Commentary: The New Math Of Antitrust

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky stands accused of inventing antitrust rules as he goes along. Critics are puzzled why his commission approved the $81 billion Exxon-Mobil merger in December, then voted down the much smaller $29 billion marriage between BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield Co. on Feb. 2. "This merger seems to have been held to a higher standard than anyone before it," says Ed Porter, manager of research for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association of oil and gas companies. Perhaps, critics say, Pitofsky simply has seen one oil merger too many.

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