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DAMITT: How Long Does it Take to Conduct Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations?

July 19, 2018

The Dechert Antitrust Merger Investigation Timing Tracker, or DAMITT, is a tool used to measure the time from transaction announcement until resolution of significant U.S. and EU antitrust merger investigations.  Significant U.S. investigations include proposed 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.  Significant EU investigations include transactions subject to the EU Merger Regulation and resulting in either Phase I remedies or the initiation of a Phase II investigation. DAMITT has tracked merger investigation and litigation trends for each year since 2011, including the number and duration of significant investigations and the time it takes to litigate U.S. 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 JournalThe StreetThe Street TVTimeFortuneLaw360FTC Watch, PaRR, Global Competition ReviewAmerican Lawyer, and Dechert's very own Crunched Credit, as have other law firms.

Average Duration of Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations
 (2011 - 1H 2018)

Average Period from Announcement to End of EU Phase I Remedy Cases (2011 - 1H 2018)

Average Period from Announcement to End of EU Phase II Cases (2011 - 1H 2018)

Significant U.S. Antitrust Merger Investigations (2011 - 1H 2018)

Significant EU Antitrust Merger Investigations (2011 - 1H 2018)

U.S. Upfront vs. Post-Order Buyer Trend (2011 - 1H 2018)

Time to Litigate Government Antitrust Merger Challenges 
(Complaints Filed: 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2017)

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

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

The duration of significant investigations resolved during 1H 2018 in both the United States and the EU may be plateauing—if not reversing—the trend to longer investigations observed by DAMITT over the past few years. While the circumstances of future antitrust-sensitive transactions may lead to results above or below DAMITT averages, the latest statistics suggest that parties to the hypothetical average “significant” deal subject to review only in the United States would have to plan on approximately 10-11 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. Deal timetables for cases likely to go to a European Phase II need to account for an average lapse of closer to 14 months from announcement to clearance. After slight declines in the number of significant investigations during 2017 relative to 2016, the data for the first half of the year suggest that 2018 may be a busy year for antitrust enforcers in both the United States and the EU.

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

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