DOJ continues aggressive scrutiny of consummated mergers

On 10 January 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Bazaarvoice Inc., challenging the company’s acquisition of PowerReviews Inc.1 DOJ’s Complaint argues that the acquisition eliminates competition in the market for “product ratings and reviews platforms,” and asks the court to order Bazaarvoice to divest assets sufficient to “replace PowerReview’s competitive significance in the marketplace.” DOJ challenged the transaction despite its relatively small size and despite the fact that the parties consummated the transaction over six months ago in June 2012.2 The lawsuit underscores the heightened scrutiny of consummated mergers and acquisitions in recent years, as well as the significance of so-called “hot” documents to agency investigations.

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