FTC seeks documents on large tech firms' smaller acquisitions

The FTC sought information from companies including Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
The FTC sought information from companies including Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday ordered several large tech companies to submit documentation about acquisitions they've made but not reported to the government.

The agency said it required information on the terms, scope, structure and purpose of acquisitions made by Alphabet, Google's parent company, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.


"Digital technology companies are a big part of the economy and our daily lives," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. "This initiative will enable the commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might harm competition. This will help us continue to keep tech markets open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers."

Companies aren't required to report all acquisitions -- specifically of smaller companies -- to federal anti-trust agencies under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. But the FTC said it wants to evaluate whether these smaller acquisitions are potentially anti-competitive.

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The FTC said it also wants information on the companies' corporate acquisition strategies, voting and board appointment agreements, agreements to hire key personnel from other companies and post-employment covenants not to compete. Additionally, the order seeks information related to post-acquisition product development and pricing.


The order affects all transactions made between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31.

"The FTC has a statutory right under the HSR Act to review acquisitions and mergers over a certain size before they are consummated, and the study will help the commission consider whether additional transactions should be subject to premerger notification requirements," the FTC said. "The orders will also contribute broadly to the FTC's understanding of technology markets, and thereby support the FTC's program of vigorous and effective enforcement to promote competition and protect consumers in digital markets."

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