WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) celebrated the Senate passage of the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act. This legislation would ensure antitrust enforcers have additional resources to protect consumers by updating merger filing fees, lowering the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, and ensuring larger deals bring in more revenue for the antitrust agencies, all at no additional cost to the American taxpayer.
“Investigating multibillion dollar deals and potential anticompetitive conduct is complicated, but giving enforcers resources to do their jobs shouldn't be, and a bipartisan majority of the Senate agrees. You just cannot take on the biggest companies in the world with duct tape and Band-Aids. Now that my bill with Senator Grassley passed the Senate, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division are one step closer to having additional resources to conduct rigorous reviews of large mergers,” said Klobuchar.
“Consumers depend on the FTC and Justice Department to vet proposed mergers and guard against anticompetitive practices. It’s important that these government agencies have the resources needed to protect consumers and taxpayers. Unfortunately, our outdated system is not getting the job done and ultimately hurts small and medium sized businesses,” said Grassley. “I’m proud to co-author this bipartisan bill, which will improve fairness in the fee schedules for proposed mergers and strengthen the ability of these agencies to challenge anticompetitive transactions. I’m glad to see my colleagues in the Senate also recognize this issue and support it today.”
Premerger filing fees have not changed since 2001. The current fee structure places too small a fee on larger deals – the fee for a $900 million deal is currently the same as the fee for a $60 billion deal. In recent years, funding for enforcement authorities has stagnated, failing to keep pace with the growth of the economy and increases in merger filings. To ensure this legislation is a permanent fix to the outdated fee structure, the filing fees would be linked to increases in the Consumer Price Index going forward.
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