Kirkland Alert Kirkland & Ellis LLP

U.S. Department of Justice Fines Firms $900,000 for Illegal HSR “Gun Jumping”

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) brought a federal antitrust lawsuit against both Smithfield and Premium, challenging not the 2007 combination itself but rather the parties’ conduct prior to receiving HSR clearance. The case was simultaneously settled, with the companies agreeing to pay a total of $900,000 in fines. According to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney: “Merging companies must remain independent in their ordinary business operations, including purchasing decisions, until the end of the premerger waiting period.”