While Americans were getting away for the weekend (or still on vacation from the July 4th holiday), the White House released on Friday, July 9th an Executive Order that touches the four corners of the American economy. The EO directs several federal agencies to take immediate action to address market consolidation and anticompetitive conditions in health care, pharma, agriculture, Internet service providers, and labor markets as a whole, including a potential federal ban on noncompetition provisions in employment contracts. The EO also directs DOJ and FTC to explore unwinding past "bad mergers" that prior Administrations did not object to!
No industry sector is spared as the Order touches on airlines (DOT), hearing aides (HHS), the shipping industry (Federal Maritime Commission) and agricultural equipment manufacturers (FTC), to name a few. Federal agencies will undoubtedly step up investigations and enforcement as well as undertake the various rulemakings as directed by the EO. It will also be more difficult to get transactions approved that require HSR filings.