Jonathan Barnett and Luke Froeb on Hollywood Mergers

ICLE Academic Affiliates Jonathan M. Barnett and Luke Froeb were quoted by Variety in a story about antitrust concerns that could be raised by growing sentiment in Hollywood that studios need to merge. You can read the full piece here.

“There are certain portions of the antitrust community who are of the view that certain elements of antitrust law over almost half a century have gone in the wrong direction,” says Jonathan Barnett, a professor at USC Gould School of Law. “The focus has been in particular on the rise of digital platforms and the accompanying level of concentration that you now observe in those markets.”

…Luke Froeb, Vanderbilt University professor and former chief economist for the Justice Department’s antitrust division, is critical of the Biden-era approach.

“They’ve stepped away from 50 years of case law that made things reasonably clear [for companies],” Froeb says. “They’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re going back to the ’60s, when we thought ‘Big is bad.’”

…“Deal risk is now elevated,” USC’s Barnett says. “The agencies are challenging deals that we wouldn’t have expected to be challenged under conventional antitrust doctrines. The agencies are demanding more information and more evidence of efficiencies in merger reviews. That all adds more costs and more risk of rejection.”