Exclusive: Delrahim to head Justice Department Antitrust Division


WASHINGTON/BOSTON Makan Delrahim, a veteran lobbyist on President Donald Trump’s transition team, is expected to be nominated to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, two sources familiar with the vetting process told Reuters on Friday.

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

The sources spoke on background because a public announcement has not yet been made.

As the proposed new chief of the Antitrust Division, he would be in charge of overseeing corporate mergers at a time many investors and corporate executives are hoping for a more relaxed attitude toward deal-making after years of tougher oversight by the Obama administration.

The department is reviewing a number of major deals, including mergers of Dow and Dupont and Bayer and Monsanto. Those proposed transactions, along with a third deal, ChemChina’s purchase of Syngenta, would consolidate six agricultural chemical giants into three.

The Justice Department is also reviewing ATT’s controversial plan to buy Time Warner, owner of HBO, Warner Brothers and the news network CNN.

President Trump has not commented on the Time Warner deal since the November election but during his campaign he said it was an example of a rigged “power structure.”

“It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” said Trump.

Before coming to work at the White House following Trump’s inauguration in January, Delrahim was a lobbyist with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, based in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Delrahim must be confirmed by the Senate.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Bernard Orr)


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