Federal Trade Commission Increases Interlocking Directorates Thresholds

On January 24, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission announced its annual revision of the interlocking directorates thresholds under Section 8 of the Clayton Act.  The new thresholds were effective January 27, 2012.   The purpose of Section 8 of the Clayton Act is to prevent a “person” from serving as an officer or director of corporations that compete with one another in the marketplace, unless that competition is very limited.   For more information on the new thresholds, please click here for the January 27, 2012 Alert published by the Antitrust and Competition Client Service Group.

Premerger Notification Thresholds Increased

Effective February 27, 2012, the jurisdictional thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, will be increased.  Pursuant to statutory amendments made in 2000, the thresholds are annually adjusted based on changes in gross national product.  One key effect of this year’s indexing is that transactions will only be reported if the Size of Transaction exceeds $68.2 million, an increase over last year’s $66 million threshold.  To read more about the 2012 thresholds, please click here for the Alert published by the Antitrust and Competition Client Service Group on January 27, 2012.

SEC Changes Settlement Policy for Enforcement Actions With Parallel Criminal Proceedings

The SEC announced in January a significant change in its settlement policy for civil enforcement actions in which the defendant is also subject to parallel criminal proceedings.  Under the SEC’s new policy, any defendant who has admitted to or been found guilty of criminal conduct cannot settle parallel SEC charges without also admitting the SEC’s allegations.  For more information on the new policy, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation & Enforcement Client Service Groups on January 13, 2012.

NAD Reviews Use of Facebook’s “Like” Feature in Promotions

In 2010, Facebook offered its users the ability to click a button indicating that they “like” a company or a product.  Once clicked, the “liked” product appears on a user’s Facebook Wall and the user’s screen name or icon could also appear on the company’s Facebook page along with other users who liked the product.   Companies quickly realized the benefit of being “liked,” and encouraged consumers to “like” their products by making incentives available only to those who liked the product.  This practice is often referred to as a “like-gated” promotion.  The use of these promotions has raised consumer protection questions, and the National Advertising Division of the Council for Better Business Bureaus (“NAD”) has recently issued its first decision involving a like-gated promotion.  To learn more about the decision and allegations considered, please click here to read the Bulletin published by the Internet & New Media Group on January 3, 2012.  

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