FTC, Justice Department Seek Input on Media, Tech Mergers

The White House
(Image credit: Matt H. Wade/Wikimedia Commons)

The Biden administration is looking beyond antitrust theories for input on the “first-hand impacts” of media and tech mergers to help guide its planned rethink of merger enforcement.

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, which together divvy up antitrust reviews, will co-host "listening forums," seeking input beyond antitrust experts to consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and others. The forums will be headed by Justice antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter and FTC chairwoman Lina Khan, both of whom are big, Big Tech critics.

Both agencies have sought comment on their enforcement guidelines, which they want to strengthen against illegal mergers, saying that recent evidence shows that "many industries" are more concentrated and less competitive.

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Big Tech deals have been of particular interest in Washington as both the FTC and Congress have been trying to figure out whether the biggest of Big Tech firms got that way by buying potential competitors before they get big enough to trigger deeper antitrust reviews.

Also: FTC, DOJ Suspend Early Merger Review Determinations

The first two forums will be on the food, agriculture and health care sectors, with the April 27 forum on media and entertainment mergers and the May 12 session on Big Tech combinations. ■ 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.