WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's chief antitrust fighter said today that he will limit government lawsuits against corporate mergers and concentrate on criminal price-fixing and bid-rigging.
Assistant Atty. Gen. Charles Rule, new head of the department's antitrust division, told a news conference that he sees no need for new laws to curb corporate acquisitions. Several such bills are before Congress.
"We challenge only those mergers that represent a real threat to consumers," Rule said.
"If a merger violates our guidelines and threatens consumers' interests, we will try to stop it. Often, as a result of such a decision, the parties will restructure their merger to eliminate the problem."
Rule, who was confirmed by the Senate last month but has been acting director of the antitrust division for almost a year, said many U.S. corporate mergers are vital to counter stiff foreign competition.