Antitrust Issues: FTC To Review Decade-Long Acquisitions By Major Tech Players


Five big tech companies are coming under the radar to scrutinize and review the acquisitions. This could be the next big wave of antitrust investigations made by the US Federal Trade Commission. The five companies include Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, and Microsoft. For now, there are no specific deals revealed about the new review, but it could begin shortly.

Antitrust Issues: Big Acquisitions By Tech Firms To Undergo Scrutiny


FTC Review

FTC Chairman Joe Simons said that the new review will be related to research and policy projects, but it could further lead to legal enforcement actions as well. "We could go back and institute antitrust enforcement," Simons said to the press. Antitrust experts suggest that the legal and practical issues of past acquisitions will be unveiled with the new review.

As part of the new investigative review, the five firms will need to provide information about prior acquisitions not reported to the antitrust agencies between the dates January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2019. The investigating team would look into hundreds of transactions that could have skipped the initial review for potential antitrust concerns.

Looking back, there are some big deals like Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram; Google's take over of Nest; Amazon acquiring Ring, and so on. All of these have been cleared by antitrust agencies previously, however, it could be reopened once again.

Why FTC Is Investigating Again?

Reviewing mergers and acquisitions from the earlier years has stunned some industry observers. Simons notes that the new investigation would be looking into acquisitions that could have become a threat to the platform.


The agency would also consider rectifying methods including changes in business practices and breakups. The new move comes in a time of 'techlash' that reflects the diminishing public trust in big online firms. The increasing number of data thefts and purposeful leaks to third-parties have also led to antitrust issues.

The US Department of Justice has already announced that it is reviewing potential anti-competitive action by these major tech firms in Silicon Valley. At the same time, many attorneys general from the majority of the US states have announced antitrust investigations of Google and Facebook. The new investigation adds to the list.

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