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DEALBREAKERS - The Biden administration has so far not been as aggressive as expected on general white-collar enforcement—emphasis on the “so far“—but when it comes to antitrust issues, the feds have come out swinging. The FTC repealed its M&A guidelines this summer, signaling its intentions to step up enforcement. Meanwhile, the president’s picks for key antitrust posts at the FTC and the DOJ are also vocal critics of Silicon Valley’s business practices. As Law.com’s Nate Robson writes in this week’s Law.com Barometer newsletter, lawyers are advising clients that M&A work should expect enhanced scrutiny going forward, and that deals already approved could still get caught in the administration’s crosshairs. “There is an expectation that the Biden administration will be more confident moving forward once key nominees are confirmed, especially if it continues to notch wins and there is bipartisan support,” Robson writes, pointing to the recent collapse of the Aon-Willis Towers Watson deal as the administration’s first major antitrust win. What’s more, this week’s blockbuster testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen before the Senate consumer protection subcommittee has already fueled renewed calls for privacy and competition laws targeting online platforms, and some lawmakers are pushing for stronger antitrust laws. To receive the Law.com Barometer directly to your inbox each week, click here.
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