Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a bipartisan bill Friday intended to restrict how major tech companies acquire and merge with smaller firms.
The bill, titled the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is a companion to antitrust legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June. If enacted, the law would shift the burden in antitrust cases to the acquiring party for mergers greater than $50 million, meaning that the acquiring firm would have to prove that its acquisition of another company was not anti-competitive.
The bill explicitly targets Big Tech companies, and it applies to firms with market capitalizations over $600 billion, at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users or 100,000 monthly active business users. This would include Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
Senate Republicans are joining with Democrats to work on a series of antitrust bills aimed at breaking up and regulating major tech companies.
Sen. Tom Cotton is working with both Democrats and Republicans in developing complementary legislation to several of the antitrust bills the House Judiciary Committee advanced in June, a spokesman for Sen. Cotton told the Daily Caller News Foundation, including the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.
The House’s version of the act, one of a series of antitrust bills introduced by bipartisan members of the House Judiciary Committee, sought to prevent major tech platforms from consolidating their market share by acquiring smaller competitors. Under the law, the burden of proof would be on big tech companies to prove their mergers are lawful.
Despite calls for increased regulation of the tech industry, Congress has yet to pass any major legislation, leaving it up to the states to take action curbing tech companies’ power and influence.
Meanwhile, state legislatures have introduced and enacted legislation on data privacy, antitrust, and content moderation, while state attorneys general have issued a number of legal challenges alleging anticompetitive business practices.