Warren leads bill to ban mergers worth more than $5 billion

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is seen during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to discuss oversight of the CARES Act within the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) are the lead sponsors of a bill proposed on Wednesday that would prohibit mergers worth more than $5 billion.

The legislation would also ban mergers for deals resulting in market shares over 33 percent for sellers or 25 percent for employers.

In a press release on the legislation from Warren, she called out examples of mergers that she says “crush consumers, workers, and small business,” including Sprint-T-Mobile, Bayer-Monsanto, Facebook-Instagram, and American-US Airways. 

According to Warren’s press release, these mergers have cost American families $5,000 a year and kept the median wage down by $10,000, while also giving companies the ability to “jack up prices even further during this period of inflation.”

“This bill will promote competition and protect workers, consumers, small or minority-owned businesses [including farms and ranches], local, rural, or low-income communities, communities of color, privacy, and innovation,” Warren wrote in the press release summarizing the bill.

The bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reject mergers without court orders, require the agencies to consider the labor impacts of the merger and reject mergers that would harm workers, and allow state attorneys general to sue to block mergers they deem harmful. 

The legislation would also require the FTC and DOJ to review mergers that took place during the 21st century and require a break-up of the mergers if they resulted in a market share above 50 percent. 

The bill is among a number of efforts by Democrats to get tough on anticompetitive behavior by massive companies, highly focused on the tech industry, according to Bloomberg

No Republicans have co-sponsored the proposal and it appears unlikely to advance, according to the outlet. 

Tags American-US Air Merger anti-monopoly anticompetition Bayer Big tech big tech competition Bloomberg companies Competition law Elizabeth Warren Facebook Facebook Federal Trade Commission Instagram Merger of Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile US Mondaire Jones Monsanto Sprint T-Mobile

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