Delrahim named to head U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 27, 2017 8:25 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A member of President Donald Trump's transition team, Makan Delrahim, will be nominated to head the U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division, the White House said on Monday.

Delrahim is expected to move to the Justice Department after finishing up in the White House counsel's office, where he has worked to steer Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch through the Senate confirmation process.

As the proposed new chief of the Antitrust Division, he would review corporate mergers at a time when many investors and corporate executives are anticipating a more relaxed view of deal-making after years of tough oversight by the administration of former President Barack Obama.

But they could end up disappointed. Antitrust experts who have followed Delrahim's career say that when it comes to merger approvals that he will follow in the footsteps of a former boss, Hewitt Pate, who was assistant attorney general of antitrust from 2003 to 2005. Delrahim was Pate's deputy, specializing in international antitrust.

Under Pate, the division was criticized for allowing too many deals but it also sued to stop US Airways from merging with United Airlines and blocked a deal to combine DirecTV and EchoStar. It tried but failed to stop Oracle Corp from buying PeopleSoft.

The Senate must vote to confirm Delrahim.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)