Vanderbilt Law Review


William H. Barr

First Page



A provision of the antitrust statutes currently receiving a great deal of publicity is the anti-merger section of the Clayton Act-section 7. The statute prohibits the acquisition by one corporation of stock or assets of another corporation, "where in any line of commerce in any section of the country, the effect of such acquisition may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly." It is designed to eliminate the merger as a means to amassing monopoly power by prohibiting at its incipiency the lessening of competition or the creation of monopoly power through merger. A finding of actual anti-competitive effects is not required; only a "reasonable probability" of such effects is necessary. Two major issues appear in any section 7 litigation: (1) what probable anti-competitive effects satisfy the requirements of substantially lessening competition or tending toward monopoly; and (2) what is the market area within which the effects of the merger are to be analyzed, both the geographic market area and the product or services market, the "line of commerce."