This has led Makan Delrahim, Trump’s assistant attorney general for antitrust cases, and other enforcers to focus on structural remedies instead. Essentially, if a merger is problematic, either force the company to break up or block the deal entirely. It may be a more old-school and blunt force solution. But it’s also a lot simpler and cleaner than saying “Yes, but …”
That brings us back to the Bayer-Monsanto deal. Among other things, the settlement with the Justice Department forces Bayer to sell off its business assets in vegetable, canola, and soybean seeds. Otherwise, all of that would’ve been combined with Monsanto’s seed business to kill off competitive pressure.
This is hardly the only instance of Trump’s antitrust enforcers relying on structural remedies. They also went to the mat to stop AT&T from merging with Time Warner (which is distinct from Time Warner Cable). Instead of relying on behavioral remedies, Trump’s regulators insisted that Time Warner sell off its Turner Broadcasting Division, or that AT&T sell off DirecTV. The companies balked, so the case went to trial and just recently wrapped up. The decision should come down in mid-June. Herbert Hovenkamp, a University of Pennsylvania professor and a well-known antitrust expert, thinks the government has a good shot at winning the case.