Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), introduced the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act. The Act would increase merger filing fees for large mergers reviewed by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission, and use the additional funding to increase budgets for the two enforcers.
This morning, Reuters reported that the career attorneys at the Department of Justice Antitrust Division have recommended the agency file a lawsuit to block the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger. This reporting follows Monday’s announcement by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai that he would recommend the FCC approve the deal. State Attorneys General and the California Public Utilities Commission also continue to review the transaction. Public Knowledge opposes the transaction as a member of the 4Competition Coalition, filed a Petition to Deny with the FCC, and testified against the deal on Capitol Hill.
Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the district court's earlier opinion, which permitted the AT&T/Time Warner merger to proceed, to stay in place. Public Knowledge supported the Justice Department’s challenge of the merger.
The Federal Communications Commission is required by law to review its media ownership rules every four years to determine whether they remain “necessary in the public interest.” If they do not, the FCC is to “repeal or modify” the regulations. Contrary to the apparent belief of the FCC, the Quadrennial Review is not simply about eliminating or relaxing rules. Rather, the purpose of the review is to serve the public interest. Therefore, when the FCC decides whether to keep, repeal, or modify current rules, some rules may need to be enhanced.
Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced a consent decree in the Staples-Essendant merger. Commissioners Slaughter and Chopra dissented, arguing the consent decree would be insufficient to address their competitive concerns with the merger.