FTC Says Multiple Antitrust Probes Are Under Way

Date : 11/18/2019 @ 6:46PM
Source : Dow Jones News
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FTC Says Multiple Antitrust Probes Are Under Way

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By Ryan Tracy 

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission has multiple ongoing antitrust investigations into online platforms, the agency's chairman said Monday, suggesting a broader review of the technology sector than previously known.

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said that in addition to the agency's investigation of Facebook Inc., which that company has disclosed, the agency has "multiple other investigations going on with major platforms."

The FTC has interviewed sellers on Amazon.com Inc.'s online marketplace, according to some of the sellers who have spoken with the agency. Amazon hasn't disclosed being notified of a formal FTC probe and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC enforces U.S. antitrust laws along with the Justice Department and states attorneys general. Those entities are also investigating whether large tech firms are abusing their market power. Facebook and Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, are the subject of both state and DOJ probes, according to the companies and regulators' public statements.

The companies have said they are cooperating with investigators and that they acquired their market positions legally -- by making products benefiting consumers.

Mr. Simons, speaking at an American Bar Association event in Washington, didn't discuss the details of any particular investigation. He said the agency's new technology enforcement division is looking at tech firms' conduct as well as reviewing whether previous tech mergers and acquisitions, either individual mergers or a string of smaller deals, harmed competition in violation of U.S. law.

He also said the agency is considering whether mergers were executed as part of "a campaign of exclusionary conduct that includes exclusionary behavior like exclusive dealings (and) loyalty programs."

Write to Ryan Tracy at ryan.tracy@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 18, 2019 13:31 ET (18:31 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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