DAMITT Q1 2018 Update: Trend Toward Longer Antitrust Merger Investigations Slowing or Reversing, But Activity Levels Similar to Recent Years

April 09, 2018

After a six-year trend of increasingly longer antitrust merger investigations, DAMITT, the Dechert Antitrust Merger Investigation Timing Tracker, is finding signs that the trend might be slowing or even reversing, both in the United States and the EU, despite stable or increasing levels of enforcement activity. 

Significant U.S. antitrust merger investigations resolved in Q1 2018 lasted an average of 9.7 months—about a month faster than the record high of 10.8 months in 2017. This is the second quarter in a row for which the average duration has been under 10 months, after six consecutive quarters in which the duration exceeded 10 months. The Trump administration appears to be moving faster on more recently announced transactions. On a rolling twelve-month (RTM) basis, investigations of these more recently announced transactions took an average of only 8.1 months. Importantly, investigations of more recently announced transactions comprised 42% of all significant U.S. antitrust merger investigations resolved, up from 28% in the RTM ending Q1 2017, as the backlog of older investigations continues to be drawn down under the new administration. The seven significant U.S. antitrust merger investigations resolved in Q1 2018 represent the second highest level of Q1 enforcement on record with DAMITT while the 31 significant U.S. antitrust merger investigations resolved in the last 12 months is on par with the average of 32 resolved in the same period in each of the three prior years. 

Read "DAMITT Q1 2018 Update: Trend Toward Longer Antitrust Merger Investigations Slowing or Reversing, But Activity Levels Similar to Recent Years".