Steven K. Bernstein


Steven K. Bernstein
Steven Bernstein, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office, focuses on antitrust counseling and litigation, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining the Firm, he served for more than 12 years at the Federal Trade Commission, most recently as Assistant Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, where he oversaw the Bureau’s Mergers I Division.

Since joining Weil in 2004, Steve has represented numerous clients before the FTC and the Department of Justice and has successfully obtained antitrust clearance for major transactions in a variety of industries. Recent successes include representing Actavis in its $66 billion acquisition of Allergan, Johnson & Johnson in its $21.3 billion purchase of Synthes, and Health Management Associates in the sale of the company to Community Health Systems for $7.6 billion. Steve also regularly represents clients in antitrust conduct matters before the antitrust enforcement agencies and in private litigation.

While at the FTC, Steve was involved in supervising the FTC’s merger enforcement program in a wide range of industries, including aerospace and defense, healthcare, and industrial products. Steve played a significant role in a number of important antitrust enforcement actions in these industries, including the successfully litigated challenge of Alliant Techsystems’ proposed acquisition of Olin’s Ordnance Division. He was also responsible for negotiating numerous consent agreements, including settlements in Lockheed Martin/Loral, Astra/Zeneca, Boeing/Rockwell Aerospace and Defense, ABB/Elsag Bailey, Illinois Tool Works/Hobart Brothers, and S.C. Johnson/DowBrands.

Steve is consistently recognized in Chambers USA, with clients and commentators noting that he is a “super-smart guy with years and years of experience,” has a “can-do attitude” and is “really prepared to get through the process in a very efficient way, and is technically superb as well.” In 2020, he was ranked by Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides as Best of the Best USA (Top 30) for Competition and Antitrust. He has also been recognized by Global Competition Review, Legal 500 US, Super Lawyers, and was named a “Best Lawyer” for Antitrust Law and Antitrust Litigation by Best Lawyers in America. Steve was named an Antitrust “Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal in 2016. He also has received numerous awards at the FTC, including the Paul Rand Dixon Award for his outstanding contributions to the FTC’s merger enforcement program in the defense industry, the FTC’s Excellence in Supervision Award, the Outstanding Team Effort Award, the FTC Award for Superior Service, and the FTC Award for Meritorious Service. In 2002, Steve was recognized by Corporate Board Member magazine as one of the nation’s best and brightest attorneys under the age of 40.

Steve has also written articles discussing the role of antitrust enforcement in the defense, pharmaceutical, and retail industries, and served on the editorial board for the American Bar Association Pharmaceutical Industry Antitrust Handbook. In addition, he participated in the development of the FTC Best Practices Guidelines for Merger Investigations, as well as served as vice chair of the Government Litigation Committee of the ABA’s Antitrust Section.

Key Representations:

  • Represented Blackstone Capital Partners and its portfolio company, PSAV, a global AV and event technology services provider, in its acquisition of Encore Event Technologies. Weil obtained unconditional clearance from the FTC.
  • Represented Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) in connection with the antitrust review of the sale of the company to Community Health Systems, Inc. for approximately $7.6 billion.
  • Represented Avaya in its acquisition of Nortel’s enterprise solutions business for $900 million. Obtained unconditional antitrust clearance for the transaction.
  • Represented Staples, Inc. and Staples Acquisition B.V. in connection with its unsolicited multi-billion dollar cash bid to acquire Corporate Express N.V. Unconditional antitrust clearance for the transaction was obtained.
  • Represented Walgreens Boots Alliance in its acquisition of 1,932 Rite Aid stores and related assets, a transaction valued at $4.377 billion.
  • Represented Walgreens Boots Alliance in its $177 million acquisition of pharmacy patient prescription files and related pharmacy assets of 179 Fred’s stores.
  • Represented Walgreens in connection with the company’s (and Alliance Boots’) proposed acquisition of an equity position in AmerisourceBergen (one of the nation’s leading drug wholesalers), and the strategic, long-term alliance between the three companies.
  • Represented Walgreens in its $1.075 billion acquisition of Duane Reade Holdings, an operator of 257 drug stores located in the New York City metropolitan area. Antitrust clearance for the transaction was obtained without issuance of a Second Request.
  • Represented Avista Capital Partners in its $602.5 million sale of Anthony International, a leading manufacturer of specialty glass, commercial glass refrigerator and freezer doors, case lighting, and display and merchandising systems, to publicly traded diversified global manufacturer Dover Corporation.
  • Represented Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, a leading independent specialty pharmaceutical company, in its $2.6 billion sale to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Antitrust clearance for the transaction was obtained without issuance of a Second Request.
  • Represented Johnson & Johnson in its $21.3 billion purchase of Swiss-American orthopedic devices maker Synthes Inc. Obtained clearance with limited divestitures given the scope of the transaction.
  • Represented Johnson & Johnson in its $16.6 billion acquisition of Pfizer's Consumer healthcare and OTC drug business. Obtained clearance with limited divestitures given the scope of the transaction.

Steve received his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he served as the executive editor of the Northwestern University Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. He received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Miami, where he graduated magna cum laude.

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