White House is taking on corporate mergers, landlord junk fees

Breaking Legal News

The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed new guidelines for corporate mergers, took steps to disclose the junk fees charged by landlords and launched a crackdown on price-gouging in the food industry.

The announcements will be discussed as part of President Joe Biden’s scheduled meeting with the White House Competition Council, a group of officials established under a 2021 executive order.

The council has focused on creating more transparency for consumers and finding approaches to limit the concentration of industries in ways that the Biden administration says lead to higher prices and hurt the ability of start-ups and small businesses to grow. Republican lawmakers and some business group critics counter that the Democratic president’s effort will lead to greater regulatory costs that leave the economy worse off.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are proposing revised guidelines for how they evaluate mergers. Their goal is to provide more clarity on the impact mergers can have on workers and to update the guidance for a digital economy that is shaped by companies such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Meta.

The government first issued its guidance on mergers in 1968. Officials stressed that the new guidance conforms to the laws set by Congress and the precedents of court rulings.

Republican lawmakers have accused FTC Chair Lina Khan of “harassing” Twitter since it was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk. They say her push to break up the concentration of corporate power amounts to government interference in business practices.

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