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Alternative Market Briefing

Other Voices: JAB case highlights more aggressive supervision of private equity deals

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

By: Shylah Alfonso, partner at U.S. law firm Perkins Coie.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 5-0 to issue a complaint and accept a proposed order for public comment regarding private equity fund JAB Consumer Partners SCA SICAR's (JAB) $1.1 billion acquisition of SAGE Veterinary Partners, LLC (SAGE) on June 13, 2022. Despite a unanimous, bipartisan vote to resolve a handful of competitive overlaps, public statements from the FTC's three Democrats and two Republicans highlight a significant schism regarding enforcement of private equity acquisitions and prior notice and approval requirements for future transactions.

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan favors a "muscular" approach to regulating private equity. This perspective largely channels the views of former commissioner and current Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, who previously warned Congress that private equity roll-ups "can quietly increase market power and reduce competition." Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Antitrust Division has used similar rhetoric, telling the Financial Times that private equity business models can be "very much at odds with the law, and very much at odds with the competition we're trying to protect."

In a joint statement from Chair Khan and commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro M. Bedoya on the JAB/SAGE consent order, the FTC's majority cau......................

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