US Merger Guidelines Request for Information: Comment by Reset
On January 18, 2022, the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission issued a Request for Information on Merger Enforcement, to which Hausfeld responded behalf of its client Reset.
Reset is an initiative of global foundation Luminate Group engaged in programmatic work on technology and democracy that provides grants and contracts while working alongside partners with a shared policy, technology, and advocacy agenda in countries with immediate opportunities for change.
In co-authoring this Comment, Reset’s Counsel, which is made up by attorneys from Hausfeld’s US, UK and German offices, drew upon their extensive experience of litigating antitrust claims in the digital markets. The review of merger guidelines is a crucial first step of a necessary broader overhaul of antitrust laws. The Comment focuses on the possible consequences of acquisitions by significant digital conglomerates, such as Alphabet, Meta, Apple and Amazon. We set out why the impact of such mergers require a greater degree of scrutiny as digital markets are characterized by high level market concentration and the central role its services play in today’s economy. While mergers are the focus of this Comment, some of our proposals are also relevant to unilateral conduct and co-operation in the digital sector as a whole.
Many mergers in digital markets will not have significant effects on prices but may still result in significant non-price harms to consumers and in the Comment, we set out why it is key that Reform of the Merger Guidelines should also focus on the wider anticompetitive harms in digital markets, and how that can be done.