Thursday, January 15, 2004

Antitrust News: Banking Frenzy

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will acquire Bank One Corp. for $58 billion in stock, creating a banking giant with $1.1 trillion in assets. Obviously the deal requires approval from antitrust regulators, but that's unlikely to be a major problem. The Justice Department, which has jurisdiction over banking mergers, generally doesn't challenge these type of deals. That doesn't mean, however, the lawyers won't nitpick. Expect to see the DOJ perform a gut-wrenching analysis of this deal market-by-market, and possibly extract a few token divestitures in some cities to prevent "reduced competition".

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