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Joint Bidding Arrangements With Competitors: Evaluating and Minimizing Antitrust Risks

Avoiding Bid Rigging Allegations and Violations Arising From Negotiations, Communications, and Information Exchanges With Competitors

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide guidance for antitrust practitioners on avoiding bid rigging allegations and violations in joint bidding arrangements for commercial contracts or proposals. The panelists will offer their insights and best practices for evaluating and minimizing antitrust risks in negotiations, communications, and information exchanges regarding joint bids in response to requests for proposals, letters of intent or commercial contracts.


Department of Justice investigations and lawsuits alleging bid rigging have become increasingly common. Although legitimate pro-competitive joint bidding arrangements are encouraged, there is a thin line between lawful joint bidding and illegal bid rigging. Antitrust counsel must understand the grey areas and potential legal pitfalls with joint bidding arrangements so they can appropriately advise their business clients.

Anti-competitive joint bidding schemes come in many forms, including making agreements with competitors not to bid, submitting token bids to give the appearance of competition, and alternating bids. To avoid even the appearance of engaging in bid rigging, companies participating in joint bidding arrangements should refrain from discussing bid terms with competitors, avoid making unrealistically high bids, avoid language that suggests unusual depth of knowledge of a competitor’s bid, and minimize sudden withdrawals of bids or changes in bid terms or conditions.

Further, counsel should remain alert for red flags that could indicate antitrust violations, such as questionable invoices or payments, suspicious bidding patterns, suspicious pricing patterns, and questionable conduct during negotiations, communications and information exchanges with competitors regarding joint bidding arrangements.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the antitrust risks with joint bidding arrangements with competitors and best practices for evaluating and minimizing liability exposure.



  1. Joint bidding arrangements
    1. Characteristics of pro-competitive arrangements
    2. Characteristics of anti-competitive arrangements
  2. Big rigging
    1. Types of bid rigging schemes
    2. Red flags that indicate potential bid rigging
    3. Best practices to avoid bid rigging allegations and violations


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What types of joint bidding arrangements are considered pro-competitive? When do joint bidding arrangements cross the line to become anti-competitive?
  • What conduct should companies engaged in joint bidding arrangements with competitors avoid to minimize the appearance of bid rigging?
  • What ongoing safeguards should companies implement to identify and address potential antitrust violations with joint bidding arrangements?


Robert B. Bell
Robert B. Bell

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Mr. Bell has wide experience securing antitrust clearance for mergers and acquisitions from both the DOJ and the...  |  Read More

William L. Monts, III
William L. Monts, III

Hogan Lovells

Whether they be class actions, government suits, or individual claims, Mr. Monts has handled virtually every kind of...  |  Read More

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