DOJ Investigates Cross-Ownership by Institutional Investors

DOJ Investigates Cross-Ownership by Institutional Investors


By: Bernard (Barry) A. Nigro Jr., Nathaniel L. Asker, Matthew E. Joseph

On Capitol Hill last week, the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, William J. Baer, confirmed that the DOJ is investigating potential antitrust issues arising from investors' “cross-ownership,” or minority shareholdings, in firms that compete against each other in concentrated industries.  Baer's statement follows two recent academic papers suggesting that institutional investors' minority interests in major U.S. airlines may reduce competition among the carriers.  Baer told a Senate subcommittee that the DOJ is investigating cross-ownership “in more than one industry,” and press reports indicate that the airlines industry is one of these.

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