UNITED STATES V. BAZAARVOICE: THE ROLE OF CUSTOMER TESTIMONY IN CLAYTON ACT MERGER CHALLENGES
By Gregory J. Werden1
In June 2012 Bazaarvoice, Inc. acquired its primary competitor PowerReviews, Inc. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice promptly began investigating, and in January 2013, the Department brought suit in the Northern District of California seeking to unwind the deal. Following extraordinarily extensive third-party discovery and a three-week trial, Judge William H. Orrick held that the acquisition violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act.2 Bazaarvoice then stipulated to the entry of a final judgment unwinding the deal, so there was no appeal.
The court found that Bazaarvoice was by far the largest provider of "product ratings and reviews platforms," which are software tools and associated services for soliciting and disseminating customer feedback on e-commerce websites. PowerReviews was the second largest provider of such platforms.3