Economic Liberties Supports FTC and DOJ’s Draft Merger Guidelines and Proposes Key Additions in Two Separate Comment Letters

September 18, 2023 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — In response to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Draft Merger Guidelines released in July, the American Economic Liberties Project today submitted two sets of written comments in support of the agencies’ crucial revisions the merger policy. The first, submitted with Professor Robert Lande of the University of Baltimore, defends the legal and policy bases for the Draft Merger Guidelines, and proposes key revisions and additions to strengthen them.

“In today’s overly concentrated markets, clear and aggressive merger control policies are necessary to limit further concentration that has contributed to our crisis of monopoly creeping through the American economy for decades,” said Erik Peinert, Research Manager and Editor at Economic Liberties. “The Draft Merger Guidelines proposed by the Agencies outline a clear path and framework to return to the original intent of the antitrust laws.”

The second, submitted in support of the Agencies’ historic actions to protect workers and address common labor market harms in merger policy, emphasizes the need for the antitrust agencies to bring worker voices to the table as a fundamental aspect of merger review.

“The explosion of merger activity over the past half century has been disastrous for workers, with increased labor concentration directly linked to wage stagnation and wealth inequality,” said Lee Hepner, Counsel at the Economic Liberties. “Federal antitrust agencies have largely ignored workers, focusing instead on the narrow issue of consumer price. The Guidelines’ inclusion of labor market impacts represents a sea-change in merger review and a starting point for actively inviting workers to the table.”

Merger guidelines lay out the antitrust agencies’ approach and policy towards proposed mergers to reflect their interpretation of the law, indicate which mergers they see as lawful or illegal, and thereby help businesses plan with a predictable regulatory environment. They are more than mere articulation; courts often cite the agencies’ merger guidelines as persuasive authorities on what antitrust law says and what sorts of mergers are illegal.

By creating new merger guidelines to replace both the outdated 2010 guidelines and the already-withdrawn vertical guidelines, the FTC and DOJ are building on their efforts to restore the agencies’ ability to combat one of the main drivers of corporate consolidation: mergers & acquisitions.

Read the comment defending the legal and policy bases for the draft guidelines here.

Read the comment discussing the draft guidelines’ impact on the labor market here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.