Let's Make (UL)A Deal

As you've heard by now, the FTC has announced its decision to approve, with conditions, merging of the government rocket launch businesses of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. (And so fast!)

As the FTC summarizes, the
consent order (approved by Boeing and Lockheed, which the Commission approved 5-0, with a separate concurring statement by Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour) "first requires ULA to cooperate on equivalent terms with all providers of government space vehicles. This will ensure that ULA cannot give an unfair advantage to the space vehicle businesses of its parent companies during DoD’s space vehicle procurement process. Next, the space vehicle businesses of Boeing and Lockheed must provide equal consideration and support to all launch service providers when seeking any U.S. government delivery in orbit contract. This provision will prevent Boeing and Lockheed from discriminating against nascent government MTH launch services suppliers in order to protect ULA’s monopoly status. Finally, Boeing, Lockheed, and ULA are required to safeguard competitively sensitive information obtained from other space vehicle and launch services providers."

Here is the FTC's
complaint, in which Commission alleged the proposed joint venture would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. § 18), and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. § 45), "by substantially lessening competition in the U.S. markets for government MTH launch services and government space vehicles."

And this is the FTC's six-page
"Analysis of the Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment."

By the way, the order is "subject to public comment for 30 days, until October 31, 2006, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final." Send comments to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

And if you need to brush up on some antitrust law, the
8th Annual Sedona Conference on Antitrust Law and Litigation will take place October 26-27 at the Hilton Sedona Resort in Arizona.

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