ValueAct fined $1.1m by US regulator

ValueAct Partners will pay a $1.1 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission for failing to comply with antitrust regulations prior to three 2005 investments.

A federal district court has fined ValueAct Partners $1.1 million (€766 million) for failing to notify the Federal Trade Commission before acquiring large stakes in several companies in 2005, according to an FTC statement.

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act imposes notification and waiting period requirements on individuals and companies over a certain size before they acquire stock or assets above a certain value, which was $50 million in 2005. The FTC alleged that ValueAct did not comply with the act's requirements prior to its $248 million investment in IT research company Gartner, its $148 million investment in Catalina Marketing and its $178 million in data management company Acxiom.

In 2003 ValueAct committed three similar violations, and “claimed that it was not aware that it has HSR filing obligations”, the FTC said in a statement, so the agency allowed the firm to make corrective filings. Value Act also was asked to outline steps it would take to prevent similar lapses in the future.

“While we are flexible and may forgive an inadvertent error, we are less so in cases where multiple errors have been made despite earlier promises of diligent oversight,” FTC bureau of competition director Jeffrey Schmidt said in the statement.

ValueAct did not return a request for comment.

ValueAct has offices in Boston and San Francisco. The firm acquires controlling or significant ownership stakes in publicly listed companies, and has around $6 billion in assets under management.