Federal Trade Commission seeks injunction in Black Knight deal

The FTC wants to stop the acquisition by Intercontinental Exchange until an administrative law judge hears the case.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. April 10, 2023
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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s acquisition of Jacksonville-based Black Knight Inc.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s acquisition of Jacksonville-based Black Knight Inc.
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The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint April 10 in federal court in California seeking an injunction to stop Intercontinental Exchange Inc. from completing its proposed acquisition of Jacksonville-based Black Knight.

The agency filed an administrative complaint seeking to block the deal March 9 and scheduled a hearing July 12 before an administrative law judge of the FTC.

In its complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the FTC said the two parties are planning to close the deal after a special meeting of Black Knight shareholders to vote on revised terms of agreement April 28.

The FTC is asking for a preliminary injunction to stop the companies from closing the deal before the case is heard by the administrative law judge.

ICE is best known as operator of the New York Stock Exchange. However, it also has a large mortgage technology business and Black Knight’s main business is mortgage loan technology.

The FTC has expressed concerns that the acquisition would give ICE too much control over the mortgage technology business in the U.S. and reduce competition.

ICE agreed to buy Black Knight in May 2022. Black Knight shareholders approved the agreement in September 2022.

The two companies in March amended the terms after an agreement to divest Black Knight’s mortgage loan origination platform. The new shareholders meeting was scheduled to vote on the revised terms.

The companies hoped that agreement would satisfy the FTC’s antitrust concerns but the agency went ahead with its administrative complaint two days after the agreement was announced.

ICE has said it will challenge the FTC’s position and continue to pursue closing the deal. It has not made a public statement of its intention to close the deal after the April 28 shareholders meeting.

The FTC said in its request for an injunction that the deal should not be allowed to close until the two sides present their case to the administrative law judge in July.

“That administrative hearing will determine the legality of the Acquisition and will provide all parties a full opportunity to conduct discovery and present testimony and other evidence regarding the likely competitive effects of the Acquisition,” the complaint said.

"The FTC’s move was expected," ICE said in an emailed statement April 10.

"We look forward to presenting our case to close the deal in federal court and are confident in the outcome," it said.



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