Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.49 12 Feb 2020


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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to launch an investigation into how smaller companies were bought by five large technology firms.

The FTC wants to examine past acquisitions made by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

It has asked them to provide information about prior acquisitions not reported to antitrust - or anti-competitive - agencies.

Under special orders made under US law, the large companies are required to hand over the information.

The FTC wants to examine whether large tech companies are making potentially anti-competitive acquisitions that fall below certain thresholds, and therefore do not need to be reported.

The large-scale operation will look at the terms, scope, structure and purpose of sales between 2010 and 2019.

big tech Facebook is one of the companies being looked at | Image: Berliner Verlag/Archiv/DPA/PA Images

FTC Chairman Joe Simons says: "Digital technology companies are a big part of the economy and our daily lives.

"This initiative will enable the commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might harm competition.

"This will help us continue to keep tech markets open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers."

The orders also require companies to provide information and documents on their corporate acquisition strategies, voting and board appointment agreements.

The commission says it wants to learn more about how small firms perform after they are acquired by large technology companies.

Most recently, Google acquired Irish retail start-up firm Pointy.

The Dublin-based company helps local retailers bring their product inventory online.

That information is then displayed on Google's 'See what's in store' section, so customers can find items that are in-stock near them.

The details of the sale were not disclosed.


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Alphabet Amazon Apple Big Tech FTC Facebook Federal Trade Commission Google Joe Simons Large Technology Firms Microsoft Pointy Smaller Companies

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