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FTC Sees Most Merger Filings In 2 Decades, Chair Says

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is dealing with a rise in mergers that has amounted to the highest number of filings in 20 years, Bloomberg reported.

“Although the FTC is working to review many of these deals, the sheer volume of transactions is significantly straining commission resources,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said, per Bloomberg. “I am deeply concerned that the current merger boom will further exacerbate deep asymmetries of power across our economy, further enabling abuses.”

Companies have thus far announced $2.8 trillion in deals in the first seven months of this year, Bloomberg reported, which amounts to 2021 likely being the most active ever.

The reason for the influx is the high level of corporate confidence and the free spending of private equity firms, which has been happening over several industries, including technology, media, healthcare, transportation and others, according to Bloomberg.

Over the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, antitrust agencies have processed more than 2,400 merger filings Khan said, per Bloomberg.

But she said the wave of mergers hasn’t been the only issue. There are two other big problems facing the FTC, including a recent Supreme Court decision making it harder to recover money for victims of scams or deceptive practices, and the general boost in fraud during the pandemic, which has been made even worse by digital platforms, Bloomberg reported.

Khan, nominated by President Joe Biden for her role at the FTC, was officially approved June 15 in a 69-28 Senate vote.

“The overwhelming support in the Senate for Lina Khan’s nomination to serve on the Federal Trade Commission is a big win for fair competition in our country,” FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a statement at the time. “There is a growing consensus that the FTC must turn the page on the failed policies spanning multiple administrations.”

Khan has been known for being a critic of the tech industry and has worked on anti-competition issues before. She wrote a paper when she was a student that looked into how antitrust legislation didn’t negatively affect Amazon.

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