The Obama administration's new Antitrust Czar has firmly set the tone of future antitrust policy with back to back speeches in Washington this week. There is no question...and no surprise...that the respite of Laissez-faire enjoyed by big business during the Bush administration is over. What remains to be seen is just how tough the new antitrust policy is going to be. The Los Angeles Times predicts a return to "... the type of aggressive antitrust enforcement of the 1990s." This may be wishful thinking. While Christine Varney was a key member of the Clinton administration, she is now working for a much more liberal White House. And she seems to be walking the new talk, taking the position that our current economic woes are in significant measure a result of relaxed antitrust enforcement.
Of most importance to our industry is the Wall Street Journal's coverage of these changes with an article today that focuses at length on our Fertilizer Wars: "One combination antitrust experts say could face an uphill battle under the new guidelines is Agrium's proposed acquisition of CF Industries..." Stay tuned.