By Diane Bartz and Svea Herbst-Bayliss
WASHINGTON / BOSTON (Reuters) – Makan Delrahim, a veteran lobbyist for President Donald Trump‘s transition team, is expected to be nominated to head the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, two sources familiar with him told Reuters on Friday. Investigation process.
Delrahim is expected to move to the Justice Department after ending up in the White House attorney’s office, where he is working to guide Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch through the Senate confirmation process.
The sources spoke in the background because an announcement has not been made yet.
As the new proposed head of the Antitrust Division, he would be in charge of overseeing corporate mergers at a time when many investors and corporate executives expect a more relaxed attitude towards bargaining after years of tighter oversight by the Obama administration.
The department is reviewing a number of major deals, including the mergers of Dupont and Bayer (DE 🙂 and Monsanto (NYSE :). 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 evaluating AT & T’s controversial plan to buy Time Warner, which owns HBO, Warner Brothers and the CNN news network.
President Trump has not criticized the Time Warner deal since the November election, but during his campaign he called it an example of “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
Delrahim must be confirmed by the Senate.
Before coming to work in the White House after Trump’s inauguration in January, Delrahim was a lobbyist for the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.
In 2016, he lobbied for semiconductor company Qualcomm (NASDAQ :), Comcast Corp (NASDAQ 🙂 and Zuffa LLC, also known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, among others, according to the Lobbying Disclosure Act database.
Another client in 2016 was health insurer Anthem Inc, which this year lost a court fight with the Justice Department over whether it would be allowed to merge with rival Cigna (NYSE :). Anthem is appealing the loss.
Delrahim, whose family immigrated from Iran when he was young, solidified his loyalty to Trump last summer when he wrote an article in the New York Post urging Republicans to follow Trump. Only Trump could win and secure conservatives on the Supreme Court, the lawyer argued, adding that “there is no glory in handing over the Supreme Court to a Democratic president. But if we rule Trump out, that’s what will happen.”
Delrahim is a veteran of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, where he was assistant deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005, under then-President George W. Bush. He specialized in international antitrust.
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