Foolish consistency

“Justice Department Fights AMR Request in Lawsuit,” Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2013 B5 http://on.wsj.com/17l2nBO

The Department of Justice is suing to block the merger between American Airlines and US Airways because the merger would allegedly stifle competition and raise costs to consumers.  American wants to know who Justice interviewed about the merger and what they said.  American also wants information about how previous airline mergers were analyzed.

[Disclosure: I received several Second Requests from the DOJ (it’s a huge information “request” that the parties to the proposed merger need to provide to the Government) in my prior life.  It’s truly amazing the information they ask for.]

Leaving aside the legal niceties and a review of the prior case law on the precise point, wouldn’t it make sense for the Government to disclose who it talked with before deciding that the proposed merger would be anticompetitive?  Were they for it or against it? Aren’t cases supposed to be decided on the merits?  And shouldn’t this proposed merger be evaluated the same as other proposed airline mergers, or the Government explain why this one is different?

It struck me that the Government might have a greater obligation to disclose how it reached its conclusions, not only to American but also to the rest of us (who might have an interest), or at least to those who might want to do a merger in the future.

Does information have a different value depending who “owns” it?  Why? Or why not?

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Filed under Definition, Knowledge Management, Ownership, Use, Value

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