Jan 19, 2022
FTC’s Khan Vows to Act With ‘Fierce Urgency’ on Antitrust Front
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan said she intends to act with a “fierce sense of urgency” to police competition in the economy and reverse what she described as pattern of inaction by previous antitrust enforcers.
“It’s a big moment,” Khan said in an interview Wednesday on CNBC. “Here’s an opportunity here to really change and learn from the mistakes of the past and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Khan and Jonathan Kanter, her counterpart at the Justice Department, are the front line of the Biden administration’s policy to step up antitrust enforcement and boost competition across industries. On Tuesday, they announced an effort to toughen merger reviews -- on the same day that Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. for $69 billion.
Khan said the FTC is “severely under-resourced” and the record deal-making by companies is straining the agency’s ability to review and potentially challenge transactions. That is posing “very difficult choices” about which deals to investigate, she said.
Still, the FTC can’t hold back from bringing risky cases that the agency might lose. Under Khan’s tenure, the FTC sued to block chipmaker Nvidia Corp.’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm Ltd. and salvaged a lawsuit that seeks to break up Meta Platforms Inc.
“There can be enormous benefits from taking that risk,” she said. “You might win -- you lose all the shots you don’t take -- but I think what we can see is that inaction after inaction after inaction can have severe costs and that what we’re really trying to reverse.”
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