Senate antitrust bill would increase fees for big mergers

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Senate antitrust bill would increase fees for big mergers

The North Carolina crest of the United States Department of Justice is seen in their headquarters in Washington, D.C. April 10, 2021. Andrew Kelly File Photo Remediates

The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would increase fees that companies planning big mergers pay government antitrust agencies and give these agencies bigger budgets.

The bill, co-sponsored by Democrats Amy Klobuchar, the top antitrust senator and Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- would lower the fee for smaller mergers under $161.5 million from $45,000 to $30,000. But for deals worth $4 billion or more, the fee would rise from $287,000 to $2.25 million.

Now that I have passed my bill from Senate with Senator Klobuchar, the Federal Trade Commission and Antitrust Division are one step closer to having sufficient resources to conduct rigorous review of large mergers, Grassley said in a statement.

The antitrust measure was included in a Senate package aimed at bolstering China's ability to compete with Chinese technology. The Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission of the Justice Department monitor mergers to ensure that they comply with antitrust law.

The measure would increase authorizations for each and give to the FTC $418 million budget, while the Antitrust Division would receive $252 million.

Under a proposed budget by the Biden administration, the FTC would receive $389.8 million for the next financial year. This is an increase this year by $351 million or about 11%. Also under Biden's plan, the Antitrust Division would see its budget increase from $185 million to $201 million, an increase of 8.6%. Grassley said in a statement that the current system of working to stop mergers and putting in place anti-competitive practices was outdated and not getting the job done.

I'm glad to see my colleagues in the Senate recognise this issue and support it now,' he said.

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