DAMITT: How Long Does it Take to Conduct Antitrust US Merger Investigations?

The Dechert Antitrust Merger Investigation Timing Tracker, or DAMITT, is a tool used to measure the time from transaction announcement until resolution of the investigation for Hart-Scott-Rodino Act reportable transactions resulting in a closing statement, consent order, complaint challenging the transaction, or abandonment for which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) takes credit. DAMITT has tracked merger investigation and litigation trends for each year since 2011, including the number and duration of significant investigations, the frequency with which upfront buyers are used in consent orders requiring divestitures, and the time it takes to litigate government antitrust merger challenges. 

Leading publications have relied on the DAMITT data when writing about the antitrust merger review process, including in The Wall Street Journal, The Street, The Street TV, Time, Fortune, MLexLaw360, FTC Watch, PaRR, Global Competition ReviewAmerican Lawyer, and Dechert's very own Crunched Credit, as have other law firms.

DAMITT results are updated on a quarterly basis. Sign up here to receive updates or see the results for the latest quarter.

Average Duration of Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations (2011 - 2016)

 

Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations (2011 - 2016)

 

Upfront vs. Post-Order Buyer Trend (2011 - 2016)

 

Time to Litigate Government Antitrust Merger Challenges
(Complaints Filed: 2011, 2015 and 2016)

 

What Do the DAMITT Numbers Mean for Companies Considering a Merger?

Although merger enforcement was down slightly in 2016 compared to 2015, the duration of significant merger investigations and subsequent litigation continues to trend upward to record levels. While the circumstances of antitrust-sensitive transactions may lead to results above or below DAMITT averages, parties to the hypothetical average deal would have to plan on ten months for the agencies to investigate a transaction and another eight months if they want to preserve their right to litigate an adverse agency decision, and perhaps even longer if the current trends toward longer investigations and litigations continue. Publicly available transaction agreements show the merger market may be adjusting to this expected delay with termination dates further out in time. DAMITT will continue to track these trends in 2017 to measure the impact, if any, of antitrust agency changes under President Trump.