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NetChoice Files HSR Comments to FTC Rejecting Europeanization of American Antitrust

WASHINGTON—Today, NetChoice filed comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the proposed changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act Premerger Notification and Report Form. 

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act requires that companies seeking to merge notify the FTC and DOJ about their intent to merge and provide information related to the merger. Historically, it has provided a relatively cheap and efficient means for the government to review proposed mergers and raise concerns. This keeps compliance costs low, which is especially important to startups and small businesses.

Despite the benefits of our existing premerger process, the FTC’s proposed revisions would drastically increase the time and money companies have to spend at the premerger stage. By the FTC’s own estimates, the proposed form would more than quadruple associated compliance costs.

“This proposal is a de facto tax on innovation. Rather than protect competition, consumers, and our competitive edge, Lina Khan’s FTC is leading us toward European-style stagnation. We urge the FTC to withdraw these proposed revisions,” said Paul Taske, Counsel at NetChoice.

“While the FTC is grabbing headlines for its lawsuits against leading American businesses, Lina Khan has found inventive ways to damage the U.S. economy as consumers are hurting from high inflation and interest rates.”

NetChoice’s comments makes three main points:

  1. The proposed form would damage the U.S. tech innovation system—by far the most dynamic in the world—by raising compliance costs, delaying capital flows, and discouraging investment;
  2. The proposal imposes European-style informational requirements for every transaction, meaning bureaucrats would be given far too much freedom to block mergers for undisclosed reasons, further politicizing and expanding American antitrust law;
  3. The proposed form would chill pro-competitive vertical mergers by requiring businesses to submit particularly detailed and private information such mergers. 

You can read NetChoice’s comments here.