On March 17, 2020, the US Premerger Notification Office implemented a temporary e-filing system for submission of Hart-Scott-Rodino Act filings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice also announced early terminations of the waiting period would not be granted while the temporary filing system was in place. On March 30, 2020, the agencies updated their guidance and announced they will again grant early termination for filings when they have determined no enforcement action is necessary during the initial waiting period.

Parties requesting early termination should understand that due to capacity limitations and the need to focus on transactions presenting competitive concerns, early termination requests will be processed as the agencies’ time and resources allow. As a result, early termination may not be granted at all, even where there are no competitive concerns, or may be granted much later than has historically been the case. The agencies have also advised they may modify or rescind the early termination policy at any time in light of new information and circumstances.