Small ‘Big Tech’ Mergers Draw More US Antitrust Scrutiny

Staff at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) presented data on small acquisitions by five large technology companies, and the agency removed guidelines on vertical mergers that combine a company with a a provider, both steps indicate plans to be more strict with the agreements. Following a study begun during the Trump administration, FTC staff found that Facebook, Alphabet’s Google,, Apple, and Microsoft executed 616 acquisitions from 2010 to 2019 that exceeded $ 1 million but were too small to report to agencies. antitrust, among others. Democratic Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter pointed out that considering the deals individually was inappropriate. “I think of serial acquisitions as a Pac-Man strategy. Each individual merger viewed independently may not appear to have a significant impact. But the collective impact of hundreds of smaller acquisitions can lead to monopoly behavior,” he explained. . While Christine Wilson, Republican commissioner called for a similar study on mergers of health services. The FTC sued Facebook last year, alleging that the social media company violated antitrust law. He has asked a judge to undo Facebook’s agreements for the photo-sharing app Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp, although both were reviewed by the agency. The FTC, which began holding open meetings after the progressive Lina Khan took office in June, also voted to withdraw the Trump-era guidelines regarding vertical deals. Republicans Wilson and Noah Phillips opposed the decision. The Justice Department said in a statement that it was reviewing both the vertical merger guidelines and the guidelines on horizontal agreements or mergers of competitors. “The department’s review has already identified several aspects of the guidelines that warrant further examination, and we will work closely with the FTC to update them as appropriate,” Richard Powers, acting head of the antitrust division, said in a statement. The FTC rarely seeks to stop vertical deals, but recently asked a judge to block biotech company Illumina’s deal to buy Grail. The companies are looking to market a blood test to diagnose dozens of types of cancer. The five commissioners voted along party lines to pass a policy statement on a rule that requires consumers to be notified of any unauthorized use of health data. Commissioners also approved a process for accepting comments on possible rules. * With information from Reuters. Connect with the ! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and activate notifications, or follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter

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