Market Overview

FTC Asks Tech Giants To Hand Over Details Of Every Single Acquisition They Made Last Decade

FTC Asks Tech Giants To Hand Over Details Of Every Single Acquisition They Made Last Decade

The United States Federal Trade Commission has ordered five technology behemoths to provide the information on every single acquisition they made between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019, not otherwise required by law.

What Happened

The agency announced Tuesday that it issued orders to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) to provide information about any acquisitions not previously reported to the antitrust authorities.

"The orders will help the FTC deepen its understanding of large technology firms' acquisition activity, including how these firms report their transactions to the federal antitrust agencies, and whether large tech companies are making potentially anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors that fall below HSR filing thresholds and therefore do not need to be reported to the antitrust agencies," the agency said in a statement.

Why It Matters

The FTC chairman Joseph Simon told reporters on a call that the request for these documents is different from the agency's investigations into the firms' alleged anticompetitive practices, the New York Times reported.

"If during this study we see transactions that were problematic, all our options are on the table and it is conceivable we can initiate enforcement action with those deals," the chairman said.

In the statement, the agency suggested that its primary motive is to educate itself on how such acquisitions work out, especially their impact on the performance of the companies that have been acquired.

FTC commissioners Christine Wilson and Rohit Chopra, in a separate joint statement, reiterated the stance of wanting to assess the sufficiency of the existing anticompetitive laws.

The technology giants face increased scrutiny over whether they use the acquisitions as a means to kill potential competition in its nascent stage, otherwise known as "killer acquisitions."

The state attorney generals recently joined hands with the justice department to up their investigations against Google. The state AGs launched a separate investigation into Facebook's anticompetitive practices last September.

Price Action

Microsoft was up 0.14% in the after-hours session at $184.70. The shares closed the regular session 2.26% lower at $184.44.

Amazon's shares inched lower at $2,150 in the after-hours session after closing the regular session 0.79% higher at $2,150.80.

Apple's shares closed 0.6% lower at $319.61, and traded mostly unchanged in after-hours.

Facebook closed 2.76% lower at $207.19 and slipped further at $206.90 in after-hours.

Alphabet Class A shares closed 0.093% higher at $1,510.06 and traded unchanged in after-hours. Class C shares traded slightly lower at $1508.22 in after-hours, closing the regular session slightly up at $1,508.79.

Photo Credit: Public image via Wikimedia.

Posted-In: Alphabet Amazon AppleGovernment M&A News Legal Tech Best of Benzinga


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