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Antitrust Regulators Will Keep Working During a Shutdown

Friday, 8 Apr 2011 | 2:02 PM ET
Comstock Images | Getty Images

Federal officials charged with reviewing mergers under antitrust laws will keep working during a government shutdown.

The Federal Trade Commission says that its lawyers and economists will continue to conduct reviews of deals and accept filings for new deals.

Under antitrust law, government officials must act within 30 days if they want to challenge a deal before it closes. That time period will keep running even if the government closes down.

This raised the specter that some anti-competitive deals could accidentally slip past antitrust regulators if a shutdown became lengthy. Keeping the antitrust regulators up and running will prevent that outcome.

Many deals might be put on hold, however.

“If you’re a company that regularly does deals that need regulatory approval, you’re probably going to hold off during a shutdown. You don’t want the regulators feeling like you jammed them up while they were short staffed,” one New York based antitrust lawyer told me.

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