Geoff Manne and ICLE Scholars on Mergers and Merger Guidelines

Reason – ICLE President Geoffrey Manne was quoted by Reason in a story about the U.S. antitrust agencies,  which covered both the recent FTC-DOJ draft merger guidelines and also cited ICLE’s recent merger retrospectives white paper. You can read full piece here.

Over the summer, the FTC and DOJ jointly released a draft update of corporate merger guidelines, which Khan said were designed to “reflect the realities of how firms do business in the modern economy.” In response, Geoffrey Manne, in his capacity as president of the International Center for Law & Economics, argued that “the overbroad guidelines are clearly designed to deter merger activity as a whole, regardless of the risk posed to competition.” Baker called them “really more of an anti-merger manifesto.”

…But in “Doomsday Mergers: A Retrospective Study of False Alarms”—a white paper published in March 2023 by the International Center for Law & Economics, a group that tends to be skeptical toward the Khan/Wu approach to antitrust—the economists Brian C. Albrecht, Dirk Auer, Eric Fruits, and Geoffrey A. Manne look at several deals that neo-Brandeisians demanded be blocked—forecasting dire consequences should they be permitted—and show that these dire results have failed to pan out. The paper argues instead for antitrust enforcement that “focuses on tangible and short-term metrics, rather than hypothetical doomsday scenarios that are notoriously hard to predict.”