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January 31, 2022

What to Expect in 2022 Merger Enforcement: Trends and Developments from 2021


Despite the ongoing economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, deal activity in 2021 continued to set new records with global mergers and acquisitions topping $5.5 trillion dollars—far exceeding prior peaks in 2007 and 2015. At the same time, 2021 ushered in new leadership—and an aggressive antitrust enforcement agenda—with Jonathan Kanter becoming Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Lina Khan becoming Chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

Consistent with its 2020 campaign statements, the Biden Administration has moved to aggressively enforce US antitrust laws. And, the new leadership brought a number of high-profile merger challenges, with three deals being challenged or abandoned in the face of a challenge in the last couple of months of 2021, including US Sugar/Imperial Sugar (DOJ challenge), Nvidia/Arm (FTC challenge), and Great Outdoors/Sportsman’s Warehouse (abandoned due to FTC concerns).

Although the practical consequences of the Biden Administration’s antitrust policy are not yet fully known, 2021 provides a number of insights for parties to contemplate as they consider transactions in 2022 and beyond.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2022 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.