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Consumer Reports statement on the Department of Justice / FTC proposed merger guidelines

Washington, D.C. – Consumer Reports welcomes the publication of the updated draft merger guidelines issued today by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Sumit Sharma, senior researcher, at Consumer Reports, issued the following statement on the proposed guidelines:

“Over the last many decades, there has been a clear trend of increasing market concentration and consolidation in multiple sectors of our economy. As a result, consumers often have fewer choices and leverage when shopping for a good deal. This is evident in online marketplaces but also true in other critical sectors, from agriculture to pharmaceuticals and health care to wireless and broadband services.”

“We welcome how the proposed guidelines emphasize not only the immediate market effects of a merger, but also take into account how the market may develop in the foreseeable future. We also welcome the proposals to take a longer view of how market concentration develops, and take into account the effects on all stakeholders. For competition to work for consumers, it must be sustainable in the long term and allow everyone who seeks to reach consumers to innovate and receive a fair return for their contributions. Reaffirming the longstanding presumption that acquisitions by the largest corporations are anticompetitive, subject to a clear showing that they are not, is also welcome.”

“We hope these draft merger guidelines succeed in improving merger enforcement to ensure that consumers in all sections of the country benefit from competition.”

Michael McCauley, michael.mccauley@consumer.org