James A. Fishkin combines both government and private sector experience within his practice, which focuses on mergers and acquisitions covering a wide range of industries, including supermarket chains and other retailers, consumer and food product manufacturers, internet-based firms, chemical and industrial gas firms, and healthcare firms.
He has been a key participant in several of the most significant litigated antitrust cases in the last two decades that have set important precedents, including representing Whole Foods Market, Inc. in FTC v. Whole Foods Market, Inc. and the Federal Trade Commission in FTC v. Staples, Inc. and FTC v. H.J. Heinz Co.
Mr. Fishkin has also played key roles in securing unconditional clearances for many high-profile mergers, including the merger of OfficeMax/Office Depot and Monster/HotJobs, and approval for other high-profile mergers after obtaining successful settlements, including the merger of Albertsons/Safeway. He also served as the court-appointed Divestiture Trustee on behalf of the Department of Justice in the Grupo Bimbo/Sara Lee bread merger.
Mr. Fishkin has been recognized by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500, and Benchmark Litigation for his antitrust work. Chambers USA notes that Mr. Fishkin “impresses sources with his ‘very practical perspective,’ with commentators also describing him as ‘very analytical.’”
The Legal 500 states that Mr. Fishkin “possesses excellent relationships and very good business sense.” Benchmark Litigation has listed Mr. Fishkin as an antitrust “litigation star” and praised his “legal analysis, strategy, and knowledge of government entities.”
Mr. Fishkin has been a speaker at industry and academic conferences, a lecturer to antitrust practitioners at CLE-approved events, and a guest law school lecturer. He has also made educational presentations to antitrust officials from the EU Merger Task Force, several European and South American countries, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the FTC.
- The University of Iowa, B.A., 1983, with Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa
- The University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1986, Note and Comment Editor of the Iowa Law Review and author of “Nix v. Williams: An Analysis of the Preponderance Standard for the Inevitable Discovery Exception,” 70 Iowa Law Review 1369 (1985)
- District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- American Bar Association Antitrust Section
- Practitioner-In-Residence, University of Iowa College of Law (March 19-20, 2018)
- Guided Albertsons and its parent Cerberus to a settlement with the FTC and several states that enabled Cerberus to complete its US$9.4 billion acquisition of Safeway, the largest supermarket merger ever (measured by combined number of stores). The FTC accepted the settlement for public comment on January 27, 2015.
- Obtaining for US Ecology, Inc. clearance from the DOJ to acquire The Environmental Quality Co. (EQ) for US$465 million. The DOJ cleared the transaction after a detailed review, despite competitive overlaps, without issuing a second request. US Ecology completed the acquisition in June 2014.
- Obtaining for Procurian, a company owned by Internet Capital Group, clearance from the DOJ to merge with Accenture. The DOJ cleared the transaction after a detailed review, despite competitive overlaps, without issuing a second request. ICG completed the sale to Accenture in December 2013.
- Obtaining for MWI Veterinary Supply, Inc. clearance from the FTC to acquire the assets of IVESCO Holdings LLC. The FTC cleared the acquisition after a detailed review, despite competitive overlaps, without issuing a second request. MWI completed the acquisition in November 2013.
- Obtaining for Airgas, Inc. clearance from the FTC to acquire the industrial, medical and specialty gas assets and operations of The Encompass Gas Group. The FTC cleared the acquisition after a detailed review, despite competitive overlaps, without issuing a second request. Airgas completed the acquisition in October 2013.
- Representing Kellogg Company in its acquisition of Wholesome & Hearty Foods’ Gardenburger business. The FTC closed its investigation without seeking any enforcement action against the consummated acquisition in May 2009.
- Obtaining for Airgas, Inc. clearance from the FTC to acquire the refrigerants assets and operations of Refron, Inc. The FTC cleared the transaction, despite competitive overlaps, without issuing a second request. Airgas completed the acquisition in July 2008.
Prior to entering private practice in 2002, Mr. Fishkin spent 15 years at the FTC where he had a distinguished career and acquired a deep understanding of complex antitrust and litigation issues. Mr. Fishkin was the lead attorney on many high profile merger investigations, including some of the most significant antitrust matters of the period. Such investigations resulted in successful litigation, major settlements or terminated mergers.
Mr. Fishkin also was the prime architect of the Commission’s supermarket merger enforcement program and he managed virtually all of the major supermarket merger investigations. Some of his prominent supermarket merger enforcement matters included Winn-Dixie/Jitney-Jungle (2001), Kroger/Winn-Dixie (2000), Ahold/Pathmark (1999), Albertson’s/American Stores (1999), Ahold/Giant Food (1998), Albertson’s/Buttrey (1998), Jitney-Jungle/Delchamps (1997), Stop & Shop/Purity Supreme (1995) and Red Apple/Sloan’s-Gristede’s (1995).
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