This bill — known as the SMARTER Act — would standardize procedures used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) when reviewing proposed mergers or acquisitions that may lessen competition or lead to monopolies. Both agencies are responsible for enforcing anti-trust laws, but the way exercise the authority under current law is different.
Specifically, the bill would harmonize the standard the FTC and DOJ must meet before a federal court can issue a preliminary injunction against a proposed merger or acquisition. It’d also direct the FTC to resolve contested mergers or acquisitions through a federal court rather than through administrative litigation.
The bill’s full title is the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2018.