Press Release

Public Knowledge to Join FTC Hearings on Vertical Mergers and the Consumer Welfare Standard

October 31, 2018

Tomorrow, Public Knowledge President and CEO Gene Kimmelman will join a Federal Trade Commission hearing on vertical mergers, and a second hearing on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust law. During the first hearing, Mr. Kimmelman will discuss Public Knowledge’s prior advocacy for strong enforcement in vertical merger reviews, and how the Vertical Merger Guidelines must be changed to be more effective in promoting competitive markets. During the second hearing, Mr. Kimmelman will discuss how courts and the antitrust enforcement agencies must do more within the existing consumer welfare standard, and that additional legislation will be needed to address important policy concerns outside of antitrust.

The following can be attributed to Gene Kimmelman, President and CEO at Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge has advocated for stronger antitrust enforcement for years, in particular against harmful vertical mergers such as Comcast/NBCU and AT&T/Time Warner. While vertical integration can have procompetitive benefits in some cases, it also can give large companies a gatekeeper power over smaller competitors that are not vertically integrated. The FTC and DOJ need to take this problem more seriously by revising the DOJ’s Vertical Merger Guidelines for our modern economy.”

“The consumer welfare standard values more than just short-term consumer price impacts. It can and should protect against competitive harms in upstream markets, including labor markets and harms to innovation and quality. However, competition cannot solve all problems, and not all competition problems can be solved by our existing antitrust laws. We need to look at legislation and regulation to bridge this gap.”

Read more about the hearings here.