Federal Antitrust Law-Mergers-An Updating of the “Failing Company” Doctrine in the Amended Section 7 Setting

Even though application of section 7 has become increasingly effective, a specific exception to its coverage has been recognized by Congress and the Supreme Court. This exception is commonly referred to as the “failing company” doctrine. In short. the doctrine holds that an acquired or to-be-acquired firm which is in a “failing” condition, or the acquiring corporation, may interpose this condition as a defense to any prosecution under section 7 seeking to prevent or undo the acquisition of the failing company’s stock or assets by the other. This discussion will attempt to explore the development of the doctrine, consider its significance and justification in our competitive system, and suggest possible guidelines for its application.