O eliminating potential competition is a theory which

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o ‘Eliminating potential competition’ is a theory which holds that but for the merger, the acquiring company might have competed in the acquired company’s market. o Many companies are both heavy buyers and heavy sellers of products. A company may buy from its customers as well as sell to them. This practice is known in antitrust jargon as reciprocity. Reciprocity is the practice of a seller who uses his volume of purchases from the buyer to induce the buyer to purchase from him. o Section 7 can also apply to joint ventures, a rule first announced in 1964. The Clayton Act provides that the government may seek divestiture when an acquisition or a merger violates the act. Key Takeaway Section 7 prohibits mergers or acquisitions that might tend to lessen competition in any line of commerce in any section of the country. Mergers and acquisitions are usually classified in one of three ways: horizontal (between competitors), vertical (between different levels of the distribution chain), or conglomerate (between businesses that are not directly related). The latter may be divided into product-extension and market- © 2017 FlatWorld 15
BUSINESS LAW expansion mergers. The relevant market test is different than in monopolization cases; in a Section 7 action, relevance of market may be proved. In assessing horizontal mergers, the courts will look to the market shares of emerging companies, industry concentration ratios, and trends toward concentration in the industry. To prove a Section 7 case, the plaintiff must show that the merger forecloses competition “in a substantial share of” a substantial market. Conglomerate merger cases are harder to prove and require a showing of specific potential effects, such as raising barriers to entry into an industry and thus entrenching monopoly, or eliminating potential competition. Joint ventures may also be condemned by Section 7. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 requires certain companies to get premerger notice to the Justice Department. 8. Cases Horizontal Restraints of Trade National Society of Professional Engineers v. United States 435 U.S. 679 (1978) This is a civil antitrust case brought by the United States to nullify an association’s canon of ethics prohibiting competitive bidding by its members. The question is whether the canon may be justified under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S. c. § 1 et seq. (1976 ed.), because it was adopted by members of a learned profession for the purpose of minimizing the risk that competition would produce inferior engineering work endangering the public safety. The District Court rejected this justification without making any findings on the likelihood that competition would produce the dire consequences foreseen by the association. The Court of Appeals affirmed. We granted certiorari to decide whether the District Court should have considered the factual basis for the proffered justification before rejecting it. Because we are satisfied that the asserted defense rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Rule of Reason frequently applied in antitrust litigation, we affirm.

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