U.S. Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Warren will introduce the “Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act” (Act.) The Act would apparently halt some mergers and acquisitions during a time when many small and medium sized companies may be struggling financially. Many commentators have already asserted that too many anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions have been approved by regulators. The fear is that some large companies may try to take advantage of the crisis.
Some mergers and acquisitions may result in increased innovation. Interestingly, one provision appears to target companies with a patent relating to the COVID-19 issue. A merger or acquisition could be necessary for commercialization. The Press Release for the Act states, in part:
- Impose a moratorium on risky mergers and acquisitions until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress. The moratorium includes all mergers and acquisitions that involve:
- Pause all waiting periods and deadlines imposed on antitrust agencies during the moratorium.
- Direct the FTC to engage in rulemaking to establish a legal presumption against mergers and acquisitions that pose a risk to the government's ability to respond to a national emergency.