As the number of mergers and acquisitions has rapidly increased in the past few years since the 2007-08 financial crisis, government watchdog agencies have been slower at approving them, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are using more time to investigate mergers, the newspaper reported, citing data from antitrust lawyer Paul Denis of Dechert LLP. Denis’ data show recent merger reviews are taking 10 months on average versus seven months in previous years.
The Journal noted a few reasons why recent mergers have been held in regulatory limbo:
External factors explain the length of some antitrust probes. Telecom mergers, such as the Comcast and AT&T deals, require an added layer of FCC review. And deals with a strong international component can take longer as firms coordinate with antitrust agencies overseas.
Some atypically long processes could be affecting Denis’ data. Comcast waited 14 months to hear about its bid for Time Warner Cable before ultimately dropping the plan in the face of regulatory pressure. Meanwhile, a review of AT&T’s attempt to acquire DirecTV has been in the works for more than a year.