Public Knowledge Welcomes Antitrust Legislation to Bolster Merger Enforcement, Promote Competition

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Yesterday, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act, a bill that promotes merger enforcement and protects competition by adjusting premerger filing fees, increasing antitrust enforcement resources, and improving the information provided to antitrust enforcers. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) co-sponsored the bill.

Senator Klobuchar also introduced the Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act of 2017. The bill would promote competition and protect consumers by restoring the original purpose of antitrust laws, shifting the burden of proof to the merging parties in “mega-mergers,” updating the Clayton Antitrust Act to address monopsony buying power, and creating a Competition Advocate to help consumers address anticompetitive conduct. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) co-sponsored the bill.

Public Knowledge commends Sen. Klobuchar and all her colleagues for introducing these bills to strengthen merger enforcement and the antitrust laws to allow competition authorities to better police anti-competitive and anti-consumer conduct, as well as excessive consolidation and market power.

The following can be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

"Public Knowledge supports the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act of 2017. Antitrust laws are one of the key tools the government has to protect consumers and competition.

"The Merger Enforcement Improvement Act of 2017 will provide competition regulators with better information to determine the impact of large mergers, the effectiveness of merger conditions, whether claimed consumer benefits and efficiencies actually come to fruition, and any competition issues that may arise from overlapping ownership by investors.

"Antitrust authorities need more resources and better data to improve antitrust enforcement, craft effective remedies, and prevent harm to consumers and competition, and this legislation is a positive step toward achieving those goals."

The following can be attributed to Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman:

“We particularly support legislative efforts to shift the burden of proof in major transactions involving concentrated markets because it will put the burden on merging parties to demonstrate they will not drive up prices, harm quality or impede innovation through their transaction, making tough enforcement easier to accomplish.”

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