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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it is launching a study into supply chain disruptions across the country.

Why it matters: As FTC Chair, Lina M. Khan is fiercely focused on competition issues and how they impact consumers. Issuing this inquiry makes it clear she is seeking to illuminate how competition may factor into the supply chain.

What's happening: The FTC is sending inquiries to Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Co., Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods and Kraft Heinz.

  • The inquiries, due 45 days from the date received, ask the companies to give information on factors disrupting the ability to ship products, the impact on prices, which suppliers are most affected, what is being done to alleviate disruptions and other issues.
  • The FTC is using Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which allows the agency to conduct studies and gather information about business practices without a specific law enforcement purpose.
  • The move comes as supply chain disruptions get attention from the Biden White House and retailers struggle to fulfill orders ahead of the holiday season due to global strains and shortages of workers.

What they're saying: "I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects," Khan said in a release.

Go deeper

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

FTC cracks down on DaVita's market power

DaVita has caught the FTC's attention. Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission has the dialysis industry in its crosshairs after it finalized restrictions on DaVita's latest deal in Utah.

The big picture: The FTC under Lina Khan has been heavily focused on antitrust authority over Big Tech, but the agency also has taken more critical looks at health care deals that further hurt competition and could lead to higher prices.

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

The Robinhood M&A rumor mill churns

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Robinhood's valuation is now just over $11 billion, a fraction of where it traded in August and below that of its last private round of funding. Cue the M&A mongers.

Why it matters: It's not just Robinhood—falling values of growth-oriented tech stocks have raised speculation that formerly high-flying fintechs could be snapped up by more well-capitalized buyers.

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