FTC Plans to Examine Past Acquisitions by Big Tech Companies -- 2nd Update
By John D. McKinnon
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission ordered five big tech
companies to provide detailed information about their previous
acquisitions of small companies, expanding the agency's
investigation into possible antitrust concerns in digital
The FTC ordered the companies -- Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc.,
Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google owner Alphabet Inc. -- to
turn over information and documents relating to the scope,
structure and purpose of their takeovers of smaller companies
between 2010 and 2019.
The FTC orders don't have a specific enforcement purpose, but
they will help the agency "deepen its understanding of large
technology firms' acquisition activity," the agency said, including
"whether large tech companies are making potentially
anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors"
that are too small to require legal review by federal
The five companies named by the FTC didn't immediately respond
to a request for comment.
"Digital technology companies are a big part of the economy and
our daily lives," said FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. "This initiative
will enable the commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in
this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal
agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might
harm competition. This will help us continue to keep tech markets
open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers."
The FTC said it plans to use the information obtained to examine
trends in acquisitions, including whether acquisitions not subject
to federal review might have raised competitive concerns.
The FTC also seeks to learn more about how small companies
perform after they are acquired by large technology firms.
The FTC and the Justice Department already have been
scrutinizing possible antitrust concerns with regard to several of
the major tech companies, including Google and Facebook. In
addition, the FTC announced in early 2019 that it was creating a
new task force to examine potential antitrust violations across the
Write to John D. McKinnon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 11, 2020 12:56 ET (17:56 GMT)
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