Senate antitrust panel to hold hearing on tech mergers

Senate antitrust panel to hold hearing on tech mergers
© Getty Images

A Senate panel will hold a hearing later this month to examine antitrust concerns about Silicon Valley mergers as tech giants continue to face heightened scrutiny over their market power.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust announced Tuesday that it would hold a hearing on Sept. 24 to “explore issues relating to competition in technology markets and the antitrust agencies’ efforts to root out anticompetitive conduct.”

“Acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors by dominant digital platforms can be pro-competitive, but they also run the risk of eliminating the very competition that may challenge the incumbent firm’s leading position in the future,” Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeJustice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' MORE (R-Utah), chairman of the panel, said in a statement. “We are holding this hearing to gain a better understanding of the various concerns raised by these transactions and to examine how the antitrust agencies analyze such mergers.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats fear coronavirus impact on November turnout Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots MORE (Minn.), the subcommittee’s ranking Democrat and a 2020 presidential candidate, said the series of acquisitions that have propelled tech giants’ rapid growth over the years raise “serious competition issues.”

“Big technology companies have become some of the most powerful organizations in the world,” she said in a statement. “They face little competition and there are numerous examples of the companies purchasing startup competitors in various lines of business.”

It’s unclear who will testify, but Lee said that, beyond the hearing, he’s interested in speaking with “policy analysts, market participants, and other stakeholders.”

The panel’s Democrat-led counterpart in the House has been conducting an antitrust investigation into the tech sector that has included testimony from some of the largest companies.

The mounting political interest has also coincided with a renewed scrutiny from antitrust enforcers.

Facebook revealed in July that the Federal Trade Commission was conducting an antitrust investigation into the company, and the Department of Justice is conducting a review of competition issues across Silicon Valley.