Divestiture of Illegally Held Assets: Observations on Its Scope, Objective, and Limitations

“Divestiture has been called the most important of antitrust remedies. It is simple, relatively easy to administer, and sure.” This observation was made with reference to an order requiring divestiture of illegally held stock. In the context of the divestiture of illegally held assets, however, the statement is an oversimplification of myriad complex problems. This Comment will examine the difficulties encountered in eliminating the anticompetitive effects of a fully consummated merger found to have violated section 7 of the Clayton Act. No attempt will be made to assess the substantive doctrine upon which the violation in any instance was based, except insofar as it is necessary to correlate that doctrine with the problems involved in providing appropriate relief. Although the problems surrounding asset divestiture are difficult to discuss in the abstract, certain conclusions regarding the permissible scope, objectives, and practical limitations of the divestiture remedy should be drawn to provide a much-needed conceptual framework for each individual case.