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FTC provides hilariously little information about Patrick Soon-Shiong’s transaction with Erick Thohir

A denial of our FOIA request would have given us the same amount of info

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Announces First Major Project Of The Pediatric Cancer MoonShot 2020 Consortium: $20 Million Award to Enable Comprehensive Molecular Analysis of Pediatric Brain Tumors Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NantHealth, Inc.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s rumored purchase of D.C. United blew up big 2 months ago, and has gone quiet since then. In the meantime, Black and Red United submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Trade Commission, whose premerger transaction notices are the way we found out about Dr. Soon-Shiong’s interest in D.C. United. The documents that the FTC provided are....not illuminating.

Federal anti-trust law requires a waiting period for transactions that involve the purchase of voting rights in companies at a value of $50M or more. However, that waiting period can be waived when the transaction is not complicated and does not endanger the public interest. As the first document states, the early termination of that waiting period was granted on April 6, 2018, which means that the proposed acquisition could continue towards completion; we do not know what the current status of possible acquisition is.

The company in question is Black Eagle Investment Group, which has long been linked to Jason Levien and Erick Thohir. Thohir in particular has a long history of nesting holding companies, and so Black Eagle seems to be one of the higher-level holding companies that likely owns DC Stadium LLC, DC Soccer LLC, and other operational companies (possibly with other holding companies in between).

After the letters from the staff attorney and the program support specialist, there is the part that would be the most interesting: the notification and report summary. Unfortunately, everything except the names of Dr. Soon-Shiong and Erick Thohir is exempted from disclosure, including the dates of the documents, the dates of transactions, and any details at all about Black Eagle Investment Group. The sales and assets of Black Eagle could have contained information about the cash flow of D.C. United, but companies are loathe to ever give that information out and the government is more than happy to accommodate them.

The final two pages are completely redacted, so we don’t even know what kind of information would have been on them. If there are any experts in the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act out there who can parse some meaning out of the redaction citations, give us your nuggets in the comments!