Senate panel to hold hearings on tech mergers

A Senate panel will hold a hearing later this month to examine antitrust concerns about Silicon Valley mergers as tech giants 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 Lee (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.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (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.”

What we don’t know: Who will testify. Lee said that, beyond the hearing, he’s interested in speaking with “policy analysts, market participants, and other stakeholders.”

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