Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest on the trade war's impact.

Stories

FTC targets tech with new antitrust team

Statue of man restraining horse
"Man Controlling Trade" statue at the FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it was setting up a task force that could review already-approved tech mergers.

Why it matters: It reflects a new level of federal scrutiny for a tech sector dominated by companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon — each of which made major acquisitions along the way to becoming a giant.

Details:

  • The agency said the group of lawyers will monitor "competition in U.S. technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted."
  • It also said the move would include "prospective merger reviews in the technology sector and reviews of consummated technology mergers," raising the possibility that earlier Silicon Valley deals could come under the microscope again.

Yes, but: The FTC has been criticized as not doing enough to check corporate power to occur, and regulators are constrained by U.S. antitrust law that makes it hard to accuse a company of hurting competition with a free product.