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FTC’s Competition Policy Shift Paves Enforcement ‘Shortcuts’

 |  November 12, 2022

By: Dan Papscun, Bloomberg Law

The Federal Trade Commission is shedding some policy restraints, eager to evolve with the fast-changing economy.

Private equity firms and Big Tech companies pursuing acquisitions that may not automatically trigger antitrust concerns are seen as the main targets of the agency’s new competition policy statement.

The change to make wider use of Section 5 of the FTC Act, announced Thursday, also signals plans to exercise greater enforcement powers against industry practices—commercial bribery or price discrimination, for example—that can fall through the cracks when subjected solely to traditional antitrust laws.

The development is in keeping with the Biden administration’s aggressive stance on enforcing antitrust laws. But the new policy may run into skeptical judges if it becomes the subject of a legal dispute, attorneys say.

It is an “aggressive” attempt at revamping the commission’s authority, said Daniel Crane, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

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