Democratic lawmakers have introduced a new bill prohibiting antitrust mergers. It would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to block M&A deals worth $5 billion or more.
According to the Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act, mergers resulting in market shares over 33% for sellers or 25% for employers will be also considered illegal.
The lawmakers cited a 70% increase above the average number of merger filings in 2021, saying that it is more than in any other year during the last decade. They also noted that Facebook-Instagram, T-Mobile-Sprint, and other deals allowed over the last years have already damaged competition and made dominant positions of certain companies in the market even stronger.
If passed, the bill would give the FTC and DOJ new powers, including:
- Blocking mergers without court orders;
- Prohibiting companies with a history of corporate crime or antitrust violations during the last decade from acquiring other firms;
- Scrutinizing the labor impacts of certain mergers and block deals, which are harmful to employees;
- Reviewing every prohibited merger from the 21st century and breaking up mergers resulted in a market share above 50%.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which recently urged the FTC to closely scrutinize Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, has already endorsed the act. The organization noted that this deal might negatively affect workers and consumers.