WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, issued the following statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released final Vertical Merger Guidelines that describe the principal practices and enforcement policies of the DOJ and the FTC with respect to vertical mergers that raise serious competitive concerns and risk harming consumers.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission declined to issue new draft vertical merger guidelines for public comment, opting instead to finalize guidelines over the dissent of both Democratic FTC Commissioners. I called on the agencies to incorporate improvements from prior public comments into revised draft guidelines and to seek further comments, but the agencies finalized their guidelines without additional input. These final guidelines are unlikely to improve the effectiveness of vertical merger enforcement—and consumers may be more likely to face higher prices, diminished product quality, and reduced rates of innovation.
“As America recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, we must protect competition, including against threats from anticompetitive vertical mergers, and ensure that the antitrust laws are enforced to their fullest extent to protect consumers.”