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House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Wants To Learn From Past Merger Mistakes

 |  February 2, 2020

House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline is looking toward new regulations to reform the digital marketplace and empower antitrust enforcers, the Rhode Island Democrat told CNBC in an interview.

Unlike the investigations into Big Tech by state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, the House cannot impose enforcement actions on the companies as a result of the probe. But it can use its findings to inform new legislation.

Cicilline looking to figuring out a way to measure the outcome of mergers versus what companies promised, and unwind them if there’s a discrepancy.

“If a merger or an acquisition is approved based on a certain set of projected outcomes in terms of impact on the market, but it turns out to be quite different, is there a mechanism to go back and, whether it’s unwind it or at least learn from that transaction so that it will inform the next decision about another acquisition or merger?” he said.

The Rhode Island Democrat and House Antitrust Subcommittee chairman hopes to complete a report on the panel’s investigation into Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple by early April, he told CNBC in an interview in his DC office Wednesday, January 29.

The investigation won’t result in an enforcement action like the investigations by the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general could. But Cicilline hopes it will result in laws and regulatory proposals that target behaviors in the broader digital marketplace that he believes hinder competition and prevent start-up growth.

“As I think about this marketplace, it’s pretty clear to me that it’s not functioning properly, that there’s not robust competition there,” Cicilline said.

Full Content: CNBC

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