Press Release

FTC and DOJ’s Merger Guidelines Take Definitive Steps to Curtail Monopoly Power

12. 20. 2023

Merger Guidelines Prioritize Workers and Protect Innovation while Congress Does Nothing to Tackle America’s Monopoly Problem

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Washington, D.C. – On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its final merger guidelines.  These give clear guidance to enforcers to prevent some of the worst abuses in our modern economy, like tech firms that preserve monopoly power by buying up incipient rivals, or private equity firms engaging in a string of small acquisitions to corner a market. Over the past year,  FTC and DOJ have also been using their enforcement authority in the courts to rein in monopoly power while Congress has passed no legislation to tackle America’s monopoly problem. The following is a reaction by Adam Ruben, Vice President of Campaigns and Political Strategy at Economic Security Project, regarding the finalized guidelines:

For far too long, companies have been allowed to grow their market share by purchasing the competition rather than focusing on innovation. At a time when we are seeing the least productive Congress in decades, the finalized merger guidelines are a beacon showing that the FTC and DOJ are developing clear tools to curtail monopoly power. These guidelines reflect the thousands of public comments and input from workers and businesses.  With the release of these guidelines, our antitrust enforcers are sending a clear message: They are serious about reining in concentrated corporate power to rebalance power in our economy. While there’s still much more left to do, we applaud the FTC and DOJ for forging ahead on many fronts to tackle America’s monopoly problem that harms us all.”

The  Economic Security Project published six critical components of the proposed merger guidelines including:

  1. The finalized guidelines show a renewed commitment to the democratic process by making antimonopoly action more accessible and allowing for public input. 
  2. People most affected by monopoly power organized effectively for these guidelines and, as a result, for the first time workers are named explicitly as a key constituency that agencies must consider in merger review.
  3. The proposed guidelines represent a shift that moves us towards a world where everyday people, workers, and small businesses can thrive, instead of just those who seek to monopolize the market.  And there’s much left to do to reach that point, especially when it comes to addressing how monopolies affect communities of color.