April 28, 2020

Warren, Ocasio-Cortez to Introduce Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act

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Washington, DC - Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY- 14) announced plans to introduce the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act to impose a moratorium on risky mergers and acquisitions -- and stop large corporations from exploiting the pandemic to engage in harmful mergers and strengthen the federal government's ability to respond effectively to future crises. Legislative text to come. 

"As we fight to save livelihoods and lives during the coronavirus pandemic, giant corporations and private equity vultures are just waiting for a chance to gobble up struggling small businesses and increase their power through predatory mergers," said Senator Warren. "We're introducing legislation to protect workers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and families from being squeezed even more by harmful mergers during this crisis and any future national emergency." 

"This legislation is desperately needed. Antitrust agencies have already admitted their capacity to review mergers is reduced by the crisis. Meanwhile, reports say that Rite Aid, private equity and other big businesses are actively looking to scoop up smaller businesses and consolidate industry for their gains. These companies should be using their cash reserves to help their employees not to acquire more power. If we don't stop predatory M&As now, the actions of big corporations will have decades-long economic consequences -- for all of us. With less competition, the whole country will see job loss and higher costs for consumers," said Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

The Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act would: 

  • Impose a moratorium on risky mergers and acquisitions until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress. The moratorium includes all mergers and acquisitions that involve:
    • Companies with over $100 million in revenue or financial institutions with over $100 million in market capitalization;
    • Private equity companies, hedge funds, or companies that are majority-owned by a private equity company or hedge fund;
    • Companies with an exclusive patent that impacts the crisis, like personal protective equipment; and
    • Transactions that must otherwise be reported to the FTC under current law.
  • Pause all waiting periods and deadlines imposed on antitrust agencies during the moratorium
  • Direct the FTC to engage in rulemaking to establish a legal presumption against mergers and acquisitions that pose a risk to the government's ability to respond to a national emergency