Joe Sims, the FTC & DoubleClick

A quick point, and we hope others will investigate. Mr. Sims is helping lead the Jones Day team on its DoubleClick merger work, since he is a “senior antitrust Partner” at Jones Day. Mr. Sims, of course, serves along with John Majoras in the firm’s “Antitrust and Competition Law” department. Mr. Sims co-authored an article with Chairman Majoras prior to her work at the FTC. As Mr. Sims wrote in March 2006: “Deborah Majoras, the current Chairman of the FTC, understands all these points about as well as anyone could. She has spent about 10 years in private practice, a lot of that time doing merger work from the defense side, and about five years in senior positions at the Antitrust Division and the FTC, doing merger work (among other things) from the agency side. When she was in private practice, she coauthored (along with the author of this Commentary) one of the most detailed critiques of the HSR second request process, which estimated the potential costs of what the authors viewed as overreaching by the agencies in the hundreds of millions or potentially billions of dollars…

Understanding whether the FTC staff learned of the Jones Day role in the merger is important. The Chairman says she didn’t learn about it until Tuesday. We don’t really know what may have been communicated to the EC by Jones Day on the DoubleClick matter, and whether that was reported back to the FTC (via, for example its Office of International Affairs). But the public requires answers.

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