically accepting a single piece of empirical work such as John Kowka’s claim that divestitures fail to protect competition.  He applauded him for his time but then criticized his work.  She said the Remedy Study demonstrates that the FTC’s remedies have worked well in most cases but acknowledged some imperfections exist.  She noted that every divestiture of an ongoing business succeeded and that 80% of all remedies succeeded.