Federal antitrust authorities consider updating corporate merger guidelines :: WRAL.com

– The Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice announced on Tuesday a joint review of federal guidelines for business mergers to determine whether they should be updated “to better detect and prevent illegal agreements and anti-competitive”.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about concentration in a range of industries, which some experts say can reduce competition and consumer choice, and after decades of less aggressive antitrust enforcement. Merger applications more than doubled from 2020 to 2021, the agencies said.

The review aims to determine whether the merger guidelines should be modernized in light of the technological and economic changes of recent years. The guidelines were last updated over ten years ago.

“This investigation comes in the context of a broader reassessment of the effects of mergers on the U.S. economy,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said Tuesday at a press conference. “Evidence suggests that decades of mergers have been a key driver of consolidation across all industries, with this latest wave of mergers threatening to further concentrate our markets. … Industry consolidation and weakening competition have deprived Americans in an open economy, with workers, farmers, small businesses and consumers are paying the price.”

The agencies will seek public comment on the merger guidelines, including how markets are defined for the purposes of antitrust reviews. They are also looking for information on “unique characteristics of digital marketplaces” which “often have characteristics such as zero-price products, multi-sided marketplaces and data aggregation that current guidelines do not address in detail.”

In recent years, the FTC and DOJ have begun to take action regarding antitrust concerns around the Big Tech industry, efforts that gained momentum after President Joe Biden named tech critics Khan and the chief… DOJ’s antitrust division, Jonathan Kanter, to lead the federal government’s top antitrust agencies. The Department of Justice is engaged in an ongoing lawsuit targeting Google’s dominance in search and search advertising. Last week, a judge ruled that the FTC’s lawsuit to break up Meta, Facebook’s parent company, could continue after the agency updated its complaint.

Following the investigation, the agencies will publish draft updated guidelines, with the aim of concluding by the end of this year.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.