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Expand chart
Data: FTC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission can't keep up with the "tidal wave" of mergers that need its careful scrutiny.

Driving the news: The FTC said Tuesday in a blog post that it won't be able to finish reviewing all the deals on its plate within its standard 30-day period — and that it will notify companies via form letter if a review remains open longer than 30 days.

  • Companies that, after receiving the form letter, proceed with deals that haven't been fully investigated are "doing so at their own risk," the agency said.

Why it matters: The 30-day waiting period for antitrust review is a mainstay of M&A deal procedure. Companies expect to move on after the antitrust purgatory expires. And for investors who make bets on M&A, extended timelines for deal closures can substantially eat into their returns.

Context: President Biden unveiled an antitrust-focused executive order last month that, among many other things, called for closer scrutiny of mergers.

  • The FTC's new chair, Lina Khan, has made no secret of the fact that she'd like to use the agency's enforcement powers more aggressively.

Some of the larger deals announced in the past few months include Datavant's $7 billion acquisition of Ciox Health, Danaher's $9.6 billion purchase of Aldevron, and Discovery Communications' $43 billion merger with AT&T's Warner Media.

The bottom line: The FTC isn't going to let mergers slide through without proper scrutiny — and it's going to take as much time as it needs.

Go deeper

2021's gaming deals already doubled last year's

Image courtesy of The Embracer Group

The scale of deals in gaming in 2021 is already double the full dollar amount from 2020, according to a new industry report.

Why it matters: 2021 has seen a dizzying amount of mergers, acquisitions and investments as everyone wants in on the sector, and as the big players already inside it are spending a lot to get bigger.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.