In the first six months since President Biden took office, a flurry of antitrust activity has dominated Congress and the administration, targeting Big Tech in particular.
And there are few signs of it slowing anytime soon.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
- The White House appears concerned with corporate consolidation across a wide swath of industries. On July 9, President Biden issued an executive order encompassing 72 initiatives by more than a dozen government agencies to increase competition in sectors across the economy, including labor markets, health care, transportation, consumer finance, agriculture, and technology. The order calls for greater scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions from the federal antitrust enforcement agencies.
- We anticipate enforcement agencies becoming more aggressive in their regulation of digital markets. Upon assuming her chairmanship of the FTC, Lina Khan has ushered in new policies aimed at streamlining investigations. And Jonathan Kanter, Biden’s nomination to run the DOJ Antitrust Division, has been a strong advocate for more aggressive antitrust enforcement and robust competition throughout his career.
- New antitrust measures in Congress have bipartisan support. Members of both parties have worked together to introduce six bills (five of them focused on Big Tech) aimed at strengthening antitrust enforcement, though they have some hurdles to clear.
Besides this continued legislative drumbeat, we expect the Senate to consider Jonathan Kanter’s nomination sometime this fall. Both the FTC and DOJ Antitrust Division are likely to issue new guidelines and regulations as they work to implement President Biden’s new executive order.