The Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might not be the best move during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust official at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Introduced on April 28, the measure would curb mergers and acquisitions (M&A) during the worldwide crisis until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deems that businesses and consumers are no longer in severe financial distress.
Delrahim told CNBC a merger moratorium now would be “misguided” and added that some transactions could actually be “very necessary.”
He said that the DOJ hasn’t yet seen the language in the bill but he maintains that “it would be misguided to just block all attempts for transactions.”
Even before the pandemic, Big Tech mergers and acquisitions were getting scrutinized by antitrust authorities in the U.S. and abroad. The current economic climate has prompted antitrust officials to make difficult tradeoffs.
Further, the intersection between the pandemic and the economy could have an effect on the pace of M&A, investments and initial public offerings (IPOs) for an unknown period of time.
On Thursday (May 14) at 12 p.m., find out more about how antitrust decisions are playing out amid the global pandemic. Pre-register and tune in to hear a panel of experts discuss the proposed legislation and what’s on the horizon.
Hosted by PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster, the roundtable discussion “What’s Next In Regulation: M&A During the Crisis — What Color Is The Antitrust Traffic Light?” will tackle three questions:
- Should merger policy change during the pandemic and if so how?
- Is now the time to tighten or loosen the antitrust grip on Big Tech?
- How could these decisions affect innovation, entrepreneurs, and startups?
Special guests include:
- Lisa Ellis, Partner, MoffettNathanson
- David S. Evans, chairman, Global Economics Group, Boston; co-executive director, Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics and visiting professor, University College London.
- John Fingleton, founder and CEO, Fingleton Associates, London; formerly chief executive of the Office of U.K. Office of Fair Trading, chair of the Irish Competition Authority and chair of the International Competition Network.
- Hans Morris, managing partner, Nyca Partners, a FinTech VC in New York and San Francisco; chairman of the board of Lending Club and formerly president of Visa; and board member of several startups in the commerce and FinTech space.
- Terrell McSweeney, Partner at Covington and Burling, Washington, D.C.; former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); former deputy assistant to the president and domestic policy advisor to the vice president during the Obama administration.
- John E. Kwoka, Neal F. Finnegan distinguished professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston; research fellow of the American Antitrust Institute; author of just-published book “Controlling Mergers and Market Power: A Program for Reviving Antitrust in America.”