FTC: The Big Tech Masters of the Universe Exploit ‘Loopholes’ to Avoid Merger Reviews

Mark Zuckerberg frowning
Getty/Chip Somodevilla

The FTC has alleged that hundreds of deals made by tech giants like Facebook and Google were not reviewed by merger watchdogs, fueling the companies’ unchecked growth. Events like gaining voting control of rivals, buying patents, and outright buyouts of small tech companies are a key part of the arsenal used by the largest Big Tech companies to maintain their stranglehold over the internet.

Bloomberg reports that according to a recent Federal Trade Commission study, hundreds of deals made by U.S. tech giants were not reviewed by merger watchdogs, adding to the unchecked growth of the tech firms.

Masters of the Universe being sworn in to testify

Masters of the Universe being sworn in to testify (Pool/Getty)

FTC Chair Lina Khan stated this week that acquisitions by Apple, Amazon.com, Alphabt Inc.’s Google, and Microsoft Corp. show that antitrust regulators must be more aggressive in ensuring that companies are not taking advantage of “loopholes” to avoid reporting deals to the appropriate regulators. In some cases, the Masters of the Universe carefully structure their deals so they can slide under the level where FTC review of the deal would be required.

FTC Chair Lina Khan

FTC Chair Lina Khan ( GRAEME JENNINGS/Getty)

Khan stated during a public meeting: “This study highlights the systemic nature of their acquisition strategy. Digital markets, in particular, reveal how smaller transactions invite vigilance.”

The new information comes from a study announced by the FTC last year which aimed to examine deals between 2010 and 2019 by the five largest tech giants to gain a better understanding of whether acquisitions taking place outside the view of antitrust enforcers could undermine competition.

The FTC issued orders to the five tech giants demanding that they provide information about past acquisitions that weren’t reported to antitrust agencies. The tech giants found 819 transactions fitting the FTC’s requirements including acquisitions of voting control of rival companies, patent acquisitions, investments, and “hiring events” which the FTC defines as when a group of employees is hired from another company.

Read more at Bloomberg here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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