Mergers and the Clayton Act

By David Dale Martin | Go to book overview

9. Corporate Mergers and Antitrust Policy

Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as it existed between 1914 and 1950, was but a small part of the federal antitrust law. The original Section 7 placed some restriction on one particular corporate practice -- intercorporate stockholding. The 1950 amendment created a statutory provision designed to cope with the broader problem of fusion of industrial corporations. Rather than being merely a "plugging of the loophole" in the Clayton Act, the new law is a major substantive change in the federal antitrust law policy. The original Section 7, as interpreted before 1957, prohibited one corporation from acquiring stock in another corporation, if the acquisition might have the effect of substantially lessening competition between the acquiring and the acquired corporation. As amended, Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits industrial corporations from acquiring either the stock or assets of another corporation, if there is a reasonable probability that the effect will be substantially to lessen competition in a market. Thus, the amendment not only replaces the original Section 7 of the Clayton Act, but also has the effect of replacing the Sherman Act, as the basic statutory statement of Congressional policy on all types of mergers of industrial corporations. Therefore, the new

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