DAMITT: How Long Does it Take to Conduct Significant U.S. Antitrust 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 transaction abandonment for which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) issues a press release. 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, Law360, 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 - 3Q 2017)

 

Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations (2011 - 3Q 2017)

 

Upfront vs. Post-Order Buyer Trend (2011 - 3Q 2017)

 

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

 

Time from Announcement to Final Termination Date (Months)
Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations in 3Q 2017

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

Although merger enforcement has declined slightly over the past year, the duration of significant merger investigations and subsequent litigation continues to trend upward to record levels. While the circumstances of future antitrust-sensitive transactions may lead to results above or below DAMITT averages, the latest trends suggest that parties to the hypothetical average deal would have to plan on approximately 12 months for the agencies to investigate a transaction and another seven months if they want to preserve their right to litigate an adverse agency decision. Perhaps, if the current trends toward longer investigations and litigations continue, even more time may need to be allotted going forward