U.S. v. H&R Block, Inc.

833 F. Supp. 2d 36 (D.D.C. 2011)


Approximately 140 million Americans filed tax returns with the IRS in 2010. Many taxpayers now prepare their returns using digital do-it-yourself tax preparation products, such as the popular software product 'TurboTax.' The three most popular DDIY providers are Block (D), TaxACT (D), and Intuit, the maker of TurboTax. These three firms accounted for approximately 90 percent of the DDIY-prepared federal returns filed in tax season 2010. In October 2010, the Block (D) Board of Directors approved a plan to acquire TaxACT. The post-merger plan was to maintain both the brands - with the Block (D)-brand focusing on higher priced-products and the TaxACT brand focusing on the lower-priced products. The proposed acquisition challenged in this case would combine Block (D) and TaxACT (D), the second and third most popular providers of DDIY products. According to P, this would create a duopoly between Block (D) and Intuit with 90% of the market between them. P also alleges that unilateral anticompetitive effects would result from the elimination of head-to-head competition between the merging parties. P claims the proposed acquisition violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act. P seeks a permanent injunction.