On March 7, 2023, Becca Chappell was quoted in International Financial Law Review on the market's response to ramped-up scrutiny of M&A deals from antitrust authorities in the United States. According to the article, since the beginning of President Biden's mandate, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) antitrust division have attempted to block at least 22 mergers—twice as many as in former president Donald Trump's first two years in office. For their part, market participants have shown an increased willingness to litigate.
Preparations for potential challenges from the authorities are getting baked into the timelines and budgets of M&A transactions, explained Chappell. "If there's a higher likelihood that mergers can get held up through litigation, that changes the way companies operate in the interim," she said. "It probably puts more pressure on the due diligence process as well: at the inception of these deals, you have to think a lot more precisely, knowing that you could be getting into one of these regulatory processes."