Keeping an Eye on the Government

ftc-main_fullA story in the news last week caught my eye – U.S. antitrust enforcers are planning to revamp merger guidelines.  This isn’t surprising news – there have been expectations for quite awhile that the Obama administration was going to take a closer look at large corporate mergers.  It also won’t affect the vast majority of you (or our clients) – antitrust enforcement generally only relates to the biggest of the deals (like the potential Kraft – Cadbury transaction mentioned in the article). What stood out to me, though, was at the bottom of the page:

The move to revamp the guidelines… comes as tentative signs emerge that the mergers and acquisitions market is recovering… In the three months from June to August, global M&A rose 29 percent compared to the preceding three months. In the second quarter, M&A was up 15.2 percent compared with the first quarter…

This has been exactly what we have been seeing with our clients in recent months.  Deals are getting done in new ways:  more creative deal structures are being used and more options are on the table.  Deals are viewed as strategic partnerships to make two companies stronger and help them weather the storm together.  Is increased government scrutiny actually an indication that we are finally starting to see clear skies in the distance?