In line with growing calls for antitrust regulation in the US, Republican Senator Josh Hawley has introduced legislation calling for the ban of all mergers and acquisitions by companies with a market cap of over $100 billion, presumably targeting Big Tech companies Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Called the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act”, Hawley's bill proposes overhauling century-old anti-trust and competition laws such as the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. Hawley wants to clearly define the anti-competitive behaviour under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) instead of getting bogged down by lawyers and economists. Other proposals under the bill: FTC should be able to designate “dominant digital firms” and can block their buyouts of potential competitors. Big companies like Google cannot prioritise their own products over others on a search engine. Vertical mergers will be subject to antitrust scrutiny. Any company found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour would be heavily fined, and will have to forfeit profits resulting from their monopolistic conduct. "A small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in. These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country, and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power,” Hawley said in a press note. Why this is significant With both upper and lower houses of the US legislature controlled by Democrats, Senator Hawley’s bill is unlikely to get very far. However, it is…
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