Compass Lexecon was retained by Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, counsel for Tyson Foods, Inc. to assist with obtaining expedited regulatory approval of its acquisition of Keystone Foods in multiple jurisdictions around the world. The two companies are leading suppliers of protein products such as beef, pork, and chicken, around the world. Anticipating the complexity of cross-country economic analysis, Compass Lexecon assembled a team of U.S. and Asian experts led by Dr. Mark Israel in Washington, DC and Dr. Elizabeth Wang in Boston. Both experts and their teams closely coordinated their efforts to develop a consistent economic rationale demonstrating that the transaction would not harm competition.
To shorten the regulatory approval process, Tyson Foods filed merger notifications concurrently in multiple jurisdictions, including China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. On the U.S. side, Dr. Israel worked closely with the Axinn team to define the relevant downstream market and calculate the parties’ shares in processed poultry products and to demonstrate that competition would remain intense post-merger. Dr. Israel also showed that there would be a sufficient number of chicken-processing facilities available to growers in the upstream market post transaction to maintain competitive pricing. On the Asian side, Dr. Wang worked closely with the Axinn team and Tyson Foods’ local counsel in the three Asian countries. She focused on analyzing market definition and market shares, taking into account local specificities in the three Asian countries. Ultimately, all four antitrust agencies, SAMR in China, JFTC in Japan, KFTC in Korea, and DOJ in the U.S., cleared the transaction in October and November 2018.
Dr. Israel was supported by a team led by Loren Poulsen and Maria Stoyadinova that included Prerana Nanda, Christopher Rybak, Arela Haluci, Mariah Witteveen and Theodore Kalambokidis. Dr. Wang was supported by a team led by Jason Wu that included Jake Cheng, Bella Li, and Segye Shin. The Compass Lexecon team worked closely with Michael Keeley, Bradley Justus, Carmel Arikat, and Kail Jethmalani of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP in the US, Janet Hui and Francis Yang of Junhe LLP in China, and Miles Chung of Kim & Chang in Korea