By Till Patrik Holterhus, MLE.
The Memorandum Opinion in United States vs. H&R Block was finally released on the 10th of November, 2011. It is the first completely litigated case since United States vs. Oracle in 2004 and includes some really interesting findings.
The United States, through the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, filed an action on the 23rd of May, 2011. The Department of Justice sought to enjoin defendant H&R Block, Inc. from acquiring defendant 2SS Holdings, Inc., which sells digital do-it-yourself tax preparation products marketed under the brand name TaxACT.
The Court ultimately agreed with the Department of Justice, concluding that the proposed merger between H&R Block and TaxACT violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act because it is reasonably likely to cause anticompetitive effects. The government was able to establish a prima facie case indicating that anticompetitive effects are likely to result from the merger. The defendants were not able to make a showing that the government's market share statistics give an inaccurate account of the merger's probable effects on competition in the relevant market. To the contrary, the totality of the evidence confirmed that anticompetitive effects are a likely result of the merger, which would give H&R Block and Intuit control over 90 percent of the market for digital do-it-yourself tax preparation products.
The full Memorandum Opinion is available here.