Washington, Jan 18 (EFE).- The United States government plans to update the guidelines for approving mergers in “today’s modern markets,” senior officials said Tuesday, signaling greater vigilance toward the activities of tech giants such as Alphabet and Meta, the parent companies of Google and Facebook, respectively.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan and the head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter, held a joint press conference to announce a public inquiry and invite input.
“I want to take this opportunity to also encourage those beyond the antitrust community – including consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, farmers, investors, and independent businesses – to share feedback and evidence,” Khan said.
She noted that last year saw a record $5.8 trillion in merger activity globally.
“Major technological and economic changes, meanwhile, have led to shifts in how businesses compete and grow,” the FTC chair said. “For us to accurately detect and analyze potentially illegal transactions in the modern economy, ensuring that our merger guidelines reflect these new realities is critical.”
In a written statement, the commission and the Justice Department said that they were specifically interest information on the distinct features of digital markets, such as the provision of free services.
“The digital revolution has not only impacted new markets like tech, but markets across our economy, many of which have been rebuilt from the inside out,” Kanter said. “The supply chain no longer follows a simple upstream and downstream path – it’s interconnected in complex and evolving ways.”
The FTC is currently pursuing an antitrust suit against Meta with the aim of forcing the company to reverse the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
And the Justice Department is expected to maintain the suit the Trump administration filed against Google in October 2020 for allegedly abusing its dominant position in online search and advertising.
Kanter and Khan spoke hours after another tech titan, Microsoft, said it reached an agreement to pay $68.7 billion for videogame firm Activision Blizzard, whose titles include “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.”
The deal, which requires approval from US and European regulators, would make Microsoft the third biggest player in the videogame sector. EFE