US Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Mondaire Jones have introduced bills to ban corporate mergers over $5 billion.
Mergers have become an increasingly major concern for lawmakers, in both the US and the EU. Big Tech, in particular, has come under scrutiny, with many mergers being viewed as anticompetitive. Various measures have been proposed, but new bills — Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act — by Warren and Jones may be the most aggressive yet, proposing a total ban on mergers over $5 billion.
The bills would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) the power to block mergers without needing a court order. The two agencies would also be given the power to undo mergers they deem harmful.
“For the last five decades, big companies have had almost free reign over our economy, squashing competitors, growing bigger and bigger, and abusing their market power to price gouge consumers and crush workers and small businesses. This unconstitutional behavior has to stop. My new bill with Rep. Jones would restore our country’s anti-monopoly tradition by banning the biggest, most anticompetitive mergers and giving the DOJ and the FTC stronger tools to enforce our antitrust laws and restore real competition in our markets. Congress needs to take bold action to bring down prices for families and promote a fairer economy for all Americans, and our bill would do just that,” said Senator Warren.
“In 2021, our antitrust agencies received more merger filings than in any other year during the last decade,” said Congressman Mondaire Jones. “From major tech mergers between companies like Facebook and Instagram to agriculture mergers between companies like Wayne and Sanderson Farms, the recent rise in corporate consolidation has increased unemployment, suppressed wages, and allowed companies to hike up prices even further during this period of inflation. It’s why we need the Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act, which I’m proud to introduce with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Our bill would empower workers, raise wages, reduce prices, combat inequality, and enable small businesses to thrive. By banning the biggest, most anticompetitive mergers, overhauling the merger-review process to include consideration of labor-market consequences, and strengthening agencies’ tools to break up harmful mergers, our bill will tackle corporate consolidation head on and help build a fairer, more vibrant economy that works for everyone.”
In just the last few weeks, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, and Google is purchasing Mandiant for $5.4 billion. Similarly, Amazon is purchasing MGM for $8.45 billion. If the bills should pass, these deals could be on the chopping block, or undone after the fact.