US: FTC head signals possibility of merger review changes

According to a report by Reuters, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), signaled on Thursday, September 13, he was willing to consider tougher merger enforcement, a move that could affect high profile big tech companies but also energy producers, drug makers, and a big swath of the US economy.
FTC Joe Simons opened the first of a series of hearings Thursday in Washington to examine whether mergers have made the American economy less competitive and whether the way antitrust officials police corporate takeovers and anti-competitive conduct by big companies is outdated.

Simons said at the start of the hearing that concerns about higher concentration and reduced competition “merit serious consideration,” Bloomberg reported.

“We do this with the goal of understanding if our current enforcement policies are on the right track or on the wrong track, and if they are on the wrong track, what shall we do to improve them?” he said, noting that he was keeping “a very open mind.”

Big tech companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and others have faced criticism from Republicans and Democrats for everything from widespread collection of users’ information to being used by Russia to meddle in the 2016 US election to being unfair in how they use their dominance to compete with smaller rivals.

Joseph Simons was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the FTC in October 2017 and began work in May 2018.

Full Content: Reuters

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