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“The new guidelines outline the myriad ways mergers can inflict harm on the economy and on communities.” Stacy Mitchell Reacts to the FTC and DOJ Finalized Merger Guidelines
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 18, 2023) – Stacy Mitchell, co-director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), made the following statement on today’s release of the finalized 2023 Merger Guidelines by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice:
“The 2023 Merger Guidelines are a crucially important and much-needed update to the principles the agencies use to enforce our anti-merger law. Decades of runaway corporate consolidation has weakened our economy and destabilized our democracy. Blocking illegal and harmful mergers is more than a defense against further consolidation. History has shown that effective anti-merger policy can also help to deconcentrate industries and restore the benefits of fair and competitive markets for small businesses, consumers, and workers. Importantly, after several decades in which merger enforcement deviated from statute, these guidelines are faithful to the text and intent of the anti-merger law enacted by Congress.
“The new guidelines outline the myriad ways mergers can inflict harm on the economy and on communities, and how they can tilt industries toward dangerous levels of concentration and monopoly power. We are particularly heartened to see the agencies’ acknowledgment of the ways mergers can grow and reinforce the power of corporations as dominant buyers of goods, labor, and content. The guidelines also provide a groundbreaking understanding of the ways mergers between firms at different levels of supply chains can foreclose the ability of rivals to compete, and can push companies toward monopoly in violation of the law. These changes, and others in the guidelines, suggest the agencies have a clear understanding of modern market dynamics and have closely heeded the real-world evidence of how mergers can eliminate competition and harm people and communities.
“We congratulate AAG Kanter, Chair Khan, and the staff at the FTC and the Justice Department on these bold new merger guidelines, and we encourage both agencies to vigorously enforce the anti-merger law according to the principles of fairness, economic diversity, and vibrant competition embedded in the guidelines.”
Over the past two years, ILSR submitted extensive comments to the antitrust agencies detailing the need to update and strengthen the merger guidelines in order to address and roll back corporate concentration and prevent mergers that harm competition.
- In April 2022, we submitted detailed comments to the agencies outlining a set of proposals and urging them to develop merger guidelines that reflect Congress’ directive to stop corporate concentration in its incipiency and preserve the ability of independent businesses to compete on fair terms.
- In June 2022, we published a major report, Rolling Back Corporate Concentration: How New Federal Antimerger Guidelines Can Restore Competition and Build Local Power.
- In September 2023, we commented on the agencies’ draft guidelines, commending the proposal overall, while urging the agencies to consider several improvements to further strengthen the guidelines and better reflect the language and intent of the law.
Follow Stacy Mitchell and ILSR on social media for continued commentary on this and other Antitrust news.
About the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national nonprofit research and educational organization founded in 1974. ILSR has a vision of thriving, diverse, equitable communities. To reach this vision, we build local power to fight corporate control. We believe that democracy can only thrive when economic and political power is widely dispersed. Whether it’s fighting back against the outsize power of monopolies like Amazon or advocating to keep local renewable energy in the community that produced it, ILSR advocates for solutions that harness the power of citizens and communities.
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