May Antitrust Bulletin

May 9, 2017

Confirmation Hearing May 10 for Antitrust Division Nominee Makan Delrahim

In late March 2017, President Trump nominated current White House deputy counsel Makan Delrahim to be assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division. Delrahim formerly served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice (DOJ) during President George W. Bush’s administration. Delrahim’s career spans antitrust, intellectual property and international trade fields, both in government service and in private practice. His confirmation hearing currently is scheduled for May 10. President Trump has not yet announced nominees for the three open commissioner positions at the Federal Trade Commission.

Anthem Seeks Supreme Court Review of Cigna Acquisition

On May 5, 2017, Anthem confirmed that it will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the district court’s decision blocking its bid to acquire Cigna. The acquisition first was announced in July 2015 and was approved by shareholders of both companies in December 2015. The DOJ moved to block the merger, and the case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia over a seven-week period in fall 2016. On Feb. 8, 2017, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found for the government, blocking the merger. Anthem appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit, which upheld the district court’s order, in a 2-1 decision issued Feb. 28, 2017. 

Monsanto Backs Out of Deere Acquisition After DOJ Merger Challenge

On May 1, 2017, approximately one month before the DOJ’s suit to block the acquisition of Precision Planting LLC by Deere & Co. was set to go to trial, Precision Planting’s parent company, Monsanto, decided to end the deal. The acquisition originally was announced in 2015 and the DOJ moved to block the deal in August 2016. The DOJ’s challenge to the merger was set to be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  

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